5 Pillars in Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam:

  • 1)
    Shahada: Testifying to God's One-ness:

    • The declaration "There is no God but Allah
      and Muhammad is His prophet."

  • 2) Salat:


      • General Features of Islamic Prayer

        • Five prayer times each day:

          • early morning
          • noon
          • mid-afternoon
          • sunset
          • evening

        • Raq'ah: Bowing and prostration. Represents submission to God.

        • Ablutions, symbolic purification by washing hands, feet, etc. with water (or sand).

        • Qiblah, direction for prayer towards Mecca. Designated by Mihrab, niche in the wall.

        • Du'a, spontaneous private prayer exists, but is less important than communal worship.

    • Elements
      of Public prayer:

      • Masjid (Mosque):

      • Minaret
        (Tower for Muadhdhin
        to announce services).

      • Imam leads prayers. Worshippers stand behind in straight lines.

      • Imam or other scholar delivers a sermon (khutba ) from the pulpit (minbar).
      • Women are not required to attend prayers. When they do, they usually stand behind the men

      • Friday, Yawm
        (Day of Assembly), main day of public prayer.

  • 3)
    Zakat: Giving charity.

    • Originally a free-will
      donation (what is no called Sadaqah).
    • Now largely compulsory.

    • General rate: 2 1/2% of income annually.
    • Given only to needy Muslims, or for religious purposes, etc.

  • 4) Sawm: Fast

    • In memory of the revelation of the Qur'an.

    • During month of Ramadan,
      daylight hours.

    • Those who have
      medical exemptions etc. should fast at another time.

    • 'Id al-Fitr, Feast of Fast-breaking: at beginning of next month.

  • 5) Hajj:

  • Every Muslim man and woman (if physically and economically able) should try to make the
    pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life-time.
  • Egalitarian atmosphere, Ihram:
    • donning
      of simple white garments.

    • Refraining from sex, haircuts, jewelry, arguing, etc.
  • Importance of the Ka'ba,
    associations with Abraham, Hagar Ishmael and Muhammad.

  • Symbolic
    reenactments of past events:
    • Tawaf: Circling Ka'ba counterclockwise seven times, emphasizing its centrality.

    • Touching black stone of Ka'bah

    • Sa'y: Running seven times between hills and drinking from Zamam spring (recalling Hagar's running for water)

    • Throwing 49 stones at stone "Satan"s (recalling the resistance to Satan's attempts to prevent Abraham from sacrificing Ishmael).

    • On eighth day pilgrims move to the desert and live in tents. Rituals performed there include:
      • Wuquf: Standing in prayer at the Plain of Arafat and Mount of Mercy.

      • 'Id al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice): Head or household slaughters animal for feast. Meat is also distributed to the poor.

    • Return to Mecca for second circling of Ka'bah.
    • Most pilgrims also visit Medinah.

    1. The reward for the Hajj is nothing less than Paradise.The Hajj is the ultimate form of worship, as it involves the spirit of all the other rituals and demands great sacrifice
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