Five Pillars of Islam in English

Five Pillars of Islam

Last Updated on July 17, 2024

Islam, a faith practiced by over a billion people worldwide, is built on foundational practices known as the Five Pillars. These Pillars represent the core beliefs and practices that every Muslim is expected to follow, serving as a guide to living a life that is pleasing to Allah (God). Let’s dive deep into each of these Pillars and understand their significance in the life of a Muslim.


Shahada: The Declaration of Faith


The Shahada is the first and most fundamental Pillar of Islam. It is the declaration of faith, stating, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” This statement affirms the monotheistic nature of Islam and the belief in Muhammad as God’s final prophet.

For Muslims, the Shahada is not just a statement but a profound commitment to a life of faith. It is the entry point into the Islamic faith and is recited with sincerity to convert to Islam. This declaration is a constant reminder of a Muslim’s core belief and identity.

Muslims repeat the Shahada in their daily prayers, during significant moments in life, and it is the first words whispered into a newborn’s ear. It forms the foundation of a Muslim’s relationship with Allah and shapes their worldview and actions.


Salah: The Five Daily Prayers


Salah, the second Pillar, refers to the five daily prayers that Muslims perform. These prayers are a direct link between the worshipper and Allah, providing structure to a Muslim’s day and an opportunity for spiritual renewal.

Salah is more than a ritual; it is a practice that instills discipline, mindfulness, and a sense of community. It helps Muslims maintain a strong connection with Allah and reinforces their faith throughout the day.

The five daily prayers are:

  • Fajr – Before dawn
  • Dhuhr – After midday
  • Asr – Afternoon
  • Maghrib – Just after sunset
  • Isha – Night
Five Pillars of Islam in English
Five Pillars of Islam in English

How to Perform Salah

Each prayer consists of a series of movements and recitations, including standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting. These actions, combined with the recitation of verses from the Quran, help Muslims focus their mind and heart on Allah.


Zakat: The Almsgiving


Zakat, the third Pillar, is a form of almsgiving and social welfare. It is a mandatory act of charity that requires Muslims to give a portion of their wealth to those in need.

Zakat purifies wealth by redistributing it to the less fortunate, helping to reduce inequality and poverty. It fosters a sense of solidarity and social responsibility within the Muslim community.

Muslims are required to give 2.5% of their savings and wealth accumulated over a year. The calculation can be complex, involving cash, savings, investments, and other assets.

The recipients of Zakat include the poor, the needy, those in debt, and other specified categories mentioned in the Quran. This ensures that the support reaches those who genuinely need it.


Sawm: Fasting During Ramadan


Sawm, the fourth Pillar, refers to fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset.

Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, increased devotion, and spiritual growth. It commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad and is considered the holiest month in Islam.

Muslims begin their fast with a pre-dawn meal called Suhoor and break it with a meal known as Iftar at sunset. The fast is not just physical but also includes refraining from sinful behavior and thoughts.

Fasting teaches self-discipline, empathy for the less fortunate, and a sense of community. It is a time for Muslims to strengthen their faith and deepen their connection with Allah.


Hajj: The Pilgrimage to Mecca


Hajj, the fifth Pillar, is the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca that every Muslim must undertake at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able.

Hajj is a demonstration of the unity of the Muslim ummah (community) and their submission to Allah. It is a spiritually uplifting experience that every Muslim aspires to complete.

The Rituals Performed During Hajj

Hajj involves several rituals, including:

  • Ihram: Wearing special white garments
  • Tawaf: Circling the Kaaba
  • Sa’i: Walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah
  • Standing at Arafat: Praying for forgiveness
  • Mina: Stoning the devil and sacrificing an animal


Who is Required to Perform Hajj?

Hajj is obligatory for all adult Muslims who are of sound mind, physically able, and can afford the journey without incurring debt.