The Five Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam

"The five pillars of Islam" is a name used to signify the five duties, or five central practices of Islam. These are:

  • The profession of faith (shahada), which in English may be translated as: "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah";
  • Prayer (salah), which is to be conducted five times daily (at dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall) and can last up to a half an hour; during prayer, shops and restaurants close;
  • Almsgiving (zakat);
  • Fasting (syam), which is to be performed by healthy adults, from dawn to dusk, during the holy month of Ramadan (some people are exempted, e.g., pregnant women);
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj), which must be done once by those who are fit enough, and financially able, to perform it.

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