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Commitments of Islam

19th April, 2018

In Islam, there are five important foundations that construct the duties upon all able Muslims to follow; these are commonly known as the Five Pillars of Islam.

five-pillars-islamThe Five Pillars of Islam are as follows:

  • Shahadah
  • Salah
  • Zakat
  • Sawm
  • Hajj

First Pillar

Shahadah means to publicly declare one’s belief, faith and submission to Allah SWT. To undertake shahadah means you are sincerely committing to Islam and any duties that are obligatory upon you, and understanding and proclaiming that there is no God but Allah SWT. Shahadah is the very first act of becoming or recognising that you are Muslim. You also accept the Holy Qur’an as your book of guidance and pledge to abide by it.

Second Pillar

Salah is the offering of the daily prayer. The daily prayer is an act of worship towards the Almighty Allah SWT and takes precedence over all other daily matters. There are five daily prayers over the course of each day. These prayers are as follows:

  • Salatul Fajr – 2 rakaats
  • Salatul Zohr – 4 rakaats
  • Salaatul Asr – 4 rakaats
  • Salatul Maghrib – 3 rakaats
  • Salatul Isha – 4 rakaats

These are the fard (compulsory) rakaats for each prayer, a rakaat in its simplest terms being a unit of prayer. Each prayer also has additional rakaats based upon the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah Be Upon Him).

The prayers are offered at particular times over the course of the day, ranging from sunrise all the way up until midnight. Of course, these are just the obligatory prayers upon a Muslim; there are many voluntary prayers and acts of worship that a Muslim can carry out at his or her own will.

Third Pillar

The notion of zakat is to give to charity. Although charity is highly encouraged in Islam, there are some points during the Islamic calendar in particular where giving to charity is more richly rewarded – such as throughout the Holy month of Ramadan.

Zakat, however, is an obligation upon all Muslims and involves contributing a fixed percentage of your profitable wealth to people in need. Profitable wealth is defined as any cash, savings, gold, silver, rentable property, shares, pension funds and investments. The principle of giving zakat is to purify one’s own wealth whilst also recognising that our wealth is God-given and not entirely ours. Giving to those in need also helps to balance out economic growth, stimulating equality and ensuring adequate distribution as a result. If you are unsure of how to calculate your zakat, you can use our handy zakat calculator.

Fourth Pillar

Sawm, also known as fasting, occurs during the Holy month of Ramadan and is the act of abstaining from many things during the hours between sunrise and sunset. These acts include eating, drinking, swearing, any sexual activity, any impure thoughts, any gossip, evil acts, evil thoughts, anger, envy and violence. The month of Ramadan is an encouraging reminder of the basic principles we should be adopting in our daily lives in the first place, disciplining us and serving as a reminder to remain humble in all that we do. Fasting is also an act which brings us closer to Allah SWT.

Fifth Pillar

Hajj is a pilgrimage which all able Muslims are required to perform at least once in their lifetime. The annual pilgrimage takes place in Mecca, which is where the Holy Ka’aba is based. Various rituals and prayers make up the pilgrimage of Hajj over a number of days and it is performed during the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, which occurs just before Qurbani. One of the practices of performing Hajj is the wearing of the ihram, which is plain white clothing. This is significant because in the eyes of Allah SWT we are all equal; we all came from Allah SWT with nothing and with nothing shall we all return to Allah SWT.

This is one of the reasons why sharing wealth is so important in Islam; to encourage equality, care and compassion amongst all individuals – regardless of race, colour, gender or belief. Whether you decide to give to charity today, tomorrow or donate your zakat during Ramadan, it is our duty to help those in need as much as we can. Donate to someone in need today with Islamic Help.