Not everyone knows what the five pillars of Islam are. They are the five things that you have to do in this life to be a Muslim.
1. Shahadah – Declare Your Faith
You have to take your Shahadah – Declare your faith. You have to declare that there is no God but God and that Prophet Mohammed is the final messenger of God. In Arabic it is transliterated as, “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallah Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah.” You can say the shahdah but if you do not mean it in your heart, it doesn’t count. The significance of this is saying that we are only here in this life to serve God and worship Him alone. We are not here to worship or serve anyone else. We can best achieve this by living like the Final Prophet of God, Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
2. Salah – Prayer
These are the five prayers that we have to do every single day unless you are on your menstrual cycle. These are the 5 times a day when we remember God and leave our busy life to worship the one and only God. The beauty of these prayers is that they are directly between you and God; no one else. These prayers are for your own personal time with the Creator, God. However, you can talk to God or pray whenever you want but these 5 prayers are obligatory. You can pray with others or by yourself. You do not have to pray these in a mosque but it is preferred. You may pray almost anywhere. You can pray at places like your home, work, school, a park, etc.
The 5 prayers are as follows:
Fajr- the prayer before the sunrise
Dhuhr – the afternoon prayer
Asr – the later afternoon prayer
Magrib – the prayer after the sun has set
Isha – the evening prayer
3. Zakat – Alms Tax – Obligatory Charity
We have to donate a certain percent of our money every year for charity, if you can afford it. This amount is 2.5% of all of your income and holdings. This is not like the money given to the church in Christianity. In Islam, you have to donate every year and it has to go to the poor, the homeless or hungry people who need money. This money does not/ should not go to our mosques/masjids.
4. Sawm – Fasting Ramadan
We have to fast during Ramadan from before Sunrise to Sundown. If you are pregnant, nursing, have your menstrual cycle, or have certain ailments, like diabetes, you should not fast. If you can, you should make up those fasts before the next Ramadan. Some women fast while they are pregnant but I do not recommend doing it. God is giving you the green light that you don’t have to do something, to make your life easier, you should not take that for granted. God is the Most Merciful.
Eid El-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan to celebrate the breaking of the fast. This is celebrated by a performing the special Eid prayer, food, and spending time with family.
5. Hajj – Religious Pilgrimage
This is the religious pilgrimage that everyone must make to Mecca. If you cannot afford it or you cannot physically do it, then you do not have to do it.
This begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year.
A majority of things we do during hajj were originated by Prophet Abraham.
The close of the hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid El-Adha, which is celebrated by a special Eid prayer, food, and spending time with family. This holiday is celebrated by all Muslims, not just the ones who did the pilgrimage.