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Five Pillars of Islam. Nicholas Siggers World Literature. What are they?. Shahada – Daily confession Salat – Daily ritual prayer Zakat – Paying the alms tax Sawm – The act of fasting during Ramadan Hajj – The pilgrimage to Mecca. Shahada.

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Five pillars of islam

Five Pillars of Islam

Nicholas Siggers

World Literature

What are they
What are they?

  • Shahada – Daily confession

  • Salat – Daily ritual prayer

  • Zakat – Paying the alms tax

  • Sawm – The act of fasting during Ramadan

  • Hajj – The pilgrimage to Mecca


  • The Muslim profession of faith, expressing the two simple, fundamental beliefs.

  • Sincere recitation for those joining the faith.

  • It represents the acceptance to Allah and his prophet and to the entirety of Islam.


  • Performed 5 times each day. (Dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and evening.)

  • Performed in the direction of the Ka’ba Shrine at Mecca.

  • Prayer mat is used.

  • Can be done alone, but it carries more merit when done with others.

  • Before prayer, one must wash their face, hands, and feet with either water or sand.

Salat continued
Salat, continued

  • At the prayer times, a Muezzin announces a call to prayer.

  • One can hear the Muezzin on the radio or by a “Salat Pager.”

  • When performing Salat at the mosque, worshippers are aligned in parallel rows.

  • Prayer begins with standing and moves through several postures until kneeling.

  • Specific recitations are said in each posture.


  • Rate is 2.5%, not of income, but of the value of one’s possessions.

  • Taxed possessions include: grain, fruit, cattle, camels, sheep and goat, gold and silver, and other movable goods.

  • The recipient of the tax are the poor, debtors, slaves seeking to buy their freedom, volunteers in Jihad, and pilgrims.

  • For most of history, the tax has been collected by the state.

  • Today it is mostly up to the individual, except in Saudi Arabia where it is religious law.

Sawn ramadan
Sawn Ramadan

  • The 9th month of the Islamic calendar.

  • All adult Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse during the daylight hours.

  • Exceptions: travelers, soldiers, menstruating women, and the ill.

  • Ramadan is an opportunity for increased prayer and devotion.

  • During the last 10 nights of Ramadan, some Muslims retreat to a mosque for even more intensive study and contemplation.

  • The 27th night is the “Night of Power,” the holiest night of the year.

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  • At least once in a lifetime, each Muslim is expected to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca, the sacred city of Islam.

  • It must take place during the month of Dhu al-Hijja (last month of the Islamic year) to fulfill the requirements of the Hajj.

  • In modern times, about 2.5 million Muslims fulfill the Hajj each year.

  • Upon arrival at the boundary of Mecca, pilgrims enter the state of Ihram (purity) in which they will remain throughout the Hajj.

Hajj continued
Hajj, continued

  • Men wear two white, seamless sheets wrapped around the body and sandals.

  • Women dress in white with only their eyes and hands uncovered.

  • While in the state of Ihram, pilgrims do not cut their nails, or hair, or engage in sexual relations, argue, fight, or hunt.

  • The pilgrim first walks around the Ka’ba seven times while reciting the Talbiya.

  • Then kisses or touches the Black Stone in the Ka’ba.

  • Prayers twice toward the Station of Abraham and the Ka’ba – then runs seven times between the small mountains of Safa and Marwa.