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Five Pillars of Islam


The Five Pillars of Islam (arkān al-Islām أركان الإسلام; also arkān al-dīn أركان الدين "pillars of the religion") are five basic acts in Islam, considered mandatory by believers and are the foundation of Muslim life. They are summarized in the famous hadith of Gabriel.

The Shia and Sunni both agree on the essential details for the performance and practice of these acts, but the Shia do not refer to them by the same name (see Ancillaries of the Faith, for the Twelvers, and Seven pillars of Ismailism). They make up Muslim life, prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification and the pilgrimage, if one is able.

Shahada is a declaration of faith and trust that professes that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is God's messenger. It is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāhu muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh (لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله) "There is no god but God (and) Muhammad is the messenger of God." It is essential to utter it to become a Muslim and to convert to Islam.

Salat (ṣalāh) is the Islamic prayer. Salat consists of five daily prayers according to the Sunna; the names are according to the prayer times: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), ʿAṣr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening), and ʿIshāʾ (night). The Fajr prayer is performed before sunrise, Dhuhr is performed in the midday after the sun has surpassed its highest point, Asr is the evening prayer before sunset, Maghrib is the evening prayer after sunset and Isha is the night prayer. All of these prayers are recited while facing in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and forms an important aspect of the Muslim Ummah. Muslims must wash before prayer; this washing is called wudu ("purification"). The prayer is accompanied by a series of set positions including; bowing with hands on knees, standing, prostrating and sitting in a special position (not on the heels, nor on the buttocks). A Muslim may perform their prayer anywhere, such as in offices, universities, and fields. However, the mosque is the more preferable place for prayers because the mosque allows for fellowship.



  • Walayah (lit. "Guardianship") denotes love and devotion to God, the prophets, the Imamah and the duʻāt ("missionaries").
  • Tawhid, "Oneness of God".
  • Salat: Unlike Sunni and Twelver Muslims, Nizari Ismailis reason that it is up to the current imām to designate the style and form of prayer.
  • Zakāt: with the exception of the Druze, all Ismaili madh'hab have practices resembling that of Sunni and Twelver Muslims with the addition of the characteristic Shia khums.
  • Sawm: Nizari and Mustaali believe in both a metaphorical and literal meaning of fasting.
  • Hajj: For Ismailis, this means visiting the imām or his representative and that this is the greatest and most spiritual of all pilgrimages. The Mustaali maintain also the practice of going to Mecca. The Druze interpret this completely metaphorically as "fleeing from devils and oppressors" and rarely go to Mecca.
  • Jihad or "Struggle": "the Greater Struggle" and the "The Lesser Struggle".
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  • Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. & Lawrence Davidson (2005). A Concise History of the Middle East (8th ed.). Westview Press. ISBN . 
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