Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Five Pillars of Islam - An Introduction

Muslims are to follow what are called the five pillars of Islam. I am going to expound on each pillar in separate posts, but would like to list them and give a brief summary of each here. 

  1. Shahada - This is the saying that is often repeated throughout the Muslim world. It is what one says when one wants to become a Muslim, at the call to prayer, and when one is dying. It basically says, in English, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet."

  2. Salat - This is the daily call to prayer. It is made five times a day and is made while facing Mecca.

  3. Sawm - This is fasting. There are three types of fasting recognized. Obligatory ritual fasting is done during Ramadan. The other types of fasting are ascetic and repentance.

  4. Zakat - Alms-giving is obligatory giving of one's wealth to help the poor. 2.5% of one's wealth is required. Additional giving may be done as an act of charity.

  5. Hajj - This is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims should complete this as he or she is able and can afford it.

This is just a basic list which I will expound on in subsequent posts. Some scholars suggest a sixth pillar of Jihad, but that's a whole separate issue, which I will also cover in several posts. I would not call it a sixth pillar.