The Pillars of Islam أركان الإسلام
عن ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما قال: سمعت رسول الله يقول: بُني الإسلام على خمس: شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمداً رسول الله، وإقام الصلاة، وإيتاء الزكاة، والحج، وصوم رمضان | Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the Zakah, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.
الشَهادة Witness of Faith
“لا إله إلا الله , محمدٌ رسول الله “ “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.” This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which all faithful pronounce. The first part negates the existence of any form of God (wealth, power or the like) except for Allah; the One. Then the second part states that Muhammad – a man like us – is the messenger رسول who has come with a message of guidance to us.
Salat or Salah is the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day. Salah is a direct link between the worshipper and God. There are no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Qur’an and is generally chosen by the congregation. These prayers contain verses from the Qur’an and are said in Arabic; the language of Revelation. The five prayers are: the Dawn Prayer صلاة الفجر , the Noon Prayer صلاة الظُهر , the Afternoon Prayer صلاة العصر , the Sunset Prayer صلاة المغرب and the Night Prayer صلاة العِشاء .
Zakah is the financial obligation upon Muslims. The word zakah means both “Purification” and “growth”. Our possessions مُمتلكات are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need and for the society in general. This cutting back balances and encourages new growth. Each Muslim calculates his or her Zakah individually and according to his wealth at the end of the year. It is the duty of the Islamic community not only to collect Zakah but to distribute it fairly as well.
The pilgrimage to Makkah مكة (the Hajj) is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to do so. However, over two million people go to Makkah every year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet. Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments that strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before Allah الله (God).
Every year in the month of Ramadan رمضان , all Muslims fast from dawn until sunset; abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations with their spouses. Those who are sick, elderly or travelling and women who are menstruating, pregnant or nursing, are permitted to break their fast and make up an equal number of days later during the year if they are healthy and able.