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5 Pillars of Islam | Why every Muslim must follow these pillars?

The 5 pillars of Islam are key practices that a Muslim is obligated to fulfil throughout their lifetime. Islam has told its followers about certain obligatory acts that are important. These acts are basis of teachings of Islam and are way of life. These obligatory acts require the involvement of aspects of man’s nature.

These obligatory acts are known as 5 pillars of Islam. The total involvement of Muslims in these five pillars make them unique. Every Muslim must follow these pillars to gain rewards and to fulfil Allah’s will.

What are the 5 pillars of Islam?

The 5 pillars of Islam are practices that every Muslim is obliged to follow. These 5 pillars of Islam are connected.
The 5 pillars of Islam are as follow:

1- shahadah
2- Salat (Namaz)
3- Zakat
4- Fasting
5- Hajj

1st Pillar of Islam Shahadah

Shahada is the most important and the foremost among the 5 pillars of Islam.

اَﺷْﻬَﺪُ اَﻥْ ﻵَّ اِﻟٰﻪَ اِﻻَّ اﻟﻠّٰﻪُ ﻭَﺣْﺪَﻩٗ ﻻَ ﺷَﺮِﻳْﻚَ ﻟَﻪٗ ﻭَاَﺷْﻬَﺪُ اَﻥَّ ﻣُﺤَﻤَّﺪًا ﻋَﺒْﺪُﻩٗ ﻭَﺭَﺳُﻮْﻟُﻪٗ

Translation: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, who is one, who has no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is his servant and messenger.”

What is shahadah?

Shahadah is the belief in the uniqueness of Allah. it is the declaration of faith that Allah is the only god and Muhammad (S.A.W.W) is his last messenger. This declaration is the foundation of Islam. The expression of this belief differentiates between a Muslim and a non-Muslim or an atheist.

The first part of shahadah: says that Allah is the one and only god. It tells about the oneness and uniqueness of Allah. It also signifies the oneness of lordship and authority in this world. Allah is the only creator. Allah is accountable to no one, and he controls all things. Following Quranic Ayat talks about the uniqueness of Allah:

Ayat 36 of Surah An-Nisa says:

“Serve Allah and join not any partners with Him.”

The following verses of Surah Ikhlas perfectly claim the unity of Allah;

Say, ˹O Prophet, ˺ “He is Allah—One ˹and Indivisible˺;
Allah—the Sustainer ˹needed by all˺.
He has never had offspring, nor was He born.
And there is none comparable to Him.”

The second part of shahadah: conveys the message that Muhammad (S.A.W.W) is Allah’s Prophet. After Admitting Allah is the only creator, a Muslim must understand Allah’s sayings and commands. To make people understand his message, Allah sent Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.W) as his messenger.

The second part of the shahadah encourages people to follow the path of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W). He led his life in the light of the commandments of Allah. He showed people an example of how to live according to the commandments of Allah. Therefore, he is a role model for every Muslim.

Salat is the 2nd Pillar of Islam

Salat is on the second number on the list of 5 pillars of Islam and it is the chief of all the pillars. It is the foremost duty of the Muslims to offer prayers five times a day. It differentiates between a Muslim and a non-Muslim.

أَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِدُلُوكِ ٱلشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ ٱلَّيْلِ وَقُرْءَانَ ٱلْفَجْرِ ۖ إِنَّ قُرْءَانَ ٱلْفَجْرِ كَانمَشْهُودًۭا
وَمِنَ ٱلَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِۦ نَافِلَةًۭ لَّكَ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًۭا مَّحْمُودًۭا

Translation: “Observe the prayer from the decline of the sun until the darkness of the night and the dawn prayer, for certainly the dawn prayer is witnessed ˹by angels˺. And rise at ˹the last˺ part of the night, offering additional prayers, so your Lord may raise you to a station of praise”.

Prayer consists of recitations of the Holy Quran accompanied by various body postures such as standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting. The Muslim expresses submission and humility to Allah through these postures.

The Holy Prophet asked his followers to observe prayers in a way that they are standing in front of Allah.

“You should worship Allah as if you see Him; if you do not see Him. He surely sees you.”

It is compulsory to observe prayers five times a day. Prayer is referred to as sustenance for the human soul in the Holy Quran. Prayer protects a person from doing any sins and bad deeds. It connects a person to Allah. The Quranic verses says;

“Establish regular prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds.”

This verse says that the person is in divine protection from shameful deeds if he or she prays. Therefore, the observance of prayer should be mandatory.

