Here we will learn the following:
- What are the pillars of Islam?
- Where do the five pillars of Islam come from?
- Purpose of the five pillars of Islam
- The five pillars of Islam in the Quran
- The First Pillar of Islam: The Shahada (Testimony)
- The Second pillar of Islam is the Salah (Prayer)
- The Third pillar of Islam is the Zakat (Almsgiving)
- The Forth pillar of Islam is Fasting in Ramadan
- The fifth pillar of Islam is Hajj (Pilgrimage)
- What is the Act of Worship that Contains all the pillars of Islam?
- What is the Importance of the five pillars of Islam?
- What to do to improve our performance on the pillars of Islam?
What are the pillars of Islam?
The pillars of Islam are the five key worshipping practices named “pillars” which hold up the faith of a Muslim just like pillars hold up building. Obviously, a building does not have only one pillar, and so is the case with Islam, as worshipping Allah (God) has many means other than the five pillars, but the five pillars establish the road for the journey of spiritual growth, commitment, and closeness to Allah.
Where do the five pillars of Islam come from?
The five pillars of Islam are mentioned by prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, where he says: “Islam was built on five, saying Shahadah, establishing Salah, giving Zakat, fasting of Ramadan, and Hajj” Sahih Muslim 16c
Purpose of the five pillars of Islam:
The five pillars’ purpose is to make us fulfil our own purpose in life: Worshiping Allah alone. Allah is the only one worthy of worship, He is the only “God”. It is His right to be worshipped and we were Created to worship Him; That’s our purpose in life. That is how our lives can have meaning and peace. The five pillars are how we fulfil that.
Are the five pillars of Islam in the Quran?
Yes, The five pillars are mentioned in the Quran but separately without spelling them directly as “these are the pillars of Islam”. The pillars of Islam are spelled directly by the Prophet (saw):
“Islam means that you should testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is God’s messenger, that you should observe the prayer, pay the zakat, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to go.”Mishkat al-Masabih
ِAll the Seperate Quran verses are mentioned below when speaking about each pillar.
The First Pillar of Islam: The Shahada (Testimony)
Shahada means Testimony. It is testimony that Allah (God) is the One and Only Deity, the only One worthy of worship, and Muhammed is His prophet and messenger. Shahadah is the door of Islam. One simply needs to say the words with sincerity and conviction to become a Muslim.
Shahada is the testimony of faith in the oneness of God. It is an acknowledgment that must emanate from a deep conviction at heart and mind that God is One and Only One. It signifies the acceptance of the path of all messengers sent by Allah, the path Allah completed and perfected with the last and final messenger, Muhammad –peace be upon all the messengers-.
The shahada In Arabic:
أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأشهد أن محمدا رسول الله
Transliteration of shahadah:
Ash-hadu An La illaha illa Allah, w ash-hadu Ana Muhammadan Rasul Allah.
Translation of shahadah:
I testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammed is His messenger.
This pillar of Islam is mentioned in the Quran in:
“so know that there is no god but Allah,”Surah Muhammad – 19
Surah Al-Fath – 29
“Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Learn about the Shahadah in a comprehensive way.
The Second pillar of Islam is the Salah (Prayer)
Salah means prayer, but unlike a regular supplication, Salah has to be done in a very specific way, at certain times. This booklet explains all these details.
God ordered us to do five daily prayers, in which we recite the words of the Creator, stand in submission before Him and ask Him for anything we need.
The five daily prayers instil a sense of constant neediness and reliance upon Allah. He who is always hearing (Al-Samee’), always Seeing (Al-Baseer) and He who responds to the caller (Al Mojeeb).
Salah allows the person to take a few minutes- break out of the consuming fast pace of life, and just speak to the Creator. Moreover, it helps us remember what’s beyond all of our daily experiences.
Allah told Moses (peace be upon him):
Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.[Qur’an 20- 14]
The Third pillar of Islam is the Zakat (Almsgiving)
Zakat means purification. It is a general meaning that reflects on purifying all aspects of ourselves; the purification of our wealth is a part of that. In the technical sense, Zakat is an obligational charity that the wealthy have to give out yearly.
“Almsgivings are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islām] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allāh and for the [stranded] traveller – an obligation [imposed] by Allāh. And Allāh is Knowing and Wise.”Surah At-Tawbah – 60
The Forth pillar of Islam is Fasting in Ramadan
Fasting means abstaining, it is abstaining for the sake of Allah from things that are normally okay. Fasting here means abstaining from eating, drinking, or spousal intercourse during the course of the day, from dawn until dusk.
Fasting had different forms when it was revealed to different prophets, for example in some cases people would fast from speaking to others and stay silent all day.
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous”Surah Al-Baqarah
The fifth pillar of Islam is Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Hajj is defined as a set of specific worshipping acts, done at a specific place and at a specific time. Allah is the one who determines all these specific elements, that’s why it is the purest form of obedience to stick to them and no man has the authority to change them.
Allah has set the place for Hajj to be in Makkah, the time is in the last month of the Islamic lunar year (Aka the month of pilgrimage).
“ O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”Surah Al-Hujurat – 13
What is the Act of Worship that Contains all the pillars of Islam?
During Hajj, all of the previous four pillars are connected and their purpose fulfilled. Starting with the remembrance of Allah, like the Shahadah. To perform –in submission– specific acts of worship set by Allah, like the Salah.
To purify the soul by spending money and enduring physical hardship for the sake of Allah, like in Zakat. And of course, disciplining ourselves like Fasting.
What is the Importance of the five pillars of Islam?
The purpose of the five pillars is to give a sense of consistency and structure to those walking on the path of Allah.
The five pillars are of pivotal importance because all of them are obligatory as long as their requirements are met.
The pillars are the main forms of worship Allah has ordered us to worship Him with.
What to do to improve our performance on the pillars of Islam?
The five pillars are obligatory. However, still we can do similar but voluntary additional acts of worship to elevate our faith and become closer to our Lord.
There are special rewards for these additional worships, and in the Sunnah (Tradition of the Prophet) there are a lot of details on them.
- We can say the “Azkhar” which the Shahadah is part of, at dawn and dusk.
- We can pray more prayers in the day and night, other than the five prayers.
- We can give more in charity to the poor and needy, and in this case, even if we give to our mother or children –for example– it can count as a charity (Even if we can’t give them from Zakat).
- We can fast during the year not just in Ramadan.
- And finally, we can go to Makkah for (Umrah) –which is similar to pilgrimage– at any time of the year.
The path to Allah is filled with different good deeds, so make sure to know them and do them.
Allah says in hadith Qudusi:
“The most beloved thing by which My slave comes nearer to Me is what I have obligated upon him, and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through voluntary worship till I love him. “Sahih al-Bukhari 6502
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