What are the Five Pillars of Islam?

The Five Pillars of Islam are the framework of the Muslim life. Every religion has its foundation on which people live their lives. The five pillars are also considered the important acts of worship that develop the Muslim character and strengthen Islam. Muslims are commanded by Allah Almighty to carry out these duties and to follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in the manner He (SAW) performed His duties.

 

Islam Is Based on Five

  1. Shahadah: The testimony of faith, namely no one has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger
  2. Prayer (Salah): It is the central worship of Islam.
  3. Zakah (Charity): It is a kind of charity obligated to those who have properties that reach the nisab.
  4. Hajj: Pilgrimage means to leave to the House of Allah (i.e. the Ka`bah) and perform certain obligatory and recommendable rituals in the order reported from the Prophet Muhammad.
  5. Fasting (Sawm): The abstention from eating, drinking and sex from the break of dawn to the sunset.

Five Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam are the framework of the Muslim life. They are the testimony of faith, prayer, giving zakat (support of the needy), fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime for those who are able.

 

1.The Testimony of Faith: The testimony of faith is saying with conviction, “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur Rasool Allah.” This saying means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah),1 and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” The first part, “There is no true god but God,” means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone and that God has neither partner nor son. Allah says:

 

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُم بِظُلْمٍ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الْأَمْنُ وَهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ

 

“Those who believed and (did) not mix their belief with wrong, those, for them, (is) the security and they (are) rightly guided.” (Surah Al-An`am 6:82)

 

This testimony of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which should be said with conviction in order to convert to Islam (as explained previously on this page). The testimony of faith is the most important pillar of Islam.

 

2.Prayer: Muslims perform five prayers a day. Each prayer does not take more than a few minutes to perform. Prayer in Islam is a direct link between the worshipper and God. There are no intermediaries between God and the worshipper. Allah says:

 

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَارْكَعُوا مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ

 

“And establish the prayer and give zakah and bow down with those who bow down.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:43)

 

In prayer, a person feels inner happiness, peace, and comfort, and that God is pleased with him or her. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Bilal, call (the people) to prayer, let us be comforted by it.}2 Bilal was one of Muhammad’s companions who was charged to call the people to prayers. Prayers are performed at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night. A Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories, or universities.

 

A translation of the Adan or Call to Prayer is:

God is Great.
God is Great.
God is Great.
God is Great.
I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God.
I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Come to prayer!
Come to prayer!
Come to success!
Come to success!
God is Great!
God is Great!
There is none worthy of worship except God.

 

3. Giving Zakat (Support of the Needy): All things belong to God, and wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The original meaning of the word zakat is both ‘purification’ and ‘growth.’ Giving zakat means ‘giving a specified percentage on certain properties to certain classes of needy people.’ The percentage which is due on gold, silver, and cash funds that have reached the amount of about 85 grams of gold and held in possession for one lunar year is two and a half per cent. Allah says:

 

الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُم بِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ كَافِرُونَ

 

“Those who (do) not give the zakah, and they in the Hereafter they (are) disbelievers.” (Surah Fussilat 41:7)

 

Our possessions are purified by setting aside a small portion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth. A person may also give as much as he or she pleases as voluntary alms or charity. Each Muslim calculates his or her own obligatory charity individually. This involves the annual payment of 2.5% of one’s capital, excluding such items as primary residence, car and professional tools.

 

4. Fasting the Month of Ramadan: Every year in the month of Ramadan,4 all Muslims fast from dawn until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Although the fast is beneficial to health, it is regarded principally as a method of spiritual self-purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry, as well as growth in his or her spiritual life. Allah says:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

 

“O you who believe[d]! Is prescribed for you [the] fasting as was prescribed to those from before you, so that you may (become) righteous.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:183)

 

Although fasting is beneficial to health, it is mainly a method of self-purification and self-restraint. By cutting 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. God states in the Quran:

 

5.The Pilgrimage to Makkah: The annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah is an obligation once in a lifetime for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. About two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe. Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. Allah says:

 

وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ

 

“And proclaim to [the] mankind [of] the Pilgrimage; they will come to you (on) foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every mountain highway distant.” (Surah Al-Hajj 22:27)

 

Male pilgrims wear special simple clothes which strip away distinctions of class and culture so that all stand equal before God. There is no higher aim for the Muslim than the cultivation of what is described as a sound heart because from the sound heart comes to sound judgment.

 

Benefits of the Five Pillars of Islam

Below we will discuss the benefits of each one of the five pillars of Islam.

Shahadah: The first pillar of Islam has some benefits that are mentioned below:

  • This pillar reminds the Muslims of the purpose of their life which is to worship Allah Almighty alone.
  • It produces a high degree of self-respect and confidence while remaining humble and modest.
  • It makes us complete surrender to the will of Allah and becoming His true servant
  • A person will feel more liberated, freer when submitting to the will and command of his creator.

Prayer (Salah): Prayer is the second pillar of Islam its benefits are mentioned below:

  • Prayer enriches the soul by giving peace and contentment.
  • It purifies the heart from the effects of indolence and sin by providing a continuous opportunity for communication with Allah and for repentance.
  • It lightens up our body and gives us positive energy.
  • Praying five times a day at their particular time brings discipline and consistency in our lives which are essential qualities for a successful life.
  • It raised brotherhood, equality, and humility between the Muslims.
  • Through prayer, a believer acquires spiritual awareness.

Zakah (Charity): Zakah is the third pillar of Islam some of its benefits in Muslim’s life are mentioned below:

  • Zakah teaches us to share what Allah Almighty has granted us to take care of those who are less fortunate.
  • It also helps us avoid being selfish.
  • It also develops the personality of the poor person by providing for him a sense of solidarity with others in society.
  • It increases wealth and allows it to be blessed.
  • Zakah maintained a balance in society.
  • It reminds the blessings of Allah and encourages being grateful to Almighty Allah.

Fasting: The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting which has so many benefits some of them are given below:

  • Fasting develops willpower and teaches patience.
  • It is a way of recognizing the blessings of Allah Almighty that surround us but we don’t give them importance.
  • It purifies the soul and helps to acquire obeying Almighty Allah by restraining desires, and promotes steadfastness.
  • Fasting is healthy which is proven scientifically.
  • Fasting provides an opportunity for complete devotion to Allah.

Pilgrimage (Hajj): The fifth pillar of Islam is Hajj (Pilgrimage), benefits of Hajj are mentioned below:

  • Hajj emphasizes the Islamic characteristics of unity and equality among Muslims while at the same time proclaiming the absolute unity of Allah.
  • The Hajj is a weighty spiritual and emotional event that remains a part of the believer for the rest of his/ her life.
  • Hajj is a cultural journey for Muslims during which racial, gender and economic differences are subdued as commonalty of Muslims from many nations together to worship Allah.
  • Hajj is an ultimate challenge where Allah (SWT) takes the believer to the peak of his/her ability and sacrifice.
  • The biggest part of sacrifice is controlling the temper in the days of Hajj.

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ

 

“In it (are) signs clear, standing place of Ibrahim, and whoever enters it – is safe. And (due) to Allah upon the mankind (is) pilgrimage (of) the House (for one) who is able to [it] (find) away. And whoever disbelieved then indeed, Allah (is) free from need of the universe.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:97)

 

Therefore Muslims have been warned many times in the Holy Quran that if they seek mercy from the lord of all lords, they must show mercy and justice to their worldly fellows and creatures. As Holy Prophet, PBUH stated, “God gives a reward for gentleness which He will never give for harshness.”

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