Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Five Pillars of Islam (Five Points)

In Sunni Islam, the Five Pillars of Islam (Arabic: أركان الإسلام) is the term given to the five duties incumbent on every Muslim. These duties are Shahada (Profession of Faith), Salah (Prayers), Zakat (Giving of Alms), Sawm (Fasting during Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

These five practices are essential to Sunni Islam; Shi'a Muslims subscribe to eight ritual practices which substantially overlap with the five Pillars.[1] Twelvers have five fundamental beliefs which relates to Aqidah.[2]

Part of a series on the Islamic creed:

Five Pillars (Sunni)

Shahādah - Profession of faith
Ṣalāt - Prayers
Zakāh - Paying of alms (giving to the poor)
Ṣawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca

Six articles of belief (Sunni)

Tawhīd - Oneness
Prophets and Messengers in Islam
Islamic holy books
The Last Judgment

Principles of the Religion (Twelver)

Tawhīd - Oneness
‘Adalah - Justice
Nubuwwah - Prophethood
Imāmah - Leadership
Qiyamah - Day of Judgement

Practices of the Religion (Twelver)

Ṣalāt - Prayers
Ṣawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Zakāh - Tithes
Khums - One-fifth tax
Jihad - Struggle
Commanding what is just
Forbidding what is evil
Tawallā' - Loving the Ahl al-Bayt
Tabarrá - Disassociating Ahl al-Bayt's enemies

Seven Pillars (Ismaili)

Walāyah - Guardianship
Ṭahārah - Purity & cleanliness
Ṣalāt - Prayers
Zakāh - Purifying religious dues
Ṣawm - Fasting during Ramadan
Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca
Jihad - Struggle


Kharijite Sixth Pillar of Islam.

The concept of five pillars is taken from the Hadith collections, notably those of Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. The Quran reveals the “five pillars” of Islam, the five ritual expressions that define orthodox Muslim religious belief and practice. Wudu is a washing in Salah and it is the first thing they do for Salah.


Shahadah is a statement professing monotheism and accepting Muhammad as God's messenger. The shahadah is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: "[I profess that] There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God."


The second pillar of Islam is Salah, the requirement to pray 5 times a day at fixed times during the day(brainwashing/self-indoctrination).[3] The times of day to pray are at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night. Each salat is performed facing towards the Kaaba (Masonic Ashlar)in Mecca. Salat is intended to focus the mind on Allah; it is seen as a personal communication with Allah, expressing gratitude and worship. According to the Qur'an, the benefit of prayer “restrains [one] from shameful and evil deeds”.[Qur'an 29:40][3]

Salat is compulsory but some flexibility in body and clothing, as well as the place of prayer, must be cleansed.[4]

Muslims performing salat (prayer)

All prayers should be conducted within the prescribed time period (waqt) and with the appropriate number of units (raka'ah). While the prayers may be made at any point within the waqt, it is considered best to begin them as soon as possible after the call to prayer is heard That comes from a muezzin on a minarets.[5]

The prayers are essentially expressions of adoration of the Moho God, but the worshipper may add his own personal request. The most commonly repeated prayer is the short first Sura, or Section of the Qu'ran, beginning, 'Praise be to Allah, Lord of Creation, the compassionate, the merciful'. [6]


Zakat or alms-giving, is the practice of charitable giving by Muslims based on accumulated wealth, and is obligatory for all who are able to do so. It is considered to be a personal responsibility for Muslims to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality.[7] Zakat consists of spending 2.5% of one's wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travellers. A Muslim may also donate more as an act of voluntary charity (sadaqah), in order to achieve additional divine reward.[8]

There are two main types of Zakat. First, there is the kajj, which is a fixed amount based on the cost of food that is paid during the month of Ramadan by the head of a family for himself and his dependents. Second, there is the Zakat on wealth, which covers money made in business, savings, income, and so on.[9] In current usage Zakat is treated as a 2.5% levy on most valuables and savings held for a full lunar year, as long as the total value is more than a basic minimum known as nisab (three ounces or 87.48g of gold). As of 20 September 2008, nisab is approximately US$2,640 or an equivalent amount in any other currency.[10] Many Shi'ites are expected to pay an additional amount in the form of a khums tax, which they consider to be a separate ritual practice.[11]

