I believe in God but I don't believe in the pillars of Islam. Am I considered a Muslim?
I am a Muslim. I believe in God and Prophet Muhammad. I also believe in the Quran but I don't believe in Islamic pillars such as prayers, fasting, hajj,..etc. So I was wondering if I am considered a Muslim.
Thank you so much for your question. One of the major principles of Islam is pertinent to the right of freedom of religion. God emphasized this meaning in the Quran when He said, "there is no compulsion in religion" and also "then let whoever willed to believe and whoever willed to disbelieve". The reason behind granting religious freedom is that God is not interested in the submission of bodies but rather seeks the surrender of hearts.
Human beings are the only creatures who were bestowed with the intellectual faculty to know God and have the free will to make an educated choice to worship Him and humbly submit their hearts to His love. In Islam believing in God entails believing in the Islamic worldview towards issues that are related to this life and the hereafter. Therefore the existential questions which boggled the minds of the philosophers since the dawn of history are clearly answered in Islam as Muslims are not walking through this life blindfolded but rather with a clear perception of where they came from and what is the purpose of their stay in this life and where they are heading at. Muslims believe that human beings were created by God out of love and came down to earth to know Him and worship Him and to reach their full spiritual potential in their celestial journey to unite back with the Divine in the hereafter. This belief led them to believe in the Day of Resurrection where everyone will be held accountable for his actions and consequently will be rewarded with heaven or punished with Hell.
Muslims also believe that worshipping God and maintaining the spiritual connection with their Lord necessitates fulfilling the five pillars of Islam which starts with willingly and freely uttering the testimony of faith which entails that there is no god but Allah and that Prophet Muhammad is His final messenger. This testimony of faith is followed by acts which reinforce this testimony such as praying five times a day to keep the line of communication open with God and act as a constant reminder of the Muslim that whenever he seeks help, God is near. It also entails fasting the month of Ramadan to gain spiritual purification and to elevate the soul from the shackles and bounds of the earthly body and its constant animalistic needs. The pillars also include paying zakat or alms giving once a year for those who are financially able and to give this money to the poor. This act of charity develops the sense of social responsibility and reinforces social solidarity between the rich and the poor. The last pillar of faith is going for pilgrimage or hajj in Makkah once in a life time. Pilgrimage is a platform where Muslims renounce their routine life and travel to Makkah for a spiritual journey where both the poor and the rich look alike as they all dress in white garments and the rich abandons his fancy suits and the poor is not marked out by his humble outfit. It is an annual carnival of equality where people from all ethnic origins, cultural backgrounds and social classes meet up in one place with the purpose of worshipping God and purifying their souls.
Therefore the five pillars of Islam are seen as an integrated part of faith and without which a person can't be considered a Muslim.