The Five Pillars of Islam

The Muslim worldview is structured around the Five Pillars of Islam:

1. Shahada, or Confession of Faith: Recitation of formula There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet. Declaring this before two witnesses is considered to make one a Muslim.

2. Salat:This ritual prayer is performed five times a day facing Mecca.

3. Zakat:A tithe on property and income that's used to benefit the poor and needy. Islamic Shariah law specifies the formula for determining amounts for zakat, which is dinstinct from voluntary alms.

4. The Fast of Ramadan:During the month of Ramadan, Muslims must not eat, drink, have sex, or smoke tobacco from sunrise to sunset. Preganant women, young children, and certain others aren't required to fast. (Because this fast doesn't apply during the night, people normally eat before sleeping and rise early to eat again before sunrise. Sometimes people will actually gain weight during Ramadan!)

5. Pilgrimage to Mecca: Hajj to Mecca is considered the sacred duty of a Muslim to be performed at least once in a lifetime, if at all possible.

Sometimes a sixth pillar ...that of jihad...is sometimes added.


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