There are four principles that should be followed when giving the Zakat:

  1. The giver must declare to God his intention to give the Zakat.
  2. The Zakat must be paid on the day that it is due. If one fails to pay the Zakat, people think he is refusing to fulfill God's wishes.
  3. Payment must be in kind. This means if one has a lot of money then he needs to pay 2.5% of his income. If he does not have much money, he needs to pay in a different way. For example, if he has a lot of cattle, then he pays in cattle instead of money.
  4. The Zakat must be distributed in the community from which it was taken.[12]

Sawm during Ramadan

Many Muslims traditionally break their fasts in Ramadan with dates (like those offered by this date seller in Kuwait City), as was the recorded practice (Sunnah) of Muhammad.

Three types of fasting (Sawm) are recognized by the Qur'an: Ritual fasting,[2:183–187] fasting as compensation or repentance,[2:196] and ascetic fasting.[33:35][13]

Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan[14] Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins.[14]

The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to Allah, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, to atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy.[15] During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, harsh language, gossip and to try to get along with people better than normal. In addition, all obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided.[16]

Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory, but is forbidden in some cases, for several groups for whom it would be dangerous or excessively problematic. These include pre-pubescent children, those with a medical condition such as diabetes, elderly people, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Observing fasts is not permitted for menstruating women. Other individuals for whom it is considered acceptable not to fast are those who are ill or travelling. Missing fasts usually must be made up soon afterwards, although the exact requirements vary according to circumstance.[17][18][19][20]

Many Muslims break their fast with a date because it is claimed Holy Prophet Muhammed broke his fast with a date.


The hajj to the Kaaba, in Mecca, is an important practice in Islam.

The Hajj is a pilgrimage that occurs during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah to the holy city of Mecca, and derives from an ancient Arab practice. Every able-bodied Muslim is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime if they can afford it.[21] When the pilgrim is around ten kilometers from Mecca, he must dress in Ihram clothing, which consists of two white sheets. Both men and women are required to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, as the Hajj is mandatory for both males and females. After a Muslim makes the trip to Mecca, he/she is known as a hajj/hajja( one who made the pilgrimage to Mecca).[22] The main rituals of the Hajj include walking seven times around the Kaaba, touching the Black Stone, traveling seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah, and symbolically stoning the Devil in Mina.[22]

The pilgrim, or the haji, is honoured in their community. For some, this is an incentive to perform the Hajj. Islamic teachers say that the Hajj should be an expression of devotion to Allah, not a means to gain social standing. The believer should be self-aware and examine their intentions in performing the pilgrimage. This should lead to constant striving for self-improvement.[23]

A pilgrimage made at any time other than the Hajj season is called an Umrah, and while not mandatory is strongly encouraged.

Shia viewpoint

According to Shia Twelvers doctrine, what is referred to as pillars by Sunni Islam are called the practices or secondary principles (Firoo e Din فروع دین). The first is jihad, which is also important to the Sunni, but not considered a pillar. The second is Amr-Bil-Ma'rūf, the “Enjoining to Do Good”, which calls for every Muslim to live a virtuous life and to encourage others to do the same. The third is Nahi-Anil-Munkar, the “Exhortation to Desist from Evil”, which tells Muslims to refrain from vice and from evil actions and to encourage others to do the same.[24] and according to Aspects of the Religion Khums (One-fifth, A Muslim must pay a tax of 20%, levied on untaxed, from annual profit), Tawalla (To love the Ahl al-Bayt and their followers ), Tabarra (To disassociate from the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt).

An optional pillar is the Gyhad.

Shi'a Ismaili Seven Pillars of Islam, including the Nizari and Mustaali, have three doctrines that are not included in the Sunni Five Pillars of Islam: Walayah, Taharah and Jihad. This would raise the total to eight, but the Bohra Ismailis do not include Shahada, lowering it to seven. The Shahada is a prominent part of other Ismaili traditions, with the added inclusion of Alīyun Ameerul Mo'min wali Allah (علي ولي الله (“Ali, the Master of Believers, is the representative of God”), at the end of the standard Shahada as recited by the rest of the Muslim Ummah.[25]

See also