5 pillars of Islam – the precepts of Sharia, which form the basis of Islam and is mandatory for all Muslims. The five pillars of Islam include the Shahadah, the prayer, the fasting, zakat and Hajj.
The five pillars of Islam are not listed in Quran: they are known from the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In order to perform and follow them, you need an internal spiritual initiation, as well as an external sign of intention (niyah). A very important requirement is the correct implementation of each of the five pillars of Islam.
I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: “Islam is based on five (pillars): witness that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah (SWT), and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), performing prayer, paying zakat, performing Hajj, and fasting in Ramadan.
(al-Bukhari, 40 Hadith Nawawi 3)
1. Shahadah (Declaration of Faith)
The Shahadah – a symbol of faith that indicates that the believer confesses monotheism and acceptance of Muhammad (PBUH) as Allah’s Messenger. The recitation of the Shahadah –“la ilaha illa-llah wa Muhammadun rasulu llah” – begins any prayer, any religious, and sometimes secular ceremonies.
2. Salah (Prayer)
Prayer is the greatest form of worship, which includes exalting Allah (SWT), praising Him (tasbih), supplication, reciting the Quran, dhikr, and bowing to the ground. Allah (SWT) has enjoined Muslims to stand in prayer just as He has enjoined it on previous Prophets and their communities.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) encouraged his Ummah to pray as he was seen praying. There are a number of rules that regulate the uniformity of performing salah.
Prayer formulas and all the words of salah are pronounced only in Arabic. The difference in prayer formulas may be due to the madhab.
Performing salah five times a day every day strictly at the time allotted for this purpose is the duty of every adult Muslim in Islam. But if a person interrupts the obligatory prayer at an extreme need, having a good reason for this, he will not be charged with sin for this. For example, people who are not able to perform prayer due to health conditions, pregnant women, small children, and travelers who do not have suitable conditions for performing prayer. But in any case, he must make this prayer again, if he has the opportunity to perform it before the end of the period of time allotted for its performance, or reimburse it if the time of prayer has passed.
3. Zakat (Charity)
Zakat is an alms or 2.5% tax for one year that is paid out of one’s property to benefit those Muslims who are in need.
The Meccan Surahs treat zakat as a boon or alms, providing material assistance. Zakat is paid by able-bodied Muslims, and during the year the amounts collected in this way are spent only in the district where they were collected. Zakat is given to the poor people, students, travelers who do not have the means to return home, those who deserve encouragement, and a number of other categories and individuals.
4. Sawm (Fasting)
Fasting (Sawm) is performed in the month of Ramadan. For a long time, the peoples of the Middle East, belonging to various religions, performed fasts, which was associated with food restrictions that occur in pastoralists during their economic cycle. In particular, the Arabs in pre-Islamic times had several fasts, including fasting on the first ten days of Muharram – the first month of the lunar calendar. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is longer: it lasts 30 days. It is said to have been established by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 17-18 months after the Hegira-the move of Muhammad (PBUH) and his closest companions to Medina.
The Muslim fasting does not consist in abstinence from certain types of food, but in complete abstinence from food, any drink, and any pleasure throughout the day, from dawn to dark.
All adult Muslims who adhere to the rules of the Islamic faith must observe the fasting. But if a person cannot observe the fast due to certain circumstances, due to health reasons, or if a person is not able to take responsibility for their actions, then such people are exempt from its observance.
5. Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Hajj or pilgrimage is the dream of every Muslim. Every believer dreams of making a pilgrimage to Mecca, where the Kaaba is the main Shrine of Islam. And Medina, where the grave of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is located. The Kaaba was built during the life of the Prophet Adam (AS), then during the flood it was destroyed. But then it was restored by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) along with his son Ismail. The tradition of making a pilgrimage dates back to the time when the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) lived, even before Islam, the ancient Arabs made a pilgrimage to it. The pilgrimage is compulsary only for those people, who are physically able to perform it and who have enough money earned by their honest work.
The pillars of Islam have their own rules, conditions and adabs that apply to them. But the most important thing for us is to know and remember the five pillars, constantly remind ourselves of them, and share information about the five pillars with others. In particular, when performing any ibadah, whether it is fasting in Ramadan, or standing up for prayer, we should remember to be sincere in performing the pillars of Islam, doing everything correctly, in accordance with Sharia and remembering that this should make us better.