3 March 2004
Five Pillars of Islam
In order to follow the right path in the Islam religion its followers, Muslims, are required to practice its five pillars, or duties. Each of these duties is mentioned in the Quran; however, scholars have found a more detailed explanation in the Hadith. The five pillars are uttering the Shahada, prayer, zakat, participating in the fast, and a pilgrimage to Mecca.
The first of the five duties is uttering the Shahada, a phrase that declares the faith of the follower. The phrase is, "There is no god but God and Muhammad is His messenger." This phrase is used in the daily life of Islam's followers, because this phrase illustrates the central beliefs in the Islam faith.
The second ritual duty is prayer. Muslims are obligated to pray five times each day. The prayer sessions must take place at designated times of the day and following the proper procedures. These designated times are at dawn, midday, in the afternoon, during the evening, and at sunset. Before prayer begins Islam's followers must cleanse themselves both physically and mentally to achieve the purity required to engage in prayer. Prayer also must follow a cycle. Takbir is the first step in the cycle. This step is the opening sutra which means that the follower says, "Allahu akbar," which mean "God is great." At this point the worshiper will perform four postures, standing, bowing, postrating, and sitting. With each of these postures there is a set of utterances that go along with them. Prayer is a large part of a Muslim's daily activities, because they are required to pray so often and must follow the certain guide lines of prayer.
The zakat, or required almsgiving, is the third of Islam's duties. This duty means that Muslims must take care of one another. The church requires its followers whose earnings are more substantial than others to pay a certain amount to the church that will then disperse the...