The fundamental rites of Islam shown to the Prophet are referred to as the “pillars” of Islam. The pillars are reflected to be the whole ritual framework of the Islamic religion since they are the five obligatory and essential practices that all are followed by all Muslims. It is important to note that the pillars have some disciplinary impacts that are meant to curb the excess desires of Muslims in teaching them to carry out their day-to-day activities not just for the purification of their souls but also for the wellbeing of the group. The five pillars are the profession of faith (Shahada), prayer (Salah), almsgiving (Zakah), fasting (Siyam), and the pilgrimage (Hajj). In the essay at hand, I will describe each of the five pillars of Islam and reflect on why they are called the pillars of Islam and the importance of each pillar.
The Profession of Faith (Shahada)
The “profession of faith” or ‘bearing witness,” the 1st of the Fiver Pillars is referred to as Shahada. Dadach (2020) asserts that it is a statement that contains two parts. The first part that is written in Arabic says “ashhadu anna la ilaha illa ‘I-Lah.” That means “I bear witness that there is no god but God.” The 2nd part of the statement is also in Arabic and reads “wa anna Muhammadan rasulu ‘I-Lah. It means “and that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” It is important to note that one becomes a Muslim by saying the entire statement, “I bear witness that there is no god but God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” The 1st part of the statement is essential as it affirms Muhammad is the messenger of God and the last and final Prophet who serves as a model as far as the Muslim community is concerned.
Salah, a prayer, is the second when it comes to the Five Pillars of Islam. It is not just a whimsical prayer but also the obligatory and ritual prayer carried out during the stated five times of the day. Jamal et al. (2017) claim that Salah may be performed wherever a Muslim finds themselves during the specified five times, or it can be performed inside a mosque together with the other believers. At each of the times mentioned above of the day, it is announced in all mosques across the globe that God is great four times, and I bear witness that there is no god but God for two times (Ibrahim, 2017). Additionally, it is announced that Muhammad is the messenger of God two times. It is important to note that the believers have to perform wudu or ghusl, which implies the ritual cleansing of their bodies before performing the prayer.
Zakah, almsgiving or poor-due, is the 3rd of the Five Pillars of Islam. All adults who have the capability of doing so are obliged to pay a wealth tax per year. In the literal sense, Zakah means giving Allah back a section of His bounty to avoid experiencing suffering in the next life. There is no stipulated amount of what should be given back to Allah, but it usually is two to three percent of the accumulated asset and wealth of the Muslims (Hermaini et al., 2017). The money collected for this pillar is supposed to be kept in the “public treasury” and spent for public and religious works and services. The results mentioned above and services involve helping the less fortunate in the society, those who collect Zakah, and the people whose hearts are supposed to be reconciled. Additionally, Zakah is supposed to be used to free debtors and captives for the cause of wayfarers and God, duty enacted by Allah. In other words, alms are considered to assist in spreading Islam, free debtors and slaves, and support widows, orphans, and the poor.
Siyam, fasting, is the 4th of the Five Pillars. The main obligatory fast includes abstention from sexual intercourse, food, and drinks from dawn to sunset during Ramadan month (Zailani et al., 2018). It is important to note that Ramadan is the 9th month as far as the Islamic calendar is concerned and thus goes from month to month during the solar year. During Ramadan, all adult Muslims who are fit in health have to take part in the fast. On the other hand, the sick are not needed to fast, but they have to recover the days lost without fasting when it is possible. Additionally, women who are breastfeeding and those in their menstrual period are not required to fast. The fast is broken with a light meal or “future.” Fasting people can eat to dawn, which is ended by a dawn meal or “suhur.” The dawn meal is meant for sustaining those who are fasting until sunset, when they will have the next meal. According to Islam, if a Muslim is physically able and does not fast, they have to feed a poor person to make up for it and give fidya, expiatory alms. On top of that, if a person violates sexual intercourse, they have to feed sixty people or fast for two months or free a slave.
Hajj is the last of the Five Pillars. It refers to the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, taken by Muslims once per year if a person has the capability and can afford it. Mecca is one of the holiest Muslim places in Saudi Arabia. They travel to see and touch the Ka’bah. It is believed to be the House of God, and Muslims worldwide face it during prayer. Bhatti (2018) asserts that millions of Muslims get the opportunity to offer this virtuous act annually. It is believed that Allah forgives the sins of a person if they perform Hajj with sincerity and devotion. Should a Muslim die before performing Hajj when they were supposed to, arrangements must be made by their heirs on their behalf to achieve a pious act subject to rewards during Judgment Day.
In summing up, the Five Pillars of Islam are central when it comes to the duty of a Muslim to worship God. In other words, they are the backbone of the faith of the Muslims. They help guide the faith of the believers of the Islamic religion into servitude of God and a life of devotion. Each of the Five Pillars of Islam has been carried out since Muhammad brought them back to the Muslims very many years ago. On top of that, despite the significant diversity when it comes to the day-to-day practices of those who believe in the Islamic religion, the Five Pillars of Islam have remained central and collective denominator, the five obligatory and essential practices that are both accepted and followed by all Muslims across the globe.
Bhatti, Z. (2018). Multimedia Based Learning and Virtual Tour For Performing Hajj. Journal of Information & Communication Technology (JICT), 12(1), 6.
Dadach, Z. E. (2020). The Foundation of Islam.
Hermaini, H., Zaenal, M. H., & Ismail, A. G. (2017, September). Strategic Role of Zakat in Disadvantaged Regions of Indonesia: Results From Survey 2016. In Conference-Puskas BAZNAS.
Ibrahim, I. A. (2017). What are the Five pillars of Islam.
Jamal, I. H., Junaidi, J., Ghazali, N. M., Mohd, R. A., Khassim, N. A. M., Ibrahim, N., … & Salam, R. A. (2017). Classification of hadith fi’li in Sahih Al-Bukhari based on contextual understanding of the pillars of Islam. Advanced Science Letters, 23(5), 4681-4685.
Zailani, S. A. M., Omar, N. A., Mustapha, A., & Rahim, M. H. A. (2018). Fasting ontology in pillars of Islam. Indonesian Journal of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 12(2), 562-569.