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The pillars of Islam are the five crucial practices on which Muslims vow their faith upon. These are five obligations declared by Allah (SWT) that every Muslim must aim to achieve and satisfy to be a worthy believer. They are the building blocks to creating a good and prosperous life in the eyes of Islam.

The five pillars are as follows: Shahadah, Salah, Sawm, Zakat and Hajj.

A Muslim must believe and be sincere regarding these obligations, demonstrating their devotion to Allah (SWT).

Shahadah (Declaration of Faith)

The Shahadah is the most important element of the five pillars as it is the declaration of faith. It shows the utmost belief in Allah (SWT) and His teachings, and it is the beginning of all Muslim’s journeys.

Those who are born into Muslim families often have the Shahadah recited into their ears when they are born. When they grow up, they are taught the declaration and learn how to live by this statement. When individuals convert to Islam, they are required to declare their faith in Allah (SWT) by reciting the following statement:

“Ashadu an la ilaha illa llahu, wa-ashadu anna muḥammadan rasulu -llah.” Muslims recite this declaration which translates to ‘There is no God but Allah (SWT) and Muhammad (PBUH) is the final messenger of Allah (SWT)’.

This statement is a glorification to Allah (SWT) and that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was His final messenger. Everything Islam practices is based upon this very statement, making it the most significant practice of Islam.

Salah (Obligatory Prayer)

Salah, Salat and Namaz all translate to the same thing which is the obligatory ritual prayer all Muslims must engage in five times a day at set times.  The different periods of the day in which Salah is performed are at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset and at night time. Each prayer is different and holds its own value.

Within the Salah prayers, Fard prayers cannot be missed and are an obligation along with Wajib prayers. There are also Sunnah prayers which are recommended prayers practiced by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and Nafl which is voluntary worship. All Salah’s are prayed in Rakats which is a unit of prayer.

The dawn prayer is known as Fajr which is performed by praying two Sunnat and two Fard prayers, a total of four Rakats. Midday prayer is called Zuhr and consists of four Fard, four Sunnat, two Nafl and two Sunnat. The prayer which is performed in the afternoon is known as Asr and containsfour Fard and four Sunnat. Maghrib is the Salah performed at sunset and consists of, three Fard, two Sunnat and two Nafl. The final obligatory prayer performed at the end of the day by Muslims is Isha which consists of four Fard, four Sunnat, two Sunnat, two Nafl, three Witr and two Nafl.

When engaging with prayer, Wudhu (ablution) must be done for the prayer to be accepted. All Salah’s should be prayed within the prescribed times, and when praying, Muslims must face towards the Kaaba in Mecca. Muslims must be fully covered and make the intention (Niyyah) before praying Salah.

Sawm (Fasting)

Sawm is the third pillar of Islam and translates to fasting from dawn to dusk. The practice of fasting is observed many times in the year for multiple reasons; however, Sawm is an obligation during the blessed month of Ramadan.

Ramadan an important month in Islam. Muslims perform sawm for 30 days and also observe other good practices during this time. Ramadan’s significance derives from the revelation of the Quran from Allah (SWT) through the arc Angel Jibril (Gabriel) to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the cave of Hira. 

All able Muslims who have passed puberty are required to fast from dawn to dusk for the 30 days of Ramadan. It is an opportunity for believers to cleanse their souls and allow them to focus on their relationship with their creator and achieve their aim of growing spiritually. Ramadan is also a reminder that this world is only temporary and possessions are out of our control and will come and go. 

During this time, Muslims come to understand the struggles the poor and unfortunate around the world go through daily, ensuring that gratitude and humbleness are understood amongst the ummah (community).

Zakat (Charity)

Zakat is a form of charity that is required from all capable Muslim adults. In Islam, charity is a huge aspect and is also seen as a form of worship to Allah (SWT)For Muslims to be eligible to give out this donation they must be able to meet the minimum Nisab threshold (minimum amount of wealth accumulated) and keep their wealth at that level for a full lunar year. Things like money in the bank and stocks are taken into account, as are second homes and cars. The sole house and sole car a Muslim use are not included when calculating Zakat

The Zakat donation each able Muslim makes helps the poor and needy around the world, providing them with necessities for basic survival and much more. There is no specific time that Muslims must pay Zakat by, but many choose to make their payment in the last 10 days of Ramadan as they believe the rewards are greater at this time. 

Zakat is not to be confused with Zakat al-Fitr which is a donation every Muslim – regardless of age – must make during Ramadan. In the case of children, the head of the household must donate on their behalf. 

Hajj (Pilgrimage)

Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca performed in the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. Muslims re-walk the path of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), performing special events that had occurred in his life in the form of worship to Allah (SWT).

Hajj is the fifth of the five pillars of Islam and is required of every able-bodied Muslim at least once in their life. Some individuals are unable to participate in Hajj due to health and financial reasons. You have not sinned if you do not perform Hajj; as long as you make the intention to perform it one day and make continuous duas you will gain positive rewards. 

Hajj is the opportunity for Muslims to repent for their sins, embrace their faith and devote themselves to dedicated worship in the holiest place on Earth. May Allah (SWT) grant us all the opportunity to partake in Hajj.

You can proceed with your Zakat donations with International Learning Movement today.

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