What are the five pillars of Islam?

The most important Islamic practices are the Five Pillars of Islam. The five pillars of Islam are:

Shahada (Faith)

The declaration of faith in one God (Allah) and His messenger (peace be upon him).

Salah (Prayer)

The ritual prayer required of every Muslim five times a day throughout their lifetime.

Zakat (Almsgiving)

The act of giving a portion of a Muslim’s wealth to those in need throughout their lifetime.

Sawm (Fasting)

The act of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Hajj (Pilgrimage)

The sacred pilgrimage to Mecca required of every Muslim at least once in their lifetime if it is within their means.


What do the 5 pillars of Islam mean?

There are five key practices that all Muslims are obligated to fulfil throughout their lifetime. These practices are referred to as pillars because they form the foundation of Muslim life. The five pillars of Islam are Shahada, Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj.


Why are the five pillars of Islam important?

Each of the five pillars work in tandem with one another to bring the essence of Islam as a religion of peace and submission to Allah SWT, into the lifestyle of every Muslim:

Monotheism and the belief in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last messenger of God is the central tenet of Islam around which everything else revolves, and reciting the Shahada (shahadah) in prayer each day serves to remind Muslims of this integral belief.

Salah (salat) occurs five times a day, and offers five different opportunities for remembrance of Allah SWT and our purpose in this life to worship Him.

The month of Ramadan requires every Muslim to abstain from their most basic needs and desires, like food, drink and sexual relations for a period of time each day. Every year, the Sawm gives Muslims the opportunity to gather control over their human needs. Without these distractions, Muslims can instead nurture good conduct and their connection to Allah SWT.

While Sadaqah (charity) is greatly encouraged to be a part of everyday Muslim life, it is obligatory to offer Zakat (alms) once a year, ensuring that wealth is continuously redistributed to those who are in need of it.

During the Hajj (pilgrimage)Muslims must each wear the same simple garments and perform the same ritual acts of devotion to Allah. Stripped of worldly distinction, people are reminded that all are equal before God.


Facts about the five pillars of Islam

  • A Muslim must commit to each pillar and what it entails throughout their lives.
  • Each pillar also accounts for those who may be unable to fulfil one or more of them, for example due to ill health, menstruation or pregnancy and a lack of financial means, amongst others.
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