The Five Pillars of Islam

Islam sets down five principle duties that are obligatory upon all Muslims, and form the structure, or pillars, of his/her life. They are:
  1. Belief in the Oneness of Allah, and the bearing of witness to this belief with the words: "I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Prophet and Messenger."
  2. The five daily prayers at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and nightfall. These five daily prayers help one to develop Allah consciousness in his/her everyday life. The importance of these cannot be over emphasized. They are a constant reminder to the worshipper of the Presence and Power of Allah and help the worshipper to keep his/herself from deviating from the Right Path.
  3. The bestowal of charity on one's fellow man. Islam places great emphasis on generosity and charity as a means of purifying one's soul and drawing closer to Allah. The Muslim is enjoined to give voluntarily whenever he/she can; however, he/she is required each lunar year to pay an obligatory charity tax of 2 % of his/her annual savings. This obligatory charity is then given to orphans, the needy and the poor. The Zakat, which means obligatory charity, enables the Muslim community to take care of all its members and insures that no one will be deprived of his/her basic human right to exist.
  4. Fasting during the ninth month of the lunar year called "Ramadan." This fast is enjoined upon Muslims of good health and sound body who have attained the age of physical maturity and are not prevented from performing the fast by various circumstances like travel, sickness, mental illness, or specifically in the case of women, menstruation, or childbirth. The fast of Ramadan begins at dawn and lasts until sunset. During this period the Muslim abstains from eating, and drinking, sexual activity and smoking. Fasting teaches self-discipline and control, while purifying the soul and body and strengthening one's consciousness of Allah.
  5. The pilgrimage to Mecca. The pilgrimage is required of all Muslims at least once during their lifetime, if they have the financial means. The annual pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the greatest events of the Muslim world, uniting Muslims from every race and from every corner of the world. This is a great experience in the life of a Muslim that enables him/her to draw closer to Allah. The greatest blessings of going on pilgrimage is that all ones previous sins are wiped away and the pilgrimage returns as pure as the day he/she was born. We would like to remind the reader that the Holy Mosque in Mecca was built by Prophet Abraham and his son, Prophet Ishmail .
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