The Five Pillars of Islam

A three day festival for the Muslim community across the world, Eid ul-Fitr is an occassion that upholds as much the festal spirit as the religious fervor inherent in Islam. As a religion, Islam is based on certain principles and it insists that its true followers perform five duties which are said to strengthen their faith and religious devotion and lead them on to the service of the almighty with utmost sincerity. Read on to know about these important duties, known as the "Five Pillars of Islam". If you like reading this informative article on the five pillars of Islam and want to share it with our friends and dear ones, simply click here and pass this page on to them. Eid Mubarak!

The five pillars of Islam are the framework of the Muslim religion that they must fulfil during their lifetime. The five pillars of Islam defines the basic identity of Muslim Religion , i.e, their faith, beliefs and practices and bind together a worldwide community of believers into a fellowship of shared values and concerns. These five has been discussed below:

Shahadah (Declaration or testimony of Faith):

The testimony of faith is the first and the most important pillar of Islam. To perform the testimony of faith , one is required to say with conviction at least once in his or her life :” There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. Reciting this statement is obligatory in daily prayer as well as on another occasion. This testimony of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula and one must say this with complete conviction in order to convert to Islam.

The statement of Shahada in Arabic is:

Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad Rasulu Allah

This saying means I testify that there is no god except Allah and testify that Muhammad is a messenger of Allah. This statement is the foundation for all other beliefs and practices in Islam.

The above statement of faith must be a genuine belief that includes the following articles of faith:

Belief in One God (Allah)
Belief in the Prophets
Belief in the Holy Books
Belief in Angels
Belief in the Day of Judgement
Belief in fate

One who wants to become a Muslim, then he or she must repeat the Shahadah three times in the presence of Witnesses.

Salat (Prayer):

Salat is the second of the five pillars of Islam.Salat is the Islamic Prayer and it consists of five daily prayers.The names are according to the prayer times:Fajr(morning dawn), Zuhr(noon), Asr(afternoon), Maghrib(after-sunset), and Isha (late evening ,night).All of these prayers are performed while facing the Ka’bah in Mecca.Wudu which means purification is a must before prayers i.e Muslims have to wash themselves before prayer.Salat is done to focus the mind on Allah and it is seen as a personal communication with Allah which expresses gratitude and worship.This Personal supplications can be offered in one’s own language and at any time.It is preferable to worship together in a mosque but a Muslim can pray almost anywhere such as in fields,offices,home ,factories and universities.

Zakat (alms-giving):

Zakat or alms-giving or charity is the practice given by Muslims based on their wealth and is obligatory for all who are able to do so. Zakat is considered to be the personal responsibility of all Muslims to eliminate inequality and to ease economic hardship for others. Zakat or alms-giving is considered to be a form of worship to God. Zakat consists of spending 2.5% of one’s wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy people. A Muslim can also donate more as an act of Voluntary charity and not to achieve additional divine reward.

Siyam (Sawm of Ramadan or Fasting):

The month of Ramadan is the month of fasting in Islam. It is an act of worship where the followers denies his own needs and seeks Allah. This is the fourth pillar of Islam. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is obligatory but is forbidden for several groups for whom it would be problematic and not very useful. Fasting Ramadan is a method of Self-Purification. Muslims have a belief that depriving oneself from worldly comforts even for a short time , a fasting person focuses on his or her purpose in life by constantly being aware of the presence of god.

To know more about Ramadan, Click here

Hajj (Pilgrimage):

Hajj or the pilgrimage to Makkah is the fifth pillar and the most important one of Islams. All Muslims including men and women who are able must make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during their lifetime. The Hajj occurs during the Islamic month of Dhu-al-Hijjah to the holy city of Mecca .The Pilgrimage, or the hajj is honored in the Muslim Community. After making the trip to Mecca , Muslims come to be known as a Hajj or Hajj. According to the Islamic teaching, the Hajj should be an expression of devotion to Allah and it should not be a means to gain social standing. The main rituals of the Hajj include walking seven times around the Kabba , touching the Black Stone, travelling seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah and symbolically stoning the Devil in Mina. A pilgrimage made at any time other than the Hajj season is called an Umrah. Pilgrimage involves financial sacrifice and is an act of worship. On this unique occasion, nearly two million Muslims from all over the globe meet one another in a given year. The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere.

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