The Pillars of Islam

Physical and verbal acts of worship are called the Pillars of Islam. The most essential of them are known as the five Pillars of Islam. They are as follows:

The Testimony of Faith (Shahaadatayn): 1.

This is the testimony that “none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger”. This testimony is the key with which one becomes a Muslim. The meaning of the first part of the testimony, “none has the right to be worshipped except Allah”, also connotes that:

  • Allah is the Creator of all that exists.

  • Allah is the Sovereign of all that exists and the Disposer of all affairs.

  • Allah is the One Who deserves to be worshipped alone.

The meaning of the second part of the testimony, “Muhammad is His servant and Messenger,” contains the following meanings:

  • To obey the Messenger in what he ordered.

  • To believe in everything he said.

  • To refrain from what he prohibited and warned against.

  • And that you do not worship Allah except by what the Messenger legislated.

The Prayer (Salaah): 2.

The prayer is a means through which a slave of Allah maintains a relationship between themselves and their Lord. In it, the person privately converses with their Lord, seeking His forgiveness and asking Him for help and guidance. There are five prayers which must be performed daily. Men observe them in the Masjid (mosque) in congregation, except for those who have a valid excuse.

Through this, Muslims come to know one another, and the bonds of love and unity which hold them together are built, maintained and strengthened. They come to know of the condition of their fellow Muslims on a daily basis. If someone is not present and thought to be sick, they visit him, and if it seems that he is falling short in some of his obligations, they advise him.

All social differences, such as class, race, and lineage are disregarded. Muslims line up side by side in straight rows, all facing one direction (Makkah), all at the same time. All are rendered equal in regards to their subservience to Allah when standing before Him.

The Obligatory Charity (Zakaah): 3.

This charity is a small percentage of wealth which a rich Muslim gives to his less fortunate brothers and sisters. There are certain conditions under which it is to be given. A Muslim gives it willingly and fulfills the command of Allah when giving it out.

The goal behind the obligation of this charity is to revive mutual and social support among Muslims, as well as to eradicate poverty and put an end to the dangers which result from it. Through it, the hearts of the rich are cleansed from greed, and the hearts of the poor are cleansed from the hatred and jealousy which they may feel towards the rich. They see the rich giving from their wealth that which Allah decreed, continuously giving them money and caring for their needs.

The Fast of Ramadan (Siyaam): 4.

It is obligatory upon every Muslim to fast once a year, for the entire month of Ramadan. From the break of dawn until the sun sets, Muslims must abstain from anything that breaks the fast, specifically: food, drink, or sexual intercourse. Fasting is an act of worship in Islam and was an obligation legislated in the previous religions as well.

Allah says: O you who have believed, fasting has been decreed for you as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous. (2:183)

The Pilgrimage (Hajj): 5.

Hajj is the pilgrimage one makes to the Sacred House of Allah (the Ka’bah) in order to perform certain rites at specific places and times. This pillar of Islam is obligatory upon every Muslim, male or female, who is sane and has reached the age of puberty once in a lifetime, if they have the physical and financial capability to perform it.

Allah says: Pilgrimage to the House is a duty owed to Allah by all people who are able to undertake it. And as for those who deny the truth – verily, Allah does not stand in need of anything in all the worlds. (3:97)

Hajj is the largest Islamic gathering, and one of the largest gatherings in the world. Muslims from all over the world come together in one place, at one time. They all call upon the same Lord, wear the same clothes, and perform the same rituals. No difference is made between rich and poor, noble and ignoble, white and black, Arab and non-Arab; all are equal in front of Allah. There is no difference between them except in piety (taqwa). The Hajj is an event which emphasizes the brotherhood of all Muslims and the unity of their hopes and feelings.