The 5 Pillars of Faith

By: Alexa Danahy

1st Pillar ~ Declaration of Faith

The Declaration of Faith claims that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and Muhammad (his messenger.) To show belief in one God and in Muhammad's prophet-hood, a Muslim says, "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God." Muslims not only believe in God, but they pledge their submission to him.  Parents whisper it into their babies ears, they strive to utter the shahadah as their last words before death, and students taking a difficult test say the shahadah to help them with the ordeal.    

2nd Pillar ~ Daily Ritual Prayer

Salat emphasizes religious discipline, spirituality, and closeness to God. In the Muslim community, people are to pray 5 times a day: at dawn, noon, midday, sunset, and after nightfall. But before praying, the Muslims must perform ritual washing's and take off their shoes before using the rug. The worshiper's face the qibla, the direction of Mecca, and are in rows that are separated from men to women. They then proclaim the prayer cycle and recite verses from the Qur'an and kneel before God.  

3rd Pillar ~Giving to Those in Need

Zakat means "purification." Muslims believe that wealth becomes pure by giving some of it away and that sharing wealth helps control greed. Zakat also reminds people of God's great gifts to them. Zakat helps provide for many needs, they pay for soup kitchens, clothing, and shelter for the poor. Even orphanages and hospitals and built and supported by zakat. This also provides aid to standard travelers and can cover the school fees of children whose parents cannot afford to send them to Muslim schools. Zakat is very similar to charitable giving, like how Christians and Jews do.  

Fourth Pillar ~ Fasting

The Qur'an instructs Muslims to fast for an entire month during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from the break of dawn to the setting of the sun. During the daylight on each day of Ramadan, Muslims do not eat any food or drink any liquid, including water. After the sun sets each day, Muslims share a meal with family and friends and attend special prayer sessions. Fasting teaches and encourages generosity, equality, charity, forgiving people, giving thanks, avoiding arguments and bad deeds. They also want you to know what it would feel like to be poor and hungry.Then at the end of Ramadan, Muslims have a celebration called Eid al-Fitr where people attend prayers, wear new clothes, exchange gifts, and give to the poor.   

Fifth Pillar ~ The Pilgrimage

On the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, millions of adult believers from all over the world come together at Mecca. By bringing many Muslims from different places and cultures together, the Hajj promotes fellowship and equality. The pilgrims follow what Muslims believe are the footsteps of Abraham and Muhammad, and so draw closer to God. For five days, they dress in simple white clothing and perform a series of rituals, which is called the Pilgrimage of Mecca.  

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