Five Pillars of Islam

Key features, significance and quotes for the pillars


Shahadah (creed/beliefs)

"There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the true messenger of Allah"-sums up all you need to be a Muslim 

  • Showing the unity of God and the prophethood of Muhammad
  • Allah is the ONLY God
  • Muhammad is NOT on par with God
  • Muslims must accept Muhammad as the prophet meaning they must accept Qur'an as word of God 
  • First pillar of Islam and is the only non-action pillar
  • The rest are an outward expression of Shahadah's meaning, therefore signs of ibadah
  • Announced 5 times daily from minaret of a mosque by the muezzin

Converting to Islam, a person only has to recite the Shahadah in front of witnesses

Muslim fathers whisper words of Shahadah to new born child so it is the first words they hear

Muslims who are about to die, try to make the Shahadah their final breath!

The Shahadah helps Muslims to build their imaan (faith)

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Shahadah quotes

La ilaha illal lahu Muhammadur rasulul la- There is no god but God Muhammad is the Prophet of God

Ahmad-" This is the central pillar even though it is the only 'non-action' pillar. Imaan provides the cemtral pillar that sustains the whole structure"

Ahmad- "A man joins the fold of Islam by believing in and professing faith in the unity of God and the prophethood of Muhammad"

Watton- "Shahadh is the first pillar because all the rest are simply an outward expression of its meaning and they are signs of ibadah"

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Salah (prayer) 2nd Pillar

Muhammad was taught in a revelation that Muslims should pray fifty times daily but it was reduced to five times daily, although Shia Muslims only pray three times a day. 

Muslims pray from day break till sunset

  • Fajr
  • Zuhr
  • As'r
  • Maghrib
  • Isha

Salah is the most important of the practical pillars

Its shows a close relationship between sunna and Qur'an

Includes the Shahadah affirming that- "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger"

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Preparing for Salah

The Muezzin announces the adhan from the minaret of a mosque

 Faithful Muslims respond by performing wudu because pray is sacred and can't be done in an ordinary fashion= direct contact with God

 Wudu consists of Muslims...

  • Washing hands, feet, arms, face, nostrils, ears and head 3 times in running waterEnsure that they are pure and clean approaching Allah, symbolising the inner purity of the heart and soul
  • God is seen as all holy as a result of wudu
  • Sometimes a Ghusl is required especially after sexual intercourse, but it can't be done in presence of anyone. Muslims then change into clean clothes.Muslims change underwear 5 times daily.
  • Muslims qibla face the ka'ba
  • They state their niyya (intention)
  • Make iqama prayer whilst standing with hands at ears, arms folded, praise God, kneel touch forehead on ground w'o arms touching ground, raise top half of body, stay on knees stand say "Allahu Akbar"

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Religious significance of Salah

  • Puts Muslims in direct contact with God 5 times daily
  • It is compulsory 
  • "Salah is the pillar of religion. He who establishes it, establishes religion; and he who destroys it, destroys religion."
  • Muslims follow the example of how the Prophet prayed. They also follow the Sunnah of Muhammad
  • Prevents the believer from great sins and disbelief
  • Washes out sins which have been committed, should be performed from the heart
  • It displays umma
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Salah Quotes

Hadith- " The five prayers removes sins as water removes dirt"

Waines- "Prayers are witnessed by the angels at any time of day or night

Brohi states that Salah allows a Muslim, "to succeed in adhering to the path of righteousness"

Waines talking about wudu, " Ablutions that cleanse the hands, mouth, face and feet and the declarartion to perform wudu with solemnity establishes a covenant with Allah to forgive their sins which fall from him as "leaves from a tree" "

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Zakah (purification)

  • It is the third pillar, as it is closely linked with Salah
  • Zakah began in Medina
  • Wealth is given by God for the benefit of humanity
  • Wealth can be an evil thing and cut you off from God
  • Paying Zakah shows their sublission to God
  • Muslims must perform Zakah as part of their ibadah to God, Muslims are part of the umma
  • Paid once a year before Id-Ul-Fitr
  • Mulsims pay Zakah so that the money they have left is pure it will not contaminate them
  • There is a cut off point 'nisab', so that they poor don't need to pay
  • It is compulsory for msulim to share his wealth with those in need

Zakah in general is 2.5% of annual income

  • Produce from land= 10%
  • If produce produced by hand=5%
  • For cattle= one 1-year old per 30 animals
  • Precious metals=7.5% doesn't include wedding/engagement rings

Muslims can also pay sadaqah- voluntary contributions e.g. during a disatster i.e. earthquake

