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The reason for our existence, the primary purpose of our complex minds, and the gift of reason is to understand and to try to do ev­erything in a way that is pleasing to the Creator. We know how to do that through the guidance that has been given to us. In order to help us live most effectively and be constant in this, the Creator has made it an essential component of this way of living to estab­lish regular acts of worship in our lives. It is not that God needs this, not at all! God is without needs and is entirely self-sufficient. Rather, we have been created with that need. Just as our bod­ies need food, our minds, our souls are designed to be nourished through remembering and worshipping God.

This is why the most important action that a Muslim (one who follows Islam) has to do is to pray in a special way at special times throughout the day and night. There are five of these daily ritual prayers. Establishing this regular ritual prayer with sincerity and understanding is the key to changing ourselves. When done prop­erly, it is a life transforming ritual.

Another essential component is giving charity to help those who are less fortunate and needy One of the most important compo­nents of living a life that is pleasing to God is being kind to and helping others.

Of course living this life takes discipline, self control and patience, and this is the reason why fasting has always been a component of religious life, and this is also the case with Islam. Every year there is a month called Ramadan when one has to leave off food, drink and sex from dawn until sunset. It is also important to try to keep away from evil in speech and actions, since that is the essence of what fasting is supposed to lead to.Speaking the truth and not lying, keeping promises, fulfilling trusts, always being just, even against one’s own family or self, are essential characteristics of the true believer.

Respecting one’s parents and being kind to them, especially in old age, being good to one’s neighbour, and encouraging good and discouraging evil are essential virtues.

These make the fundamentals of Islam and being a Muslim.

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