What Are the Five Pillars of Islam?

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The Five Pillars of Islam are the profession of faith (Shahadah), regulated prayer (Salah), almsgiving (Zakat), fasting (Sawm) and the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). These pillars are defining ctenets of the Islamic faith.

The Shahadah is an Islamic profession of faith. It is an affirmation both of strict monotheism and of Muhammad’s role as God’s divine messenger.

Salah, or prayer, is a strict obligation of Islam. Muslims pray either alone or in groups five times a day at designated times while facing the city of Mecca. There are prescribed prayers for dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening. Friday is a special holy day where Muslims attend special services.

Almsgiving and fasting are two additional requirements of the Islamic faith. Muslims have an established system that governs the amount of one’s income to be used for almsgiving purposes. Fasting occurs during the month of Ramadan. This month has special significance for Muslims, because they believe that it was during this time that Muhammad received the revelations of the Koran.

Every Muslim who is capable has to make a special pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, at least once during his lifetime. This pilgrimage enables its participants to visit the places that Muhammad lived and walked during his life.