The ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam are the foundation of Muslim life:

  1. Faith or belief in the Oneness of God and the finality of the prophet hood of Muhammad (PBUH)
  2. Establishment of the daily prayers
  3. Concern for and almsgiving to the needy
  4. Self-purification through fasting
  5. The pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.

    Iman: Faith

    To testify La ilaha illallah wa anna Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped except God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” This declaration of faith is called the Shahadah, a simple formula that all the faithful pronounce. The significance of this declaration is the belief that the only purpose of life is to serve and obey God, and this is achieved through the teachings and practices of the Last Prophet, Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhu Wasallam or PBUH (which stands for Peace be upon him)To perform (Iqamat) As-Salat: Prayer


    is the name for the obligatory prayers that are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. Prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Qur’an and is generally chosen by the congregation.

    Prayers are said at dawn, mid-day, late-afternoon, sunset and nightfall. These five prescribed prayers contain verses from the Qur’an, and are said in Arabic, the language of the revelation. Personal supplications, however, can be offered in one’s own language and at any time.
    Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories and universities except in an unclean place. A translation of the Adan (Call to Prayer) is

    God is Great.
    God is Great.
    God is Great.
    God is Great.
    I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God.
    I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God.
    I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
    I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
    Come to prayer!
    Come to prayer!
    Come to success!
    Come to success!
    God is Great!
    God is Great!
    There is none worthy of worship except God.

    To pay Zakat: The financial obligation upon Muslims.

    An important principle of Islam is that everything belongs to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust.

    The word zakat means both “purification” and “growth.” Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need and for the society in general. Like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth. Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually.

    This involves the annual payment of a fortieth of one’s capital, excluding such items as primary residence, car and professional tools. An individual may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqah, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as “voluntary charity” it has a wider meaning.

    The Prophet said, “Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is an act of charity.” The Prophet also said: “Charity is a necessity for every Muslim.” He was asked: “What if a person has nothing?” The Prophet replied: “He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.” The Companions of the Prophet asked: “What if he is not able to work?” The Prophet said: “He should help the poor and needy.”The Companions further asked: “What if he cannot do even that?” The Prophet said: “He should urge others to do good.” The Companions said: “What if he lacks that also?” The Prophet said: “He should check himself from doing evil. That is also an act of charity.”

    To observe Saum: Fasting during the month of Ramadan

    Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is one of the religious festivals of the Islamic community that is widely celebrated all over the world. Ramadan last for 29 to 30 days as Islamic calendars are based on moon (which is lunar, not solar, so Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter). Although this festival includes fasting and sacrifice, yet we celebrate this occasion with a lot of joy and enthusiasm.

    Ramadan includes fasting which is the third pillar of the five pillars of Islam. During Ramadan, we eat twice a day. One before the sunrise called suhoor and one after the sunsets called Iftar. Fasting in Islam is considered to be a means of practicing self-control. It is compulsory for us to start fasting when we reach puberty, so long as we are healthy, sane and have no disabilities or illnesses. The elderly, the chronically ill, and the mentally ill are exempted from fasting.

    Although the first two groups (the old and sick) must endeavor to feed the poor in place of their missed fast. Also exempted are pregnant women, women during the period of menstruation, and women nursing their newborns. While fasting is not considered compulsory in childhood, many children endeavor to complete as much as they can as practice for later years. Lastly, those traveling are exempted from fasting, but must make up the days they miss after Ramadan.

    An important part of Ramadan festival is offering gifts in the form of Zakat(See above). Ramadan is the time for offering intense prayers to God. During this month, we read the Quran (the holy scripture of Islam) as much as possible. The last 10 days of Ramadan are most special to us because during this time, we indulge in intense prayers with the belief that they’ll be granted because of our good deeds, sacrifices, and devotion. According to the Quran, the 27th night of the month of Ramadan, known as the Lailat ul-Qadr or the Night of Power, is actually considered to be auspicious than any other night. So, we spend almost this entire night in prayers. The end of Ramadan is celebrated by a festival called Eid-ul Fitri

     To perform Hajj: Pilgrimage to Makkah

    The pilgrimage to Makkah (the hajj) is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to do so. Nevertheless, over two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another.

    The annual hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (Lunar). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments that strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God. The rites of the hajj, include going around the Ka’bah seven times, and going seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa as did Hagar (Hajir, Abraham’s wife) during her search for water. The pilgrims later stand together on the wide plains of Arafat (a large expanse of desert outside Makkah) and join in prayer for God’s forgiveness, in what is often thought as a preview of the Day of Judgment.

    The close of the hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid ul Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. This and the Eid-ul Fitr, (the festive day celebrating the end of Ramadan), are the two holidays of the Islamic calendar.




What is Islam?

The word Islam means voluntary “Submission” or “Surrender” to the Will of God. It derives from the root word “salam,” meaning peace.

In the Quran, God defines that the only purpose for which He created mankind is to Worship Him. Islam recognizes that humankind has free choice in whether to obey or disobey God, but ultimately we will be held accountable to God in the next life for the choices that we make in this life.

Islam is a natural way of life that encourages one to give due attention to their relationship with God and His creation. Islam teaches that it is through the doing of good deeds and seeking the pleasure of God that souls find true happiness and peace. It is in this context that the word Islam derives from the root word “salam” or peace.