The Five Pillars of Islam are fundamental acts of worship and practice that are considered obligatory for all Muslims. They serve as the framework for a Muslim's faith and actions:
1. Shahada (Faith):
- This is the declaration of faith and belief in the oneness of Allah (God) and the prophethood of Muhammad. The Shahada is recited by Muslims as a statement of their belief, affirming that "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."
2. Salah (Prayer):
- Salah is the ritual prayer performed five times a day by Muslims. These prayers are performed at specific times: before sunrise (Fajr), midday (Dhuhr), afternoon (Asr), after sunset (Maghrib), and at nightfall (Isha). Salah involves physical movements, recitations from the Quran, and supplications to Allah.
3. Zakat (Charity):
- Zakat is the obligation for Muslims to give a portion of their wealth to those in need, particularly to assist the poor and needy in the community. It is considered a form of purification of one's wealth and an act of social responsibility. Zakat is typically calculated as 2.5% of one's savings and wealth that have reached a certain threshold.
4. Sawm (Fasting):
- Sawm refers to the fasting observed by Muslims during the Islamic month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset as an act of self-discipline, spiritual reflection, and empathy for those less fortunate. Fasting in Ramadan is obligatory for adult Muslims, with exceptions for certain groups such as the sick, elderly, and pregnant or nursing women.
5. Hajj (Pilgrimage):
- Hajj is the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able is required to undertake at least once in their lifetime. It takes place during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah and involves a series of rituals commemorating the actions of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his family. Hajj is considered one of the largest gatherings of people in the world and serves as a unifying event for Muslims from diverse backgrounds.