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Islam at a Glance
By Suhel Farooq Khan
What are the Five Pillars of Islam?

Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had said that Islam is based on five principles. Those five principles are usually referred to as the Five Pillars of Islam, and are the five basic obligations required of Muslims:

  1. Declaration of Faith (Shahadah)
    To testify that there is no one worthy of worship except God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.  
    Firmly believing in the Oneness of God, and believing in Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as His final Messenger is the first requirement of Islam.
  1. Offering Prayers (Salah)
    To offer (the compulsory congregational) prayers five times a day (dutifully and perfectly at their specified times). There are no exemptions.
  1. Paying Charity (Zakah)
    Sharing one’s wealth with the poor and the needy every year.
  1. Observing Fasts (Sawm)
    Abstinence from eating, drinking and having sex with one’s spouse from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan every year.
    Sick people, old persons, travelers, menstruating women, nursing mothers or pregnant ladies can postpone their fasts during Ramadan but must compensate for the missed fasts as soon as possible.
  1. Undertaking pilgrimage to the Ka’bah (Hajj)
    Visiting the Ka’bah at least once in one’s lifetime if one can withstand the rigors of the journey and can afford the expenses involved.
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