The five pillars of Islam (Shahada, Salah, Sawm, Zakat and Hajj) are five key practices that a Muslim is obligated to fulfil throughout their lifetime.
What are the five pillars of Islam?
The most important Islamic practices are the Five Pillars of Islam. The five pillars of Islam are:
The 5 pillars of Islam
The Five Pillars are the core beliefs and practices of Islam:
- Profession of Faith (shahada). Islam is based on the belief that “there is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” This Arabic phrase appears frequently in architecture and a variety of objects, including the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book of divine revelations. By reciting this phrase with conviction, one becomes a Muslim.
- Prayer (salat). Muslims pray five times a day, facing Mecca: at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and after dark. Prayer includes reciting the first chapter (sura) of the Qur’an, which is sometimes done on a small rug or mat made specifically for this purpose Muslims can pray individually in any location or collectively in a mosque, where an imam leads the congregation in prayer. On Friday, men gather in the mosque for noon prayer; women are welcome but not required to attend. Following the prayer, a sermon focuses on a Qur’anic passage, followed by prayers by the imam and a discussion of a specific religious topic.
- Alms (zakat). Muslims are required by Islamic law to donate a fixed portion of their income to community members in need. Many rulers and wealthy Muslims construct mosques, drinking fountains, hospitals, schools, and other institutions as a religious obligation as well as to secure the blessings associated with charity.
- Fasting (sawm). All healthy adult Muslims are required to fast during the daylight hours of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. They renew their awareness of and gratitude for everything God has provided in their lives, including the Qur’an, which was first revealed during this month. During Ramadan, they share the hunger and thirst of the needy as a reminder of the religious duty to help those less fortunate.
- Pilgrimage (hajj). Every Muslim, regardless of health or finances, must pay at least one visit to the holy city of Mecca in modern-day Saudi Arabia. The Ka’ba, a cubical structure covered in black embroidered hangings, is located in the heart of Mecca’s Haram Mosque. Muslims believe it is the house Abraham (Ibrahim in Arabic) built for God, and they pray facing it (qibla). Since the Prophet Muhammad’s time, believers from all over the world have gathered around the Ka’ba in Mecca on the eighth and twelfth days of the Islamic calendar’s final month.
What do the 5 pillars of Islam mean?
There are five key practices that all Muslims are obligated to fulfil throughout their lifetime. These practices are referred to as pillars because they form the foundation of Muslim life. The five pillars of Islam are Shahada, Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj.