Five Pillars of 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), Sawm (fasting) during the month of Ramadhan, Zakat (giving of alms, specifically during Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca, home of the Masjid al-Haram (The Sacred Mosque), the most famous Islamic mosque). These five practices are essential to Muslims.
The Pillars of Islam
In Sunni Islam the pillars are;
Main article: Shahada
Shahadah is a statement professing monotheism and accepting Muhammad as God's messenger.  The shahadah is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: (ašhadu an) lā ilāha illá l-Lāhi wa (ashhadu 'anna) Muḥammadan rasūlu l-Lāhi "(I profess that) there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God."
Main article: Salah
Salah is the daily prayer of Islam. Salah consists of five prayers: Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha'a. Fajr is said at dawn, Dhuhr is a noon prayer, Asr is said in the afternoon, Maghrib is the sunset prayer, and Isha'a is the evening prayer. Each prayer consists of a certain amount of rakaʿāt. A prayer either consists of two, three, or four rakaʿāt. All of these prayers are recited while facing Mecca.
Main article: Zakat Zakāt 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. Zakat consists of spending 2.5% of one's wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travelers. A Muslim may also donate more as an act of voluntary charity (sadaqah), rather than to achieve additional divine reward. There are two main types of Zakah. 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. In current usage Zakat is treated as a 2.5% collection 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 (3 ounces (85.05 g)). As of 02 July 2010, nisab is approximately $3,275 or an equivalent amount in any other currency. There are four principles that should be followed when giving the Zakah:
- The giver must declare to God his intention to give the Zakah.
- The Zakah 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.
- 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 such as good deeds and good behavior toward others.
- The Zakah must be distributed in the community from which it was taken.
Main article: Sawm
Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan. 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. Fasting is necessary for every Muslim whose age is more than 11.
The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to God, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy. During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, profane language, gossip and to try to get along with fellow Muslims better. In addition, all obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided.
Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory, but is forbidden for several groups for whom it would be very dangerous and 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 traveling. Missing fasts usually must be made up for soon afterward, although the exact requirements vary according to circumstance.
Main article: Hajj
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 he or she can afford it. When the pilgrim is around 10 km (6.2 mi) 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. After a Muslim makes the trip to Mecca, he/she is known as a hajj/hajja (one who made the pilgrimage to Mecca). 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.
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 God, 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. A pilgrimage made at any time other than the Hajj season is called an Umrah, and while not mandatory is strongly recommended.
The Five Pillars in the Hadith
قال المصنف -رحمه الله تعالى-: وعن أبي عبد الرحمن عبد الله بن عمر بن الخطاب -رضي الله عنهما-، قال: سمعت رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يقول: بني الإسلام على خمس: شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمداً رسول الله، وإقام الصلاة، وإيتاء الزكاة، وحج البيت، وصوم رمضان رواه البخاري ومسل
‘An abi Abdi AlRahmani Abdi Allahi ibni Omara Bini AlKhattabi Radiya Allahu ‘anhumaa qala: Sami’ta rasula Allahi sala Allahu ‘alayhi wa salama yaqool: Buniya al-Islamu ‘ala khams: shahadati an la illaha illa Allahu wa ana Muhammadan rasulu Allah, wa iqami alsalah, wa itayi’ alzakati wa haji albayt, wa sawmi Ramadan. Rawahu AlBukhari wa Muslim.
On the authority of Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, radiyallahu ‘anhuma, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say: "Islam has been built upon five things – on testifying that there is no other god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger; on performing salah; on giving the zakah; on Hajj to the House; and on fasting during Ramadhan." [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
- ↑ From the article on the Pillars of Islam in Oxford Islamic Studies Online
- ↑ Ridgeon (2003), p.258
- ↑ Zakat, Encyclopaedia of Islam Online
- ↑ Brockopp (2000), p.140; Levy (1957) p.150; Jonsson (2006), p.244
- ↑ "e-nisab". 2010-07-02. http://www.e-nisab.com/. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
- ↑ Zakah Alms-giving
- ↑ Qur'an 2:183–187
- ↑ Qur'an 2:196
- ↑ Qur'an 33:35
- ↑ Fasting, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an (2005)
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Farah (1994), p.144-145
- ↑ talhaanjum_9
- ↑ Esposito (1998), p.90,91
- ↑ Tabatabaei (2002), p. 211,213
- ↑ "For whom fasting is mandatory". USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts. http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/pillars/fasting/tajuddin/fast_21.html#HEADING20. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
- ↑ Qur'an 2:184
- ↑ Khan (2006), p. 54
- ↑ Islam, The New Encyclopedia Britannica (2005)
- ↑ Farah (1994), p.145-147
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Hoiberg (2000), p.237–238
- ↑ Goldschmidt (2005), p.48
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 Practices in Islam