The five pillars of Islam are such act which are mandatory for a believer and make the very foundation of a believer’s life.
The Five Pillars of Islam are the following;
- Assertion of Faith (Shahada)
- Prayer (Salah)
- Alms Giving (Zakat)
- Fasting in Ramadan
- Pilgrimage (Hajj)
This can also be seen from the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) hadith.
It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah son of ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
(The superstructure of) al-Islam is raised on five (pillars), testifying (the fact) that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is His bondsman and messenger, and the establishment of prayer, payment of Zakat, Pilgrimage to the House (Ka’ba) and the fast of Ramadan.Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 21
Assertion of Faith (Shahada)
This is the most important of the five pillars. Basically in this, one has to declare the Shahada. This Shahada can be seen in the above hadith as well.
One has to say that I bear witness that there is no God except Allah (SWT), and I bear witness that Muhammad (PBUH) is the slave and messenger of Allah (SWT).
One has to not only say this physically with his tongue, but also with one’s heart. Meaning, doing it wholeheartedly.
Salah or Namaz is also one of the mandatory pillars of Islam. There are 5 daily prayers in a day which are compulsory.
It is stated in the Quran
˹O believers!˺ Always turn to Him ˹in repentance˺, be mindful of Him, and establish prayers. And do not be polytheists—Quran, 30:31
Alms Giving (Zakat)
If Salah is physical form of worship. Then, Zakat is the financial form of worship. Islam has declared laws and regulations to have a stable economy and a socially just society. Zakat not only purifies one’s wealth. But, also frees one’s heart from the greed of money. It also serves as reminder that everything, including the wealth belongs to Allah (SWT). It also shows the sincerity that one has with Allah (SWT) when he spends in the way of Allah (SWT).
Zakat helps the poor and needy of the society. It keeps one from hoarding the money and keeps money circulating in the economy of the society. There are set portions for how much Zakat is due for a certain amount of wealth. And there are also conditions as to who qualifies as needy or poor to be able to receive Zakat. There are many more details that go into Zakat which will be discussed later in a future post.
And establish prayer and give zakāh, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed Allah, of what you do, is Seeing.Quran, 2:110
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is also a mandatory Pillar of Islam. Just like, fasting was made an obligation upon earlier nations (Christians, etc.) It has also been made mandatory upon us.
As stated in the Quran,
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous –Quran, 2:183
Fasting is not only beneficial to us in terms of spirituality, but also in terms of our physical health. Fasting doesn’t only mean to stay away from food but also improve ourselves by staying away from other bad deeds as well.
In Islam, the Pilgrimage to the Kaaba is made mandatory for Muslims. And it’s significance can be seen from the following verse of the Holy Quran.
In it are clear signs and the standing-place of Abraham. Whoever enters it should be safe. Pilgrimage to this House is an obligation by Allah upon whoever is able among the people.1 And whoever disbelieves, then surely Allah is not in need of ˹any of His˺ creation.Quran, 3:97
1.Pilgrimage is obligatory on every Muslim at least once in their lifetime if the person is physically and financially able.
More details of the Five Pillars will be coming in future posts