Zakat is the 3rd Pillar of Islam

Zakat is the third Pillar of Islam on which the whole Islam structure depends. In simple Zakat means a small portion of a wealth of a person is given to the poor. It is the wealth taken from the rich person and given to the poor person.

Every Muslim is required to give part of their income to help those in need. The word zakat comes from the word “Zaka” which means “to increase”. The giving of wealth is a purification.

Zakat is 2.5 % of a person’s savings. Regular zakat payment is the sign of a true believer. The word zakat is used 82 times in the Holy Quran.

Benefits of Zakat:

1- Zakat purifies wealth and increases (grows) money. When you give, your money will increase and not decrease.
2- Zakat is a medication for the disease. As it purifies wealth, it is a source of health improvement.
3- Zakat is a proof of Iman.
4- Zakat protects from hell.

Who is permitted to accept zakat?

Zakat can be given to the following people:

1- Poor and needy people.
2- Slaves (to free slaves).
3- Those people who are stuck in debt.
4- Travelers.
5- Refugees.
6- The ones who are officially given the responsibility of collecting zakat money.

Quranic verse about Zakat:

“You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat). Any good you send forth on behalf of your souls, you will find it at Allah. Allah is seer of everything you do”. (2:110)

Fasting is the 4th Pillar of Islam

The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting during Ramzan Arabic word for fasting is swam. Muslims over the age of puberty must have a stain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

The purpose is spiritual purification, the gesture of compassion to those suffering hunger while attaining spiritual growth. In 2 A.H., Fasting was made obligatory. Fasting is done in the month of Ramzan. Ramzan is the month in which Hazrat Jibrail bought the first revelation to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).

The Quran says About Fasting:

“Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So, whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramadan˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful”.

Fasting is obligatory therefore every Muslim who reaches puberty must keep fast on all 30 days of Ramzan. But there is an ease that if someone is not well or if someone is on a journey they can keep fast after Ramzan to complete their fast.

Ramdan is the month of blessings, in this month evil is suppressed. It has been said to pray a lot this month. Along with regular prayers, Muslims also offer Tarawih prayers. Tarawih is offered during Ramzan nights after Esha prayers. These prayers are not obligatory, but they are sunnah Muakkadah.

Special blessings to those who recite Quran in this blessed month. After completion of 30 fast, Eid ul Fitr is observed.

Conditions of Fasting:

The meaning of fasting according to shariah is it is abstinence from food, drink, marital relations, and bad deeds. It is necessary to do Niyat (intention) of fasting while keeping fast. Because if someone will fast without doing Niyat, that fast will not be accepted.

Fasting is mandatory for all but there are some conditions in which fasting is not obligatory.

1- If women are in menstruation period or during childbirth, they cannot fast. But women must complete their fast as the condition lasts.
2- Another condition is health. If someone is not in the physical state of fasting, then they can postpone their fast. Women during their pregnancy can skip fasting. In these conditions, it is required to complete fast after Ramzan before the start of the next Ramzan.
3- Furthermore, people who are traveling can also postpone their fasts. There is a condition for old age people as well. If someone is old and is very weak to keep fast, then they can also skip their fasts. But in this case, they must feed a poor person two times a day on which fast is skipped. Or else they can give grain or money which equals Sadaqah-e-Fitr.

Hajj is the 5th Pillar of Islam

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam among the 5 pillars of Islam. So, Hajj also known as pilgrimage is the journey to the holy site ka’abah in Makkah. Hajj is obligatory for Muslims if they have money and are physically and mentally healthy to travel. Hajj is performed during the 12th month of the Islamic calendar which is Dhu’l Hajj”.

At the end of the Hajj, Eid ul Adha Is observed. On the first, second, and third of Eid, sacrifice is done. The sacrifice of animals is offered in memory of the historic event of Hazrat Ibrahim. The one who performs hajj is a pilgrim.

The Quran says about Hajj:

Indeed, ˹the hills of˺ Safa and Marwah1 are among the symbols of Allah. So, whoever performs the pilgrimage or minor pilgrimage,2 let them walk between ˹the two hills˺. And whoever does good willingly, Allah is truly Appreciative, All-Knowing’. (Al-Baqarah Ayat 158)”.
“Pilgrimage thereto is duty men owe to Allah-those who can afford the journey”.

The obligatory acts of hajj:

1- Putting on the ihram.
2- Making Niyat of hajj.
3- Wuquf e Arafat. This means staying in the plain of Arafat on 9 Dhu’l Hajj.
4- Tawaf e ziyarat on 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhu’l Hajj. This should be performed after shaving the head or shortening the hair.

