Islamic Pillars

The 5 Pillars of Islam

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
(The superstructure of) Islam is raised on five (pillars), testifying (the fact) that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, that Muhammad is His slave 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.

What are the Pillars of Islam?
Shahada (Declaration of Faith), Salah (Daily Prayers), Zakat (Charity), Sawm (Fasting) and Hajj (Pilgrimage), are the five pillars of Islam and they provide the framework for a Muslim’s life. They develop character, strengthen Islam by uniting Muslims and act as a reminder of the teachings of Islam. Allah commanded Muslims to carry out these duties and follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Each pillar has its own special importance.

1) Shahada (Testimony of Faith)

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 deity worthy of worship except Allah, 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)

2) Salah

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)

3) Zakat

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)

4) Fasting

In the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, 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)

5) Performing Hajj

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)

The 6 Pillars of Faith (Eman)

Eman (Faith) is a crucial part of a Muslim’s life, and there are six articles of Faith. These are derived from the Qu’ran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad. Its importance is found in the following Quranic verse:
“O you who believe! Keep faith in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He revealed to His Messenger, and the Book which He revealed before. Whoso disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers and the Last Day, he verily has wandered far astray.” (Quran, 4:136)
And, also in the following Hadith:
“…What is Belief?
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Belief is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the meeting with Him, and to believe in the Resurrection.” [Al-Bukhari]

Here are the six Pillars of Faith:

1) Belief in Allah

To believe in Allah is to believe that there is only one God worthy of worship, with no partner, or son. This concept is known as Tawheed. Also, it is to completely believe in the way He is described in the Quran, Sunnah and in His 99 names.
Allah clearly explains Tawheed in the Holy Qur’an as He says, “Say: He is Allah, the One. Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to him any equivalent.” (Quran, 112:1-4)

2) Belief in His Angels

The angels are messengers of Allah and are created from light. They were created before humans, for the purpose of worshipping and obeying Allah.
Angels do not sleep, eat or suffer from illnesses. It is crucial to believe in the angels, as they keep a record of our deeds. Some of the other duties of angles include: blowing the trumpet on judgment day, taking people’s souls (i.e. angel of death) and to be the keepers of heaven and hell.
“Who so disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers and the Last Day, he verily has wandered far astray.” (Quran, 4:136)

3) Belief in His Books

Allah revealed books to his messengers as a form of guidance and proof for mankind. Among these books, is the Quran, which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Allah has guaranteed the protection of the Quran from any distortion or corruption. The books that were sent and known to man are:
1. The Scrolls (Suhof) to Ibrahim
2. The Psalms (Zaboor) sent with the Prophet Dawud (David),
3. The Torah (Torah) sent with the Prophet Musa (Moses),
4. The Gospel (Injeel) sent with Prophet Isa (Jesus),
5. The Quran sent with Prophet Muhammad.
Muslims believe in all of the books revealed to the messengers. However, they only follow the Quran, as it is the final revelation, and aim to implement the rulings into their daily lives, as instructed by God and prophet Muhammad. “Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.” (Quran, 15:9)

4) Belief in His Messengers

Allah sent prophets and messengers to preach the same topic: to believe in one God, guiding their nations to Islam. All messengers were created as human beings.
“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], “Worship Allah and avoid Taghut.” And among them were those whom Allah guided, and among them were those upon whom error was [deservedly] decreed. Quran, 16:36).
25 prophets were mentioned in the Quran and they are: Adam,Idris (Enoch), Nuh (Noah), Hud (Heber), Salih (Methusaleh), Lut (Lot), Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail (Ishmael) ,Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Shu’aib (Jethro), Ayyub (Job), Dhulkifl (Ezekiel), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Ilias (Elias), Alyasa (Elisha), Yunus (Jonah), Zakariya (Zachariah), Yahya (John the Baptist), Isa (Jesus), Muhammad (SAW).
Most of the messengers of Allah were sent to a specific nation except Prophet Muhammad, who was sent to guide all of mankind. It is a duty of Muslims to send salaams (Peace and Blessings of Allah) when mentioning the names of any of the Prophets.

5) Belief in The Hereafter

Muslims must believe in the existence of an afterlife, where all our deeds will be accounted, no matter how big or small. No one knows when this day will be except Allah, and thus we must continually work hard to achieve the best. Muslims also believe in the existence of heaven and hell, and our final destination will be determined according to our deeds in this life. “And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as an accountant.” (Quran, 21:47)

6) Belief in the Qadar (Divine Decree)

Everything that happens, is due to the will and decree of Allah. Nevertheless, Muslims also understand that they are given free will and have the ability to distinguish between good and evil.
The belief in Divine Predestination includes belief in four things:
• Allah created everything,
• Allah knows everything; the past and present,
• There is a record of everything that has happened and will happen,
• Whatever Allah decrees to occur, will occur. Whatever Allah wills not to happen, does not happen.
Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy. (Quran, 22:70)
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘No slave truly believes until he believes in four things: in Allah alone with no partner; that I am the Messenger of Allah; in the resurrection after death; and in the Divine Decree (Qadar).”
[Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 1, Hadith 85]
No matter how bad a situation may be, we must always put our trust in Allah and His decree.