About Islam : Five Pillars of Islam

The five pillars of Islam

The five pillars of Islam is the term given to the five most important duties which every Muslim must practice in order to live life according to Islam.

These five duties are Shahadah (profession of faith), Salah (prayer), Zakah (donating a set amount of money each year to help the poor), Sawm (fasting during Ramadan) and Hajj (going on pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime if able to do so).

Shahadah

The Shahadah means to testify that Allah subhanahu wata'ala is the one and only God and the Prophet Muhammad [SAW] is the last messenger of Allah subhanahu wata'ala.

Salah

Muslims are obliged to pray five times a day at set times. These prayers are called Salah. These prayers are Fajr (performed just before sunrise), uhr (performed in the afternoon), Asr (performed late afternoon), Maghrib (performed immediately after sunset) and Isha (performed at nightfall). At the appropriate time of a Salah, the Azaan (call to prayer) is said aloud. Although prayers can be performed at any time within the set time period, it is best to begin as soon as possible after the Azaan.

Each Salah is performed facing in the direction of the Kaaba in Makkah. Although prayers can be performed almost anywhere (homes, offices, schools, colleges, open grounds), it is recommended that prayers are performed together in a Masjid (Mosque) following an Imam.

Zakah

Zakah is the practice of donating a set proportion of one's wealth to the poor and needy every year.

Sawm

The meaning of Sawm is Fast. Every year during the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight. This means that they must give up food, drink, smoking and sexual intercourse.

All Muslim men and women must fast during Ramadan, however, there are exceptions for children, the elderly, people with medical conditions such as diabetes, pregnant and menstruating women.

Eid-ul-Fitr is a Muslim festival held at the first of of the Islamic month Shawwal. It marks the end of the fasting month, Ramadan. A special Eid-ul-Fitr prayer is performed in the morning after sunrise in a Masjid (Mosque).

Hajj

Hajj is a pilgrimage to Makkah which occurs during the Islamic month of Zul-hajja. Any Muslim who is able-bodied and can afford it, must make the pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in a lifetime. When a male Muslim has completed the pilgrimage to Makkah, he then may be called a Hajji.

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