These questions are part of a paper assignment, so I need some suggestions and ideas to get me started.
1. What are the central beliefs of Islam, and how are they reflected in the "Five Pillars" (McInerney, 2003)?
2. Which of the Five Pillars do you feel would be easiest to fulfill, and which would be the most challenging (McInerney, 2003)?
One approach to help with an essay assignment like this one is to provide a tentative outline for structure based on the assignment requirements; and then provides information to consider for each section of the tentative outline. This paper will include an introduction, body and conclusion. I also included an excerpt which details the five pillars of faith in some detail at the end of this response for further consideration.
Your tentative outline might be something to the effect:
I. Introduction (e.g., about ¼ page; introduce the topic of Islam; include a purpose statement: This paper examines the main Islam beliefs and how they relate to the five pillars of Islam faith.)
II. Central beliefs of Islam
III. Relations to the Five Pillars of Islam
a. which one is easiest to follow
b. which one is the most challenging
IV. Conclusion (e.g. sum up main points; about 3 or 4 sentences)
Now, let's look at some information to consider for each section of the above outline.
Islam is derived from the Arabic word "salam," which is often interpreted as meaning "peace." A follower is called a Muslim, which an Arabic word that refers to people who submits themselves to the will of God. In fact, Muslims believe that Islam began before Muhammad and originated from the beginning of the world. Differently, however, most religious historians view Islam as having been founded in 622 CE by Muhammad the Prophet (peace be upon him), who lived from about 570 to 632 CE). The Islam religion started in Mecca, when the angel Jibril (Gabriel in English) read the first revelation to Muhammad (pbuh). Islam is considered the youngest of the world's large religions (over 300 million members), which also includes Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. (http://www.religioustolerance.org/isl_intr.htm)
Central Beliefs of Islam
Islam considers six fundamental beliefs to be the foundation of their faith:
1. A single, indivisible God. (God, the creator, is just, omnipotent and merciful. "Allah" is often used to refer to God; it is the Arabic word for God.)
2. The angels.
3. The divine scriptures, which include the Torah, the Psalms, the rest of the Bible, (as they were originally revealed) and the Qur'an (which is composed of God's words, dictated by the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad).
4. The Messengers of God, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad -- the last prophet; (peace be upon them). Muhammad's message is considered the final, universal message for all of humanity.
5. The Day of Judgment when people will be judged on the basis of their deeds while on earth, and will either attain reward of Heaven or punishment in Hell. They do not believe that Jesus or any other individual can atone for another person's sin. Hell is where unbelievers and sinners spend eternity. One translation of the Qur'an, 98:1-8, states: "The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures." ("People of the Book" refers ...
This solution identifies the central beliefs of Islam and how they are reflected in the "Five Pillars" of Islam. It also explores which of the 'Five Pillars' might be the easiest to fulfill, and which one might be the most challenging. Supplemented with a highly informative article excerpt on Islam.