Wajibat of Hajj:

The 6 Wajibat acts of Hajj are as follows;

1- Stay at Muzdalifah.
2- Sayi between Safa and Marwah:
3- Stoning the devil:
4- Sacrifice:
5- Shaving of the head.
6- Tawaf-e-Wida

Sunnats of Hajj:

1- Tawaf-e-Qudum.
2- Leaving mina after sunrise on the 9th Dhu’l Hajj for Arafat.
3- Leaving Arafat.
4- Staying the night at Muzdalifah on the return from Arafat.
5- Taking bath in Arafat.

Importance of 5 pillars of Islam

The importance of 5 pillars of Islam is as follow;

1- These 5 pillars of Islam are the basis of virtuous worldly life.
2- The purpose is to strengthen the Muslim faith.
3- These pillars are a complete expression of man’s submission to Allah’s will.
4- These pillars strengthen Islam.
5- All these 5 pillars of Islam have unique importance and benefits for Muslims.
6- Salah protects people from bad deeds, takes away all their worries therefore person lives a peaceful life.
7- Zakat purifies wealth of a person and grows money.
8- Fasting improves health of the one who fasts.

Why Muslims follow 5 pillars of Islam?

Muslims follow 5 pillars of Islam due to these reasons;

1- Muslims follow these 5 pillars to show their submission to Allah’s will.
2- These pillars are made obligatory; therefore, every Muslim man and woman must follow.
3- Allah has kept rewards for the ones who follow 5 pillars of Islam. Similarly, there is high punishment for the ones who does not follow.
4- To be a good Muslim, it is important to listen to Allah’s command and follow pillars of Islam.

Hadith about 5 pillars of Islam

Prayer was dearest to the Prophet because the objective of prayer is to remember Allah. The Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said about prayers: “Prayer has been made a coolness for my eyes.”

The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) has emphasized the importance of prayers. He said:
“The first thing which a person shall be called to account for on the day of judgment is Salat.” This hadith tells that the one who won’t pray will bear the consequences on the day of judgment.

The Holy Prophet said about zakat;
“It (zakat) should be collected from the well-to-do and distributed to the poor.”

In Other hadiths about 5 Pillars of Islam The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:
“When the month of Ramzan comes, the doors of Heavens are opened, and the doors of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained.”
“Hajj which is free from sins and defects is rewarded with paradise”.

5 pillars of Islam Conclusion

In this article, the 5 pillars of Islam are discussed. These 5 pillars of Islam include shahada, prayers (Salah), zakat, fasting, and hajj. Shahada is considered the most important pillar It is base of all the pillars as it is the belief in the oneness of Allah.

People only proceed to other pillars if they follow the first pillar. Salah or prayer is the second out of 5 pillars of Islam. Muslims pray five times a day facing Kaabah with proper wuzu. The third pillar which is zakat is obligatory for every well-to-do person. The percentage of zakat obligatory to give is 2.5%. Quran has commanded us to give zakat more than 70 times.

Salah and zakat are paired together. Fasting is the fourth pillar. Muslims keep fast (swam) during the month of Ramzan. Fasting is obligatory for every Muslim man and woman after the age of puberty. Certain conditions are defined by which Muslims can postpone the fasts. Hajj is the last pillar of Islam. It is the journey to Makkah. If a person is physically in the state to travel and has the wealth to afford the expenses, then he must perform hajj at least once in his lifetime.

5 pillars of Islam FAQS

Q1. What are 5 Pillars of Islam?

The 5 pillars of Islam are practices that every Muslim is obliged to follow. These 5 pillars of Islam are 1-Shahadah, 2- Salat, 3- Zakat, 4- Fasting, 5- Hajj.

Q2. Which is the chief pillar of Islam?

The chief pillar of Islam is salat.

Q3.Which is the final pillar among the 5 pillars of Islam?

The final pillar of Islam is the pilgrimage to Makkah.

Q4. What is the amount of zakat?

The amount of zakat is 2.5% of the total savings of a person.

Q5. What is tarawih?

Tarawih are special prayers performed on the nights of Ramazan month. These prayers are Sunnat for both men and women. There are 20 Rakat of Tarawih prayers.

Q6. What is Safa and Marwah?

Safa and Marwah are the two mountains in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The distance between these two mountains is 450 meters. Sayi commenced from Safa and ends at Marwah.

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