Five Pillars of Islam

An Overview

Assalamalaikum y’all!

I hope you are having an amazing day! Due to the numerous misconceptions about Islam, I wanted to write about what Islam really is and what it stands for. For those who don’t know, I am a Sunday school teacher at my local mosque and one of the classes I teach is about the five pillars of Islam. I want to give you a brief overview of who we are as Muslims and our basic beliefs by summarizing each pillar.

1)Shahadah — Declaration of Faith

As Muslims, our faith is what differentiates us with both the Christians and the Jews. We all believe in one God but as Muslims, we believe the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be the last and final messenger of God. To be a Muslim, one must have a firm belief and declare that “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His last messenger.” Without saying this or believing in this, one is not Muslim

2) Salah — 5 Daily Prayers

Another aspect of being a Muslim is praying the five daily prayers prescribed to us. They are divided amongst the day — Fajr being the earliest before sunrise, Zuhr is early afternoon, Asr is midafternoon, Maghrib is sunset, and Isha is late at night. These help keep us disciplined and constantly remind us of our creator. There are extra prayers in between and after these obligatory ones but these are the main ones. There is a common misconception that reading all 5 prayers makes you super religious or conservative, but in fact, reading your prayers makes you Muslim.

3) Sawm — Fasting in the Month of Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is my favorite month of the year! As Muslims, we follow the lunar calendar so Ramadan comes at a different time each year but nevertheless is the best time! We fast from sunrise to sunset for 29 or 30 days, depending on the moon. We abstain not only from eating and drinking but from bad habits such as backbiting and cursing as well. The month of Ramadan serves as training wheels to better your behavior and attitude throughout the rest of the year while also teaching you to be humble and patient. We have a holiday right after, known as Eid ul Fitr, which means a festival of breaking the fast.

4) Zakah — Paying charity to the poor

Islam has a built in welfare program to help take care of the poor. Each earning Muslim, whether it be male or female, must donate about 2.5% of their yearly earning to the poor if they are financially stable. This takes the strain off of the government and gives assistance to the poor in a lovely manner.

5) Hajj — the Holy pilgrimage to Makkah

Each Muslim must complete the pilgrimage to Makkah, known as Hajj, at least once in their lifetime IF they are financially stable and healthy to make the journey. Millions of Muslims from all over the world make the journey to Makkah, Saudi Arabia to visit, what we believe to be the house of God, also known as the Kaabah.

These are very brief overviews of the pillars of Islam. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or any other Muslim. We’d be happy to answer any questions!

Anum Kazi
 Twitter — @AnummmK