"Islam has been built upon five things - on testifying that there is no god save Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger; on performing salah; on giving the zakah; on Hajj to the House; and on fasting during Ramadhan."

(saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, recorded in the books Bukhari and Muslim)

The Five Pillars of Islam

1) Shahada (Testimony Of Faith)

 This is the first 'pillar' of Islam. To be Muslim you must declare the testimony below. Saying the Shahadah also involves believing in the articles of faith (see Beliefs in Islam)

Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh.

(I testify there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah, and I testify Muhammad is His slave and messenger. )

2) Salat (Prayer)

 All Muslims must pray 5 times a day, at certain times. Allah says in the Qur'an ''Verily, As-Sal√Ęt (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours. (4:103) "I am God; there is no god but Me. So worship Me and keep up the prayer so that you remember Me." (20:14) Men are encouraged to pray in congregation in the mosque. It was narrated by a companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) named Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "If the people knew the Reward for the Zuhr prayer in its early time, they would race for it. If they knew the reward for the 'Isha' and the Fajr prayers in congregation, they would join them even if they had to crawl. If they knew the reward for the first row, they would draw lots for it." (Bukhari)

Times of the prayers

* Fajr (between first light and sunrise)

* Zuhr (after the sun has passed the middle of the sky, until mid afternoon)

* Asr (between mid afternoon and sunset)

* Maghrib (between sunset and last light of day)

* Isha (evening or night until the first light) (for prayer times in your area see

The Adhan (call to prayer)

 The words of the adhan that are called from the mosque, instructing people to come and pray, are as follows:

''Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar'' (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.)

''Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.'' (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.)

''Ash-hadu an-laa ilaaha ill-Allah.'' (I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah.)

''Ash-hadu an-laa ilaaha ill-Allah.'' (I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah.)

''Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar-Rasulullah.'' (I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah)

''Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar-Rasulullah.'' (I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah)

''Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah, hayya ‘ala-s-Salah.'' (Hasten to the Prayer, hasten to the Prayer.)

''Hayya ‘ala-l-falah, hayya ‘ala-l-falah.'' (Hasten to real success, hasten to real success)

''Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.'' (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.)

''Laa-Ilaaha Ill'Allah.''' (There is none worthy of worship except Allah)

3) Zakat (Almsgiving)

 Muslims with savings or assets over a certain amount must give zakat money once a year. Allah s.w.t says in the Qur'an: ''Believe in Allah and His Messenger and spend of that over which He has made you trustees.'' (Qur'an 57:7) "Alms are meant only for the poor, the needy, those who administer them, those whose hearts need winning over, to free slaves and to help those in debt, for God's cause, and for travellers in need. This is ordained by God; God is all knowing and wise. (Qur'an 9:60)

4) Sawm (Fasting)

 Muslims must fast from sunrise to sunset every day during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a holy month in Islam, it was the month that the Qur'an was first revealed in. Allah says: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may gain piety. (Fast) for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (i.e. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a poor person (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know." ( Qur'an 2:183-84)

5) Hajj (Pilgrimage)

 Muslims must go to Mecca in Saudi Arabia once in their lifetime if they are able to. "And proclaim that the people shall observe Hajj pilgrimage. They will come to you walking or riding on various exhausted (means of transportation). They will come from the farthest locations." (Qur'an 22:27-28) ''Hajj shall be observed in the specified months. Whoever sets out to observe Hajj shall refrain from sexual intercourse, misconduct, and arguments throughout Hajj. Whatever good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof. As you prepare your provisions for the journey, the best provision is righteousness. You shall observe Me, O you who possess intelligence.'' (2:197)

An Important Saying Of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

 On the authority of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased wih him), who said:

"While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), there appeared before us a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him, and none of us knew him. He sat down close by the Prophet (pbuh), rested his knee against his thighs, and said, O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam.''

 The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity save Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah (ritual prayer), pay the zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (the Ka'bah at Makkah), if you can find a way to it (or find the means for making the journey to it)."

 Said he (the man), "You have spoken truly." We were astonished at his thus questioning him and telling him that he was right, but he went on to say, "Inform me about iman (faith)." He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, "It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects." He said, "You have spoken truly."

 Then he (the man) said, "Inform me about Ihsan." He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, "It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet He sees you."
 He said, "Inform me about the Hour." He (the Messenger of Allah) said, "About that, the one questioned knows no more than the questioner." So he said, "Well, inform me about the signs thereof (i.e. of its coming)." Said he, "They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see the barefooted ones, the naked, the destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in raising lofty buildings."
 Thereupon the man went off. I waited a while, and then he (the Messenger of Allah) said, "O 'Umar, do you know who that questioner was?" I replied, "Allah and His Messenger know better." He said, "That was Jibril (Angel Gabriel). He came to teach you your religion." (Muslim)

 ''Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.''

(The Holy Qur'an, Al-Baqara, 2:1)