The Five Pillars of Islam
The Islam religion is laid out into five distinctive “Pillars”, a framework for its followers to build their faith and lifestyle upon.
The first pillar could be considered the first step in following the Islamic faith. “Shahadah” is the personal profession of faith, where an individual professes complete acceptance in the belief that there is only one God, and that Muhammad was the messenger of this God.
Secondly, the most holy and visible of the pillars is that of “Salah”, the five daily prayers observed by every follower. These occur at dawn, noon, midafternoon, sunset and evening. Although these can and are observed anywhere from work to school, it is encouraged to observe them in the mosque. These prayers are performed on ones knees, with their faces pointed toward the Kaaba in Mecca. The prayers are offered in Arabic and are passages from the Qur’an, although personal supplications are accepted in any language.
“Zahat”, the third pillar, is a follower’s obligation to share a portion of their personal net worth (2.5%) with their community. It is most respected if this gift is aimed toward the less fortunate and poor of their community.
“Sahn” refers to the fasting and praying period in the season of “Ramadan”, the observation of Muhammad’s journey to Mecca. A period of personal denial of food, drink and pleasure (to show a total devotion and focus on God) is followed by three days of celebration called Eid Al Fitr. There is feasting, celebrating, joyfulness in the streets, and it is customary for children receive gifts and new clothes.
The fifth and final pillar is called Hajj, and it is a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy city. The journey is made up of several successions of trips between holy landmarks, marked by ritualistic touching of the black stone and sacrifice. Followers