ISLAM 101: A Simple Web Guide to Islam

   

Main Practices


In Islam there are five pillars of practice, often called the 'Five Pillars of Islam':


1. Profession of Faith (Shahada): The verbal commitment and pledge that there is only One God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.


2. Prayers (Salat): Muslims pray five times a day. before dawn, mid-day, afternoon, after sunset and night . facing toward the Kaaba, considered the House of God, in the Great Mosque in Mecca. They may pray wherever they are when prayer-time arrives, in any clean place, preferably in the company of other Muslims. On Fridays in the afternoon, Muslims are encouraged to pray as a gathered community in congregational mosques and listen to a sermon in their local language. There is a sequence of physical postures for the ritual prayer, and the prayers are said in the language of their revelation, Arabic. The performance of the five daily prayers is required of all Muslims who are able.


3. Charity (Zakat): This is an annual payment of a certain percentage of a Muslim's wealth which is distributed among the poor. A fixed proportion of a Muslim.s net worth . not just his or her income . is prescribed as a donation for the welfare of the community, whether that community is made up of Muslims, non-Muslims or both.


4. Fasting (Sawm): Every day from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual contact; even more than at other times they must also avoid cursing, lying, cheating and otherwise abusing or harming others. Fasting is total abstinence from food, drink, and unlawful actions from dawn to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan.


5. Pilgrimage (Hajj): The journey to Mecca is obligatory for every able bodied Muslim who can afford to make it. Pilgrimage need be made only once in a lifetime, but it can be made several times if a Muslim wishes. At Hajj every pilgrim carries out specified rituals at specific times. At any other time of year, Muslims can perform similar prayers and rituals and thus complete a .lesser pilgrimage.. The performance of pilgrimage to Mecca is required once in a life time if means are available. Hajj is in part in memory of the trials and tribulations of Prophet Abraham, his wife Hagar and his eldest son Prophet Ishmael.

 
   
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