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Significance of Zakah

  • Significant for belief and practice, by helping the poor Muslims can gain spiriual growth
  • Islam teaches that Allah gives wealth to man and therefore it is something to be shared 
  • For an individual this pillar is viewed as a means of atoning sins which are motivated by self-centeredness
  • By offering money to the poor, a Muslim receives spiritual growth and purification as they are helping the weaker of the world in the community (umma) of Islam.
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Zakah quotes

Waines- "Giving is better than receiving, 'the upper hand is better than the lower hand'

Waines- "He who is made wealthy by Allah without giving some away will be severely punished on the Day of Judgement"

Mawdudi- "Zakah is the bounded duty of every well-to-do Muslim to help his lowly placed poor brethren"

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Sawm (Fasting)

  • Sawm shows your devotion to God
  • To be a Muslim you must fast
  • Ramadan is the month which was sent down from Qur'an as a guide for signs and judgement
  • During Ramadan there should be: no food, no sex, no drink, no smoking
  • Occurs between dawn and dusk- Fast ends when the new moon is seen
  • A special meal is eaten after dusk and before dawn=sulhur
  • Everyone over the age of puberty must fast, but the sick and menstruating woman can not fast. If anyone is on a journey or is ill they can make it days later
  • God intends every facility for you, he does not want to put you in difficulties 
  • During Ramadan, Muslims do Salah and make extra prayers- 
  • Tarwih prayers replace wit'r and include recitation of 30th of Qur'an during Ramadan all Qur'an is recited!

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Reasons for fasting

  • Obeying the 4th Pillar shows the world that you are a Muslim 
  • Fasting brings Muslims closer to God, you can concentrate on God instead of normal things in life
  • It promotes self control
  • An annual training programme= recharge spiritual batteries so they can carry out their duties to God for the rest of the year
  • It gives Muslims the chance to identify with poor. Muslims feel they can pay Zakah from heart, sympathise with their starving.
  • Greatest gift God gave Muslims was Qur'an and Ramadan is celebration of this gift. It's only right that something is given up to show your gratefulness to God.
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Sawm quotes

Waines- " The month is a period of reflection and spiritual discipline of physical discipline of physical endurance and sharing with others"

For a conclusion on Sawm:

Waton-" Ramadan unites the Muslim community"

Watton-"The most important thing about Ramadan is that it reveals and strengthens the unity of Islam"

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Hajj (Pilgrimage)

  • Is a duty commanded by God and so it is the 5th pillar
  • Muslims must undertake Hajj at least once in a lifetime- if they have the wealth. Muhammad only performed Hajj once in his lifetime
  • Annual pilgrimage to the Ka'ba in Mecca (Abraham and his son Ishmael built Ka'ba as a sign of submission, Muslims show submission to Allah by going to Mecca)
  • Performed between 8th and 13th days of Dhul-Hijjah
  • 1st day at Mecca-visit Great Mosque, walk around Ka'ba 7 times anticlockwise, holding hands showing solidarity and submission to God
  • They run 7 times between hills of Safa and Marwah
  • Travel to Mina and camp. On 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah they go to Arafat at sunrise
  • Pray at Arafat, leave for Musdalfa without praying Maghrib, stay for night and pray Maghrib and Isha together showing Umma.
  • Collect stones at Musdalfa and leave after Fajr. Return to Mina throw stones at 3 pillars

Muslims must wear ihram- showing umma, all equal!

During Hajj Muslims mustn't wear; perfume, jewellery, carry weapons, have sex 

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Significance of Hajj

  • Muslims run 7 times between the hills of Safa and Marwah- because when Hajar and Ishmael were left in desert, Ishmael was dying of thirst and Hajar ran from Safa and Marwah 7 times looking water
  • They throw 3 stones at 3 pillars in Mina- because Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, Satan appeared and tempted them 3 times not to perfom sacrifice. Ishamel threw 3 stones at devil
  • When pilgrims return home they are called Hajji- this is an honour, highly regarded in their community. Sins are forgiven, they can live as a perfect Muslim


Hadith- "Hajj is the Gate of Paradise"

Ashraf-" The act of throwing stones, is based on an inner urge to kil Satan that is whispering within oneself"

Conclusion on Hajj:

Mawdudi-" Hajj unites Muslims of the world into one international fraternity"

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Conclusion on pillars

In Islam focus is on practice not belief. It masters self respect on themselves, it has rules and Muslims must change themselves in that point of view, "Verily Allah won't change the condition of a person as long as he doesn't change his state himself."

I coudn't be a Muslim, as there's too much stress on structure and I feel this could restrict social/work life. Although I do commend those who don't let Islam interfere with their lives as Islam is their lives!

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