5 Pillars of Islam The five Pillars of Islam are the duties expected of all followers of Islam. They support the whole Muslim way of life and are based on submission and obedience to Allahfollowing the examples of Muhammad . I S L A M Shahadah Salah Hajj Zakah Sawm
Shahadah (Belief) The first and most important duty of every Muslim is to declare their faith in Allah. Islam teaches that to make this declaration a person must say it with their lips and believe it in their heart. The shahadah written in Arabic (above) and English (below) “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” These words are said in Arabic at the start and end of every day. They are the first words whispered into the ear of a new born baby of a Muslim family. The shahadah is also the first part of the call to prayer that goes out from a mosque five time each day. The first part states the Islamic belief in just one God, Allah (monotheistic). The next states Muhammad (pbuh) is God’s final and greatest messenger.
Salah (Prayer) Muslims pray five times a day (salah), as Allah commanded Muhammad to. This is one of the five pillars of Islam. Before prayers Muslims will take part in a ceremonial washing called wudu. Wudu has a specific order and is symbolicof preparing oneself, mentally and spiritually, to come before God. Prayers are said facing the direction of the Kab’ah in the Great Mosque in Mecca. Muslim prayers are said just before sunrise(fajr), just after midday(zuhr), in the afternoon(asr), just after sunset(maghrib), and in the evening- but before midnight (isha).
Daily prayers have a fixed set of actions (rak’ah) and specific prayers that are repeated. The number of times the rak’ah is repeated depends on which of the daily prayers they are performing. Standing (Qiyam) Hands are raised to the ears (men) or shoulders (women) before being folded in front of the person. Bowing (ruku’) Body bent and hands placed just above the knees. Prostrate (sujud) With forehead and nose touching the floor. Sitting (julus) Sat kneeling down. When the obligatory prayers and rak’ah have been completed a Muslim will turn their head to the right then to the left to remember the two angels that are with every person.
Zakah (Charity) All Muslims are expected to be charitable and caringof the wider community. An example of this is a baker’s shop could give away what it had left on Thursday night, so that no one nearby need say their Friday prayers whilst they were hungry. In additionto this kind of charitable action, Muslims are expected to share their income (what they earn from working) and wealth (what they have in addition to what they need) as a matter of religiousobligation (expected duty). Zakah is not considered as charity or a tax as charity is optional and tax is money to be used for the good of all by the authorities. Zakah is not optional and is only to go to help the poor and needy. “He who eats and drinks while his brother goes hungry, is not one of us.” Above: Statement of Muhammad (pbuh) written in the Hadith (books containing the words and teachings of Muhammad - pbuh)
Zakah is the third Pillar of Islam. The Arabic word ‘zakah’ means to purifyor make clean - by not being selfish and helping others a Muslim believes their wealth is acceptable to Allah. Zakah is to be paid once a year at a rate of 2.5 % of everything that a Muslim has above and beyond what is needed to keep his own family. E.g. If, after food, housing and clothing, a Muslim has savings, shares, jewellery, property or anything else of value, they are to give £2.50 for every £100 that these things may be valued at. Zakah is seen as a way of keeping a Muslim’s heart and mind set on Godrather than wealth, it is also seen as a way of being clear of greed and encourages Muslims to be honest - after all, God knows everything. Children are encouraged to give Zakah as a way of teaching them Muslim values regarding the poor and needy.
Sawm (Fasting) Sawm means ‘fasting’ (going without food for a period of time). All adult Muslims should fast from sunrise to sunsetduring the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar). Muslims have special charts to show them the exact time of the sunrise and sunset. During these hours Muslims will actually avoid eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relationships (Muslims who are travelling or those that are ill can put off fasting food and drink until later). Sawm is an annual opportunity to refresh and refocus the hearts and minds of Muslims in their worship of Allah. Muslim families eat their meals before sunrise and after sunset.
By fasting Muslims experience for themselves what it is like to have an empty stomach. This helps develop an understanding of how the poor and hungry live, this is linked with zakah(third Pillar of Islam). The purpose of fasting is to make a Muslim able to controltheir thoughts, desires and bodies. It is a physical sign that they are able to submitevery part of their lives to the will of Allah. Muslims often use the time when they would be eating to go to the mosque, meet with others of the Muslim community (Ummah) and say additional prayers Ramadancomes to an end with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr. This is one of the great occasions for the Muslim community. Muslims offer special prayers of thanks to Allah for his love, forgiveness and provision. A great feastis also given to celebrate the breaking of the sawm.
Hajj (Pilgramage) Hajj is the pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca that should be undertaken by every Muslim at least once in their lifetime. Pilgrims walk seven times anti-clockwise around the Kab’ah inside the great mosque in Mecca, they recite verses from the Qur’an and say prayers. Walking around reminds them to keep God central in their life. Hajj takes place in Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. Men wear the Ihram (two white pieces of clothing that signifies purity and equality) The hajj then follows the route from Mecca to the well of Zamzam where God provided water for Hagar and her son Ishmael.
After a night in the tented city in the Minavalley, the Hajj moves to the Plain of Arafat where Muhammad preached his last sermon. This is the heart and soul of the Hajj. Pilgrims will stand from midday to sunset on the Mount of Arafatreaching out to Allah, feeling His presence and forgiveness. After a night under the stars at Muzdalifahpilgrims arrive back at Minawhere they throw small stones at three pillars which represent the devil. Throwing the stones represents rejecting the devil and temptation. The Hajji will make a sacrificewhich represents the sacrifice God asked Abraham (Ibrahim) to make in sacrificing Ishmael.. The Hajji then shaves their head as a symbol that they have changed from this pilgrimage. Pilgrims then change back to their normal clothes. They celebrate the festival of Eidul-Adha with a feast, before returning to Mecca to complete another seven circuits of the Kab’ah and leaving for home.