5 Pillars of Islam

The word Islam comes from an Arabic root word meaning “peace” and “submission.” Islam teaches that one can only find peace in one’s life by submitting to Almighty Allah in heart, soul and deed.  A person who believes in and consciously follows Islam is called a Muslim. Islam has five primary obligations, or pillars of faith, that each Muslim must fulfill in his or her lifetime. These Five Pillars of Islam  are basically five basic acts considered mandatory by every Muslim and are the foundation of Muslim life.  Acting upon these five pillars of Islam involves a direct relationship between the Muslim and God. The first of these five pillars is the declaration of faith and the other four are religious acts that are performed either daily, once a year or at least once in a lifetime.

1. Shahadah

Shahadah, profession of faith, is the first pillar of Islam. The most basic requirement of being a Muslim is to state the words “LA ILAHA ILLAL LAHU  MUHAMMADUR RASOOLULLAH” , “There is no worthy of worship except  Allah and Muhammad pbuh is His Messenger”. Shahada is a declaration of faith and trust that professes that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad pbuh is Allah’s messenger. In Arabic, the first part of the declaration is “LA ILAHA ILLAL LAH” – “There is no worthy of worship except Allah”, while the second part ofIslamic Stories, Pillars of Islam, Quran Learning, Reading Quran, Teachers for Quran Learning, Qari for Quran Reading, Online Quran for Students, Usa Students Quran Courses, Five Pillars of Islam, Shahadah, Salah, Zakat, Siyam, Hajj the Shahada is “MUHAMMADUR RASOOLULLAH” — “Muhammad pbuh is the messenger of Allah.

2. Salah

Salah is the second pillar of Islam. Salah is the name for the prayers that are performed 5 times a day. Each prayer does not take more than a few minutes to perform. Prayer in Islam is a direct link between the worshipper and Allah. There are no intermediaries between Allah and the worshipper.Every Muslim is required to pray five times a day. The five prayers are

  1. Salat Al-Fajr
  2. Salat Al-Zuhr
  3. Salat Al-Asr
  4. Salat Al-Maghrib
  5. Salat Al-Isha

These five prayers are performed at dawn, mid day, late afternoon, sunset and night. Although Salah can he performed alone, it is meritorious to perform it with another or with a group. It is permissible to pray at home, at work, or even outdoors; however it is recommended that Muslims perform Salah in a mosque.

Allah (SWT) has said in the Noble Qur’an: “I have not created the jinn and humankind for any other purpose except that they should worship Me.” (Noble Qur’an 51:56)

While in Salah one communicates with Allah (SWT) and experiences His presence. That’s why a Hadith says: Salah is the Meraj of Momin (Namaz is called as Meraj-ul-Momineen).

The Prophet Muhammad  pbuh said, “The first act that the slave (of Allah) will be accountable for on the day of judgement will be the prayer. If it is good, then the rest of his acts will be good. And if it is evil, then the rest of his acts will be evil.”

Once Holy Prophet Muhammad pbuh shook a dry branch of a tree so that all of the leaves of the branch fell off than the Holy Prophet Muhammad pbuh said “The sins of those who pray Salah, drop off as the leaves of this branch fell off.”

The Holy Prophet Mohammad  also said “The key to Heaven is Salah. The key to Salah is Purification.”

3. Zakat

Zakat is the 3rd Pillar of Islam. Every Muslim is obligated to pay a portion of his or her wealth for the benefit of the poor and needy. Zakat means purification and growth. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a portion for those in need.

Social responsibility is considered part of one’s service to God. The obligatory act of Zakat enshrines this duty. This also increases social welfare and encourages economic growth. Zakat prescribes payment of fixed proportions of a Muslim’s possessions for the welfare of the entire community and in particular for its neediest members. It is equal to 2.5 percent of an individual’s total net worth, excluding obligations and family expenses.

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 Muhammad pbuh said “even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity”.

4. Siyam

Siyam, fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, is the fourth pillar of Islam. Fasting is also an exercise in self-control whereby one’s sensitivity is heightened to the sufferings of the poor. Ramadan, the month during which the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, begins with the sighting of the new moon, after which abstention from eating, drinking and other sensual pleasures is obligatory from dawn to sunset the whole month. Fasting is necessary for every Muslim that has reached puberty (unless he/she suffers from a medical condition which prevents him/her from doing so). 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.

The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness and to look for forgiveness from Allah, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him. During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more efforts into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, profane language, gossip and to try to get along with fellow Muslims better. Fasting is meant to encourage Muslims to seek nearness to Allah, be patient, and learn the hardships faced by the less fortunate.

Muslims break their fast at sunset with a special meal, iftar, perform additional nocturnal worship, Tarawih, after evening prayer, and throng the streets in moods that are festive and communal. The end of Ramadan is observed by three days of celebration called Eid Al-Fitr, the feast of the breaking of the fast. Customarily, it is a time for family reunion and the favored holiday for children who receive new clothing and gifts.

5. Hajj

Hajj ;is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is a visit to Al Ka’bah, the house of Allah in Makkah once in a lifetime by those Muslims who can afford to make the journey. This pilgrimage to Makkah is the most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity in the world.  It is performed during the period from the 8th to 13th Zul Hijjah, the 12thmonth of the Islamic calendar. The Hajj is a remarkable spiritual gathering of over two million Muslims from all over the world to the holy city Makkah. In performing the Hajj, a pilgrim follows the order of ritual that the Prophet Muhammad pbuh performed during his last pilgrimage.

During Hajj, everyone must dress in Ihram Clothing which consists of two white sheets. Both men and women are required to make the pilgrimage to Makkah. The main rituals of the Hajj include walking seven times around the Kaaba termed Tawaf, touching the Black Stone termed Istilam, traveling seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah termed Sa’yee, staying at Mount Arafat, the most vital pillar of Hajj termed Wuquf-e-Arafat, after spending a night at Mina, coming back Mina for Stoning the Devil termed Ramee and offering sacrifices of animals besides offering Tawaf-e-Ziarat that will complete their Hajj.