The Shi'a Ismāˤīlī - the Nizari, Druze and Mustaali - have Pillars beyond those of the Sunni. While most Ismāˤīlīs have eight, the Bohras and Druze have only seven.
The Ismāˤīlī Pillars
- Walayah “Guardianship” denotes love and devotion to God, the prophets, the imām and the duˤāt "missionaries". In Ismāˤīlī doctrine, God is the true desire of every soul, and he manifests himself in the forms of prophets and imāms; the appointed duˤāt lead believers to the right path. The Druze refer to this pillar as Taslīm "Submission".
- Taharah “Purity”: The Druze do not include this as a Pillar.
- Shahādah: Most Ismāˤīlīs add ˤAliyun wāliyu l-Lāh (علي ولي الله) "ˤAlī is the friend of God" at the end of the shahādatayn: the exception is the Druze. The Bohra do not list this as a Pillar of Faith, and hence have only seven pillars..
- Salah "Prayer": Unlike Sunni and Twelver muslims, Nizari Ismāˤīliyya reason that it is up to the current imām to designate the style and form of prayer, and for this reason the current Nizari practices resemble dua and pray them three times a day. These three times have been related with the three times that have been mentioned in the Qur'ān: sunrise, before sunset, and after sunset. In contrast, the Mustaˤlī maintain five prayers and their style is generally closely related to that of the Twelvers. The Druze believe that the meaning of prayer is sidqu l-lisān "speaking Truth (to/about God)" and do not believe in five daily prayers. They do sometimes attend prayers, which is the practice of the "uninitiated" (juhhāl) and historically was also done for reasons of taqiyya.
- Zakah "Charity": with the exception of the Druze, all Ismāˤīlī madhāhab have practices resembling that of Sunni and Twelver Muslims with the addition of the characteristic Shīˤa khums: payment of 1/8th of one's unspent money at the end of the year to the imām. In addition to khums, Ismāˤīlīs pay 12.5% of their monthly gross income to the imām, which goes to the central accounts and then spent on welfare of the humankind like education and health projects. One of the major examples of these projects is the Aga Khan Development Network, that is one of the biggest welfare networks of the world. Thus, Ismāˤīlīs believe that as Prophet Muhammad was designated to take zakāt from the believers in the past, it is now the duty to pay the imām or his representative. The Druze practice hifzu l-'Ikhwān "Protection of One's Brothers" instead of paying a fee, a culturally complex practice of interdependence.
- Sawm “Fasting”: Nizari and Mustaˤlī believe in both a metaphorical and literal meaning of fasting. The literal meaning is that one must fast as an obligation, such as during the Ramadan and the metaphorical meaning being that one is in attainment of the Divine Truth and must strive to avoid worldy activities which may detract from this goal. In particular, Ismāˤīlīs believe the real and esoteric meaning of fasting is avoiding devilish acts and doing the good deeds. Not eating during the month of Ramadan has been considered as a metaphorical implementation of fasting and is not compulsory. The Druze emphasise the esoteric meaning, which they call tark ˤibādat al-awthān "deserting idol-worship": that which detracts from communion with God is an idol (wathan).
- Hajj “Pilgrimage”: For Ismāˤīlīs, this means visiting the imām or his representative and that this is the greatest and most spiritual of all pilgrimages. The Mustaˤlī maintain also the practice of going to Mecca. The Druze interpret this completely metaphorically as "fleeing from devils and oppressors" and rarely go to Mecca.
- Jihad "Struggle": The definition of jihad is controversial as it has two meanings: "the Greater Struggle" and the "The Lesser Struggle", the latter of which means a confrontation with the enemies of the faith. The Nizari are pacifist and interpret "adversaries" of the faith as personal and social vices (i.e. wrath, intolerance, etc.) and those individuals who harm the peace of the faith and avoid provocation and use force only as a final resort only in self-defense. It is unclear what the Mustaali believe. The Druze have a long history of military and political engagement, but refer to this pillar solely as Rīda "Contentment" - the war to fight that which removes you from the ease of the Divine Presence, a meaning similar to that of the Nizari. In addition, the ˤUqqāl "Wise Ones", the religious cadre of the Druze, are pacifists.