The Five Pillars of Islam


  1. Shahada: The profession of faith
    1. “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his apostle"
    2. Allahu akbar" “Greater is God” than all that could be compared with Him.
    3. Declared publicly, in company of believers, many times a day

  2. Salat: Ritual Prayer
    1. At least five times a day. 
    2. Very specific formula:

                                                               i.      Facing toward Mecca:
We have seen thee turning thy face about
in the heaven; now We will surely turn thee
to a direction that will satisfy thee.
Turn thy face toward the Holy Mosque [in Mecca];
wherever you are, turn your faces toward it.

                                                             ii.      Focus attention of the One who gives meaning and direction to life

                                                            iii.      Full prostration, forehead to earth = total submission to their creator

                                                           iv.      An intimate conversation with God; intentions, words, actions all known, seen, accepted by God.

    1. Mosque = masjid ("place of prostration")
    2. Friday is a day of public prayer
    3. Often only men are allowed to pray at mosque, women pray at home.  When women are allowed to pray in the mosque, men and women are divided

  1. Ramadan: The Ramadan fast
    1. Ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, when M first received his revelations
    2. Daily fast, between first light and darkness - if health permits.  No food, drink, tobacco, sexual activity
    3. The purpose is to fast from sympathy for the poor, give to the poor what one would have eaten.  Fasting is also important for one’s spiritual being
    4. Id al-fitr is the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, 3 days of feasting and rejoicing

  2. Zakat: Almsgiving
    1. A Muslim must give part of worldly wealth to people in need and to further Truth.  Those who have received abundance should respond with gratitude, and in imitation of God.  Social responsibility of the believer. Gratitude to the Giver of all good things.

                                                               i.      Believers are meant to donate 2.5 percent of their total income

  1. Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca
    1. Pilgrims wear special gown, don't shave or cut their hair.  This sets them apart from ordinary lives
    2. In the 12th lunar month: arrive, bath, enter Grand Mosque in Mecca
    3. The Ka’bah is a cube-shaped building at center of the sanctuary.  Circumambulate the Ka’bah
    4. Externally, hajj is a great unifier; internally it entails an interior journey



  1. Shahada
  2. Salat
  3. Masjid
  4. Ramadan
  5. Id al-fitr
  6. Zakat
  7. Hajj