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The Five Pillars of Islam

In Islam, there are five basic acts of worship that must be performed during one’s lifetime. 

1) Shahadah – Testifying Faith
This statement is a declaration of faith that is spoken in Arabic and is a key part of a Muslim’s beliefs, declaring only Allah (swt) is God and that Muhammad (PBUH) is his messenger.

2) Salat - Five Daily Prayers
These prayers are performed before dawn, noon, afternoon, after-sunset, and night while facing the Ka’bah (Most Sacred Mosque) in Mecca. These prayers require a washing before each called Wudu (means purification in Arabic).

3) Zakat – Giving Money to Poor and Giving Charity
2.5% of one’s wealth must be donated to those in need such as the poor and orphans. It is considered a personal responsibility and if the person does not have the money to give they must make it up in doing good deeds.

4) Sawm – Fasting
Muslims fast so they can become more thankful for what they have in life; Muslims also learn to be steadfast and patient in their endeavors and mindful of their actions. Fasting during the month of Ramadan includes refraining from any food or drink. This teaches Muslims self-discipline. It is also intended to make Muslims feel closer to Allah (swt) so that he may forgive their sins, thus purifying themselves. At the end of Ramadan, the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr is observed, where Muslims perform a special morning prayer followed by afternoon and evening celebrations with family and friends. Eid is a reflective, thankful, and joyous time and lasts for a few days in Muslim countries.

5) Hajj – Pilgrimage to Mecca
Pilgrimage to Mecca during the Islamic Lunar Month Dhul-Hijjah is the fifth pillar and it entails utmost physical and spiritual devotion. A few rituals that a pilgrim must engage in are performing multiple walks around the Ka’bah, traveling in between two mountains and symbolic stoning of the devil.