Pillars of the Islamic Religion


The Pillars of Faith in Islam are five basic duties for all Muslims, men and women.


They are:


The Profession of Faith or "Shahada": it is the certification of the belief in Allah, the Only God, and that prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is His Messenger. It has to be pronounced every time somebody intends to embrace the Islamic faith. For those who profess the religion due to family tradition it is implicit in their religious practices. Also it is repeated as integrant part of the five daily prayers that all Muslims must perform and must be formulated in the following way: "I testify that does not exist another deity except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger", preferentially in Arabic. 

The Daily Prayers: they are in five and must be preceded of a ritual of hygiene called ablution. They are obligatory for all Muslims that reach puberty. 

The Payment of "Zakat":: "Zakat" is a tax charged over all Muslim who possess goods from a taxable value on.  It is an obligation of the individual towards the society and its application is essentially social, not being valid a Muslim to pay it to his/her relatives or to those whose sustenance is of his/her responsibility, and has to be distributed preferentially in the locality where it was collected.  Its distribution follows a previously defined scale of priorities, and the responsibility of collecting it belongs to the Islamic government or a representative entity of the Islamic community. In case of Muslims living in countries that do not possess an organized community, it can be directly paid to those that are included in the list of beneficiaries. 

The Fasting of Ramadan: the Islamic calendar is lunar and because of that its festivities are not restricted to one defined season of the year. This fasting consists of the abstinence, for the period of one lunar month, of food, drink and sexual relations from dawn till sunset as long as its observance does not cause damages to the health of the fasting person. 

The "Hajj" or Peregrination: is a duty to visit Makkah, a city in Saudi Arabia where the Kaabah is located, regarded by Muslims as the place where Abraham (as) reconstructed the first temple to worship the Only God, initially constructed for the first man, Adam. It is essential that the one who intends to make the visitation is physically and financially able to do so. Those who can’t fulfill these two requirements are excused of this obligation, being forbidden to a Muslim to sacrifice the well being of his/her family to carry out the visitation.


Text by Maria C.  Moreira & Marcia Vianna Gaspar.


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