The Pillars of Islam
The Five Pillars of Islam are the structural support of one’s Islam without which Islam couldn’t be built
1) Shahada: The first and greatest pillar of Islam.
Bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except The Supreme Being (in the language of the Quran is called Allah) on whom all things depend for their sustenance and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah’s Messenger.
2) As-Salat: The establishment of the five daily prayers
The prayer (As-Salat), as a pillar of Islam, is second only to the two testimonies in importance and ranking: it is the first deed for which one will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment-if one’s prayer is good and acceptable, then he/she will have achieved success; but if it is incorrect and corrupted in some way, then one’s achievements failed. The Prayer is a form of worship that must be performed on time:
3) Zakat: The Financial obligations upon Muslims
It is a social obligation through which the believer appreciates many of the higher aims of Islam-such as love, kindness, generosity, and cooperation among Muslims. The payment of zakat on wealth on a yearly basis is obligatory for every free Muslim man, woman or child whose personal wealth has remained at or in excess of the nisab (the minimum limit established in the shari’ah) for the entire lunar year up to the time of annual assessment and collection. Zakat is due on livestock, certain types of grain and fruit, gold, silver and the value of turnover stock. And it must be returned to the needy and indigents.
4) Sawm: Fasting The Month of Ramadan
Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from dawn until sundown–abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations with their spouses.
Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are menstruating, pregnant or nursing, are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year if they are healthy and able. Children begin to fast (and to observe prayers) from puberty, although many start earlier.
Although fasting is beneficial to health, it is mainly a method of self-purification and self-restraint. By cutting oneself from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person focuses on his or her purpose in life by constantly being aware of the presence of God. God states in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-restraint.” (Qur’an 2:183)
5) Hajj: Making the pilgrimage to The Sacred House
The pilgrimage to Makkah (The Hajj) is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to do so. Nevertheless, over 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.
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). The close of the hajj is marked by a festival, the ‘Id al Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. This and the ‘Id al Fitr, a festive day celebrating the end of Ramada-n, are the two holidays of the Islamic calendar.
For more information visit www.whyislam.org