What are the five pillars of Islam?

5 pillars of IslamFive pillars of Islam :: They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, concern for the
needy, self-purification, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are
able.

1. FAITH

There is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is His messenger.
This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which all the faithful
pronounce. In Arabic, the first part is la ilaha illa’Llah – ‘there is no god except God’;
ilaha (god) can refer to anything which we may be tempted to put in place of God -wealth,
power, and the like. Then comes illa’Llah:’ except God, the source of all Creation.
The second part of the Shahada is Muhammadun rasulu’Llah: ’Muhammad is the messenger of God’. A message of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.

A translation of the Call to Prayer is:

God is most great. God is most great.
God is most great. God is most great.
I testify that there is no god except God.
I testify that there is no god except God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success (in this life and the Hereafter)! Come to success!
God is most great. God is most great.
There is no god except God.

2. PRAYER

Salah is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and
are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in
Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the
Qur’an, chosen by the congregation. These five prayers contain verses from the
Qur’an, and are said in Arabic, the language of the Revelation, but personal
supplication can be offered in one’s own language.
Prayers are said at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus
determine the rhythm of the entire day. Although it is preferable to worship together in
a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories
and universities. Visitors to the Muslim world are struck by the centrality of prayers in
daily life.

3. THE ‘ZAKAT’

One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that
wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both
‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion
for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and
encourages new growth.
Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. For most purposes this
involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one’s capital. A pious
person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqa, and does so preferably
in secret. Although this word can be translated as ‘voluntary charity’ it has a wider
meaning. The Prophet said ‘even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity’.

The Prophet said:

‘Charity is a necessity for every Muslim’. He was asked: ‘What if
a person has nothing?’ The Prophet replied: ‘He should work with
his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such
earnings in charity’. The Companions asked: ‘What if he is not
able to work?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should help poor and needy
persons.’ The Companions further asked ‘What is he cannot do even
that?’ The Prophet said ‘He should urge others to do good’. The
Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet said ‘He
should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.’

4. THE FAST

Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown,
abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a
journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and
make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do
this, they must feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and
to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier.

Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method
of self-purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short
time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth
in one’s spiritual life.

5. PILGRIMAGE (Hajj)

The annual pilgrimage to Makkah — the Hajj — is an obligation only for those who are
physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people
go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity
for those of different nations to meet one another. Although Makkah is always filled
with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is
lunar, not solar, so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in
winter). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions
of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God.
The rites of the Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin, include circling the Ka’abah
seven times, and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa as did
Hagar during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain
of Arafa and join in prayers for God’s forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a
preview of the Last Judgment.
In previous centuries the Hajj was an arduous undertaking. Today, however, Saudi
Arabia provides millions of people with water, modern transport, and the most up-todate
health facilities.

The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated
with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. This, and
the Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the main festivals
of the Muslim calendar.

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“All humans are dead except those who have knowledge; and those who have knowledge are asleep, except those who do good deeds; and those who do good deeds are deceived, except those who are sincere; and those who are sincere are always in a state of worry.” Imam Shafi (RH)