The Five Pillars
The five pillars of Islam are the fundamental ‘building blocks’ of Islam. As the name ‘pillars’ suggests, they alone are not the entire faith, but they are the foundation upon which the faith rests. They are also considered ‘obligatory’ – that is, when you become Muslim you are promising to Allah that you will do these things if it is possible to do so. Before you make the decision to become Muslim, think carefully about what this will involve so that you are prepared for the practical implications.
The five pillars are all physical acts. There are six pillars of belief that are known as the ‘Articles of Faith’.
Here are the five pillars. For detailed guides, click on the links below.
The ‘declaration of faith’ that one must read aloud to become Muslim.
For our feature on the Shahadah and becoming Muslim, please click here.
Prayer. Every Muslim is required to pray five times a day (although there are certain exceptions, such as when a female Muslim is menstruating).
For our guide on Salat, please click here.
Fasting. The word ‘sawm’ means “to abstain”, in this case from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset in the month of Ramadan.
For our feature on Ramadan, please click here.
The word ‘zakat’ means ‘purification’ or ‘growth’. In Islam it is the practice, once a year, of giving a small percentage of your wealth to the needy and other groups specified by Allah. The rate for cash is 2.5%, although the rules are a little more complex than this. Note that this ‘religious tax’ only applies to those with a certain level of wealth.
The pilgrimage to Mecca. For all those Muslims who are able to afford to do so, it is a requirement that they make the trip Mecca, Saudi Arabia, once in their lifetime (again there are exceptions, such as for the blind). The pilgrimage involves visiting the holiest sites of Islam, including the Ka’ba (the ‘house of God’) and the performance of rituals.