The 5 Pillars of Islam

The word “Islam” means “submission to the will of God.” Followers of Islam are called Muslims.


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The 5 Pillars of Islam 1
  • Muslims are monotheistic and worship one, all-knowing God, who in Arabic is known as Allah. Followers of Islam aim to live a life of complete submission to Allah.

Islam (/ˈɪslɑːm/; Arabic: اَلْإِسْلَامُ‎, romanized: al-‘Islām, [ɪsˈlaːm] ( listen) “submission [to God]”) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion that teaches that there is only one God (Allah), and that Muhammad is a messenger of God.

What are the 5 Pillars?

“Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the salah (prayer), paying the zakat (obligatory charity), making the hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.”

The 5 Pillars of Islam 5The 5 Pillars of Islam 6

1. Belief in One God and the Testimony of Faith (Tawheed)

Tawheed (pronounced tow-heed) is an Arabic term which refers to the unique belief in the oneness of God. It is Islam’s concept of monotheism in which the religion’s core tenets are built upon.

It refers to the belief that there is only one divine being that is worthy of worship – Allah. When Muslims mention the name of Allah, they are calling out to the one true God of the universe.

Tawheed is the first and the most important pillar of the five pillars of Islam. Believing and acting on this pillar is the key to entering Islam. In order to become a Muslim and enter into the fold of Islam a person must pronounce the testimony of faith, or shahada in Arabic. The testimony of faith is a single statement:

لآ اِلَهَ اِلّا اللّهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوُل اللّهِ

“Laa ilaha illa Allah Muhammad Rasoolullah”

There are two parts of the first half of the testimony of faith.

لآ اِلَهَ اِلّا اللّهُ

“Laa ilaha illa Allah” which means “there is no god but Allah” or “none has the right to be worshipped except Allah.” This part of the testimony nullifies all forms of worshipping anyone or anything other than Allah. Worshipping other divine beings is considered to be a grave sin in Islam.

مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوُل اللّهِ

The second half of the testimony of faith means “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” To believe in this statement is to bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. It also means to follow what he says, obey him in what he orders us to do, to stay away from what he forbids, and to worship Allah only in ways that were legislated.

2. Prayer (Salah)

The second half of the testimony of faith means “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” To believe in this statement is to bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. It also means to follow what he says, obey him in what he orders us to do, to stay away from what he forbids, and to worship Allah only in ways that were legislated.

The five daily prayers are:

    • Fajr (early morning, before dawn)
    • Duhr (mid-day, just after noon)
    • Asr (mid afternoon)
    • Maghrib (just after sunset)
    • Isha (at night, after dark has fallen)

3. Giving Wealth to Zakat

  • Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. It is a specified portion of a Muslim’s wealth that is given to those in need. It is the amount given once a year to support specific categories of people. The amount is about 2.5% of total wealth which includes the following asset classes:

    1. Gold and silver
    2. Precious metals
    3. Stocks and shares
    4. Real estate
    5. Cash
    6. Agricultural livestock

4. Fasting in the month of Ramadan

  • Fasting in the month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam. It refers to the practice of abstaining from eating food, drinking liquids, and having intercourse from the break of dawn until sunset.Similar to the pillars that have been mentioned already, fasting is obligatory upon every sane, adult Muslim, male and female alike.
  • The month of Ramadan is a great month as it was the period in which Allah revealed the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The reward for good deeds, acts of charity and acts of worship are multiplied in this month.

5. Hajj – The Pilgrimage to Makkah

  • The fifth and final pillar of Islam is to perform the hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah. Every year millions of Muslims make their way to the Kaba, the Sacred House of Allah in Makkah to perform the pilgrimage.It is one of the most significant forms of worship in Islam and it demonstrates unity among the Muslims.
  • This action is required from every Muslim to perform at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially capable. It is a deed that requires much time and energy from a person which is why it is required to be done only once in a lifetime.The reward for performing hajj is great. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said concerning the reward of hajj:

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