Dear brothers and sisters,In today’s khutbah, I want to return to the basics of our faith, specifically the five pillars of Islam, and what their significance is in reference to how each of them contributes towards keeping us in emaan... in faith. There are five pillars of Islam that we all are aware of, the first one is Aqeedah and Tawheed... Believing in Allah SWT and His message as the ultimate reason for our existence. We are here solely to be in servitude to Allah SWT and Him alone will be worship. His words are ultimate, and He lives forever. His reasoning is the wisest and His command is the only command that matters. And as part of our aqeedah, we must believe that Allah SWT brought prophets into this world as His chosen people... Prophets who were guided by his wisdom and knowledge as light through the darkness. This was done either Him communicating directly or through His words via Jibrael.Similarly, this would be either in the form of a Vaheeh (a command, a dream or whatever form of communication Allah SWT chooses) or in the form of a book like the Torah, Zaboor, Injeel (commonly referred as the Bible) or in our case, the Quran, to tell people who their creator was and who will we return to when we die. And it is also part of this aqeedah that we further believe in angels as His creations who were made of Noor, who worship Him and carry out His commands alone but don’t have a will of their own like we or the Jinns do, hence they are steady in their worship and hence, for them, there is no trial. For us, however, there is a trial in this world because the choice of exerting our will along with reasoning is there. If we succeed in this life, there is a place for us in Jannah for eternity after we depart from this world, which btw is also another part of our emaan, to believe that there will be day of resurrection and a life afterwards. On that day, all of uswill rise and group, to be judged by Allah SWT and after that judgement, will our true life after death begin.It is easy to declare via Shahadah but most often than not is the hardest to keep. This is because having aqeedah is the foundation to everything else that we have built or will build the rest on. The analogy I would like to use here is of a multi-storied building. Imagine, if our emaan is a multi-story building, then like every building it has four corners... four major pillars erected in all four corners ofthat building to mark its boundaries and keep it steady. The first corner is our prayers (salat, namaz, however you wish to refer it), second corner is our fasting (also referred as Saum or Roza), the third corner is the Hajj (a pilgrimage obligatory on who so ever can afford) and lastly, the fourth corner is Zakat (I call it the wealth accumulation tax because understand that this tax, is not on your wealth, it's not on your daily used appliances or possessions or even daily use jewelry, its applied on the surplus of wealth you have left after a year ends, that too... only 2.5%. It is a way to make sure wealth never accumulates in one hand, a problem that we are now seeing is happening in US and even globally where few wealthy families own worlds 90% of money. But going back to our topic, prayers, fasting, zakat, and hajj, they form the four corners of the building of emaan and I call them the corners because:• These are open acts of worship or ibadah... others can see it or be a witness to it.• Everything else that we wish to do will dance around the idea of primarily these four pillars, any walls you want, any rooms you wish to create, all of it will be under the roof of emaan resting on these four pillars. The key part of this building as the analogy goes, which is very important so please, read carefully... no building can be built, no walls can be erected, no pillars can be laid, if there is no foundation and, in our case, the belief in Allah SWT and His message as the ultimate source of truth and wisdom is the very foundation that all the other four pillars will off-load their weight on. That is the foundation that will support the ceiling, that is the foundation that will bear the weight on anything that comes inside that building. Among several reasons, the main reason why I call it the foundation, is that it isn’t visible to others (except Allah SWT), yet it is what keeps the structure standing still. Saying Kalma-e-Shahadah is simply an open declaration to what we are supposed to believe, but there is no tangible way to gauge what we genuinely believe in our hearts. Remember, according to Sahih Bukhari (Volume 9, Book 86, Hadith 85), Prophet SAW said: ‘The rewards are according to intention (Urdu: Amaal ka daaromadar niyaton par hai), and everybody will get rewarded for what he intended. So, whoever emigrated for Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration was for Allah and His Apostle, and whoever emigrated to take worldly benefit or for a woman to marry, then his emigration was for what he emigrated for."If there are two people, one a momin and the other a munafiq, both will be eager and say they are ready to take the Shahadah. We know this through references from events that happened during the life of prophet Muhammad SAW but the key difference between those two will be that one will believe what he/she says when they declare the Shahadah while the other does not and only pose to do so.Dear Brothers and sisters,The key thing to take away from today’s khutbah is and should be that we need to have a goodfoundation in the form of Tawheed and Aqeedah... the belief in Allah SWT and His words alone as the ultimate source of truth and wisdom should be there. “Emaan-bin-Qalb" is the word used to describe what a person believes in their heart, that lies at the bottom and cannot be seen but supports everything else, then comes Shahadah, the declaration of that Emaan out in the open and then come the other four pillars that serve as a form of ibadah in their own right... prayers, fasting, Hajj and Zakat. Allah SWT says in Surah Adh-Dhariyat (Surah 51, Ayat 56): “I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me.” This verse shows that our purpose in this life is to worship Allah SWT and to surrender to Him only. Islam, as a word, means to surrender, and by declaring you follow Islam, we declare that we havesurrendered ourselves to Allah SWT for His guidance alone. And with it, we voluntarily choose to move away from what we want to do or what our nafs tell us to do towards what Allah SWT has prescribed us to do. That is because His are the only words that matter, that will matter on the day of judgement. I’ll end today’s khutbah by quoting a hadith: According to Al-Adab Al-Mufrad (Book 14, Hadith 289), Abu Huraira RA reported: The Prophet SAW asked, “Do you know what it is that makes most people enter the Fire?” they said, “Allah SWT and His Messenger know best”. He said, “The two empty ones: the genitals and the mouth. Do you know what it is that makes most people enter Paradise? Taqwa of Allah and good character.”