The 5 Pillars of Islam
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: (The superstructure of) al-Islam is raised on five (pillars), testifying (the fact) that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is His bondsman and messenger, and the establishment of daily prayers, payment of Zakat, Pilgrimage to the House (Ka’ba) and the fast in the month of Ramadan. [Muslim] Islam is based on tenets that are known as the Pillars of Islam, to which all Muslims must adhere to.
The Shahada is a testimony which brings one into Islam, it also must be said with purity of heart and conviction, the statement in Arabic translates to: “There is no God but God and Muhammad is His Messenger.” It is a profession of faith bearing witness the oneness of God and that Muhammad is a messenger of God. This also implies that all the previous prophets were only messengers. Where is the Shahada mentioned in the Qur’an? “Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge – [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Quran 3:18)
The five daily prayers are an obligatory practice for all Muslims who are able to do so. They consist of physical movements such as prostration to God, sending blessings upon Prophets and the recitation of Quranic verses. Praying is a way to communicate, thank and remember Allah. The daily prayers revolve around the stages of the day; dawn, noon, mid-afternoon and sunset. Muslims are required to establish ritual prayers 5 times a day at specified times: • Salat al-fajr: dawn, before sunrise • Salat al-zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest • Salat al-‘asr: the late part of the afternoon • Salat al-maghrib: just after sunset • Salat al-‘isha: between sunset and midnight Praying is a way to communicate, thank and remember Allah. “And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience]. (Quran 2:43)
Zakat is the compulsory giving of a set proportion of one’s wealth to charity. It is regarded as a type of worship and of self-purification and fosters qualities such as sacrifice and generosity. Zakat is separate from charitable gifts given out of generosity. It is a systematic giving of 2.5% of one’s wealth each year to benefit the poor. Where is Zakaat mentioned in the Qur’an? “And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience]. (Quran 2:43)
In the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims fast from the break of dawn until sunset. This includes abstinence from food, drink and sexual intercourse. One must also be physically and mentally able to fast. Further, travellers are exempt from fasting. Fasting promotes patience, discipline and increases the purity of the mind and piety. Where is fasting mentioned in the Qur’an? “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” (Qur’an 2:183)
Pilgrimage (Hajj) is an obligation upon every able-bodied and financially capable Muslim, both male and female, to complete the pilgrimage to Mecca. The pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is completed in Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. The rites of Hajj requires Muslims to dress in white robes known as Ahram, circumnavigate the Ka’ba and venture between the Hills of Safa and Marwa. Where is Hajj mentioned in the Qur’an? “And complete the Hajj and ‘umrah for Allah…” (Quran, 2:196)