by Amal Merchant
When people inquire about the basics of Islam, they will probably be told about the five pillars of Islam. Yes, these are the basics and they relate to the practice and the faith, but there is a little more to say than that.
One can declare there are another two great pillars that are integral to the heart of Islam. They are peace and justice.
The word “Islam” comes from the root word Silm and Salaam, which means submission to the will of God and peace. Muslims believe that to attain real peace, one must submit to the divine guidance of God.
Although God or Allah, the infinite, is beyond comprehension or analysis by our finite minds, in the Quran we are given many attributes of God that help us understand him.
Among others, Allah has 99 names such as al-‘Adl, “the Just” and al Muqsit, “the Dispenser of justice” or “he who gives to each thing its due.” Allah is al Rahmaan, “the Merciful,” and al Raheem, “the Compassionate.” He is as-Salaam, “the Giver of peace and blessings” and al Barr, “the Righteous.”
In the Quran, it tells us, “Behold, God enjoins justice and good actions and generosity to our fellows and he forbids all shameful deeds and injustice and rebellion. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.”
We are also reminded that never to let hatred lead us into deviating from justice: “Be just! That is closest to being God-conscious.”
With constantly remembering God, his guidance toward goodness and his warnings against evil, one perfects his/her actions and developed a beautiful character. The Prophet Muhammad says, “God is beautiful, and he loves beauty.”