The pillars of Islam are the most popular and essential deeds in Islam. In this article, we will briefly discuss the five pillars of Islam and highlight their meanings and essence. We will further clarify their importance and the purpose behind them.
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Introduction | What Do The 5 Pillars Of Islam Mean?
The five pillars of Islam are the basic fundamentals and essentials of the Islamic religion. The word ‘pillar’ denotes the importance of these fundamentals as it describes Islam as a great building that cannot stand except by establishing these five pillars and committing to them.
Actually, leaving away any of these fundamental pillars negatively affects one’s Islam in a way that may lead to disbelief or kufr in some cases.
Although These five pillars are the basic foundations of Islam, they are not all the Islamic teachings. In fact, other Islamic teachings such as good morality, being good to one’s parents..etc. are considered the building blocks that uniform and further beautify the Islamic building.
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What Are The Five Pillars Of Islam In Order?
The five pillars of Islam are simple and easy. They are listed below in order:
- First: Saying Shahadah
- Second: Establishing Salah (prayer)
- Third: Giving Zakat (charity)
- Fourth: Sawm (fasting) Ramadan
- Fifth: Hajj (pilgrimage)
The First Pillar Of Islam – Saying Shahadah In Arabic and In English
Saying Shahadah is the first and the most important aspect of the five pillars and Islam as a whole. Shahadah is an Arabic word that literally means testimony.
In Islam, Shahadah is a clear testimony of pure monotheism and belief in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as Allah’s final messenger. It says: “ Ashadu an la ilaha illa illa-ilah, wa ashadu anna muhammadan rasul ullah.”
This means “I bear witness there is no God worthy of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger.”
The Second Pillar Of Islam – Establishing Salah
Establishing prayer is the most important deed in Islam after the declaration of faith. Salah literally means connection, which denotes establishing a permanent, everyday connection between you and Allah (SWT).
The fard (obligatory) salah are five daily prayers during the day and night. However, one may increase by praying Nawafil (Sunnah prayers) as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did.
The essential five daily prayers are Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Ishaa.
The Third Pillar Of Islam – Giving Zakat
Giving Zakat or charity is the third pillar of Islam. It is an Arabic word that means ‘increase’ and ‘purification’. This signifies the true essence of Zakat in Islam as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
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“The wealth of a man will not diminish by Sadaqah (charity)”(Riyad as-Salihin 556)
Allah (SWT) said:
“Take from their wealth ˹O Prophet˺ charity to purify and bless them”(Quran 9:103)
Zakat is considered the poor’s right in our money. However, Zakat has several conditions to be obligatory on a Muslim:
- A Muslim should have a great extra amount of money (identified by Nisaab).
- This money should remain extra for at least one year.
- Zakat is only 2.5% of this money.
The Fourth Pillar Of Islam – Sawm Ramadan
Sawm Ramadan is the fasting of the lunar month of Ramadan in each Hijri year. This fasting requires abstaining from food, drink, sexual intercourse, and immoral speech or deeds from the time of Fajr till sunset (Maghrib).
Allah (SWT) has made permission for some people to not fast during Ramadan and make up for their non-fasting days afterward. These people are menstruating women, postpartum women, ill or sick people, people on travel, and those who could be greatly harmed by fasting.
The Fifth Pillar Of Islam – Performing Hajj (pilgrimage)
Hajj is heading for the sacred mosque in Makkah during the last lunar month (Dhul-Hijja) to perform the pilgrimage. Actually, Hajj is obligatory once in a lifetime for people who have the financial and physical ability for it.
Where Did The 5 Pillars Of Islam Come From?
The five pillars of Islam were described in the Islamic texts; the Quran and Sunnah. They were collected in a long hadith in Sunnah where the angel Jibril descended in the form of a human being and began asking the prophet (PBUH) about Islam, Iman, and Ihsan.
(Sunan an-Nasa’i 4990)
Are The 5 Pillars Of Islam In The Quran?
Yes, the five pillars of Islam are mentioned in Quran. However, Sunnah clarified them, taught their details, and collected them in one hadith.
Allah (SWT) said regarding Shahadah:
“Allah! There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him”(Quran 2:255)
He also said about Salah:
“..establish regular prayers. Indeed, performing prayers is a duty on the believers at the appointed times.”(Quran 4:103)
And Concerning Zakat:
“And establish prayer and give zakāh”(Quran 24:56)
Allah (SWT) talked about Sawm Ramadan saying:
“O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you1—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah”(Quran 2:183)
And finally, regarding Hajj, Allah (SWT) said:
“Pilgrimage to this House is an obligation by Allah upon whoever is able among the people” (Quran 3:97)
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When Were The 5 Pillars Of Islam Created?
The five pillars of Islam were created as long as the revelation from Allah (SWT) occurred. During the revelation of the Quran and the Sunnah, Allah (SWT) has taught us Shahada, Salah, Zakah, Sawm, and Hajj through his Prophet in a gradual manner.
The Importance Of Pillars Of Islam – What Is The Purpose Of The 5 Pillars Of Islam?
The five pillars of Islam are meant to establish a Muslim’s proper identity and faith. It enhances one’s relationship with Allah and the surrounding people as well.
Shahadah keeps Muslims aware of their true faith in Allah. It negates any kind of worship of false Gods and confirms it to Allah (SWT). It also acknowledges the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a final messenger which acknowledges previous messengers and revelations.
Salah is a means of connection between you and your Lord. It takes you away from Dunia for several minutes to stand in a conversation between you and Allah where you leave behind all that concerns or irritates you.
Zakah is the increase and purification of one’s money. It is also a means of Social solidarity where the rich gives the poor and no one suffers in the Islamic community.
Fasting during Ramadan is actually a means of self-control and piety. Where a Muslim leaves his normal desires for the sake of Allah as only He is his watcher.
Performing Hajj unifies Muslims no matter their ethnicity, nationality, or color. It is the greatest people gathering in which all are wearing the same clothes, eating the same food, living in the same place, and seeking Allah’s forgiveness and mercy.
Conclusion | What Are The Five Pillars Of Islam and What Do They Mean?
The five pillars of Islam are the basic foundations of the Muslim religion. They are the most essential deeds a Muslim should do either every day, once a year, or even once a lifetime!
These five pillars are Shahadah, Salah, Zakah, Sawm Ramadan, and Hajj. They are beautiful deeds that keep one connected to Allah, other Muslims, and the whole Islamic community all over the world.
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