The Religion of Islam is based upon Five Primary Foundations or Pillars. Just as a building would lack stability without the presence of strong pillars, a believer’s relationship with God would lack a focus and a strong connection without the observance of and adherence to these five basic Pillars.
These Five Pillars of Islam or religious duties are mandatory; every Muslim is expected to follow and enact them with utmost devotion. Failure to follow and enact any of these dictates can lead to the commission of serious sin, some resulting even in the expulsion of a believer from the fold and faith of Islam.
These Five Pillars of Islam are mentioned individually throughout the Quran and through narrations of Prophet Muhammad which are known as Hadith.
The Five Pillars of Islam are the following:
Testimony of faith in the Oneness of God (Allah) and the last and final Prophet, Muhammad
Establishment of the Five Mandatory Prayers
Concern and almsgiving to the needy (Zakat in Arabic)
Fasting during the month of Ramadan (for Self-purification)
The Pilgrimage to Makkah (at least a once in a lifetime journey for those who are able to make and can afford it)
The first pillar, the declaration and testimony of faith ranks as the first of these vital, integral Pillars. The remaining principles relate to putting faith into action, as Muslims are required to apply their faith in behavior and practice. As such, the other four Pillars are religious acts that are to be performed either daily, once a year, or at least once in a lifetime toward the attainment and accomplishment of faith.
Similar to the Ten Commandments, these Pillars provide a spiritual foundation and a framework to facilitate a Muslim’s life. Fulfillment of these Five Pillars provides blessings and rewards for the one following them, in both this life and the next. These Pillars help one establish a closer relationship with their Creator and build a spiritual connection with Him. A faithful Muslim prioritizes these Pillars over all worldly matters, principles or regulations in his or her life, as they form the foundation and starting point for all other good deeds and acts of worship to their Creator.