Islam is built on five pillars. These acts are obligatory on every Muslim adult. Some are done daily, monthly, annually, while one is only required once in a lifetime.
To do this one must simply state publicly "Ashadu alla ilaha illa Allah, wa ashadu anna Muhammed ar-rasool Allah".
This means, "I bear witness that there is no God other than Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammed is His messenger."
It should be a genuine belief from one's heart. The witnessing of the
Oneness of Allah is the rejection of any form of deity other than Allah,
and the witnessing that Muhammad is His Messenger is the acceptance of
him being chosen by Allah to convey His message of Islam to all humanity
and to deliver it from the darkness of ignorance into the light of
belief in, and knowledge of, the Creator.
In prayer, every muscle and bone of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of Allah (swt).
Offering of prayers is obligatory upon every Muslim who is sane, mature and in the case of women free from menstruation and confinement due to child birth. some requirements must be met in order for the prayer to be valid. These include but are not limited to:
1. Performing wudu - ritually cleaning the body clothes and ground used for prayer.
2. Clothing - one must be covered in the manner according to his gender.
3. Facing the Ka'ba (referred to as the Qibla)
4. Intention - merely saying in your mind that you are attempting to pray and gain the benefits from it.
Prayers are required at least five times a day. Other obligatory prayer include the Friday congregational prayer, Eid prayers and the funeral prayer. Times of the five daily obligatory prayers:
2.Zuhr-After the sun begins to decline from its zenith.
4.Magrib-Just after sunset.
In addition one is also encouraged but not required to perform prayers during the day and night. Prayer should be offered in its due time, unless there is a reasonable excuse. Delayed obligatory prayers must be made up. In addition to the prescribed prayer, a Muslim expresses gratitude to God and appreciation of His favours and asks for His mercy all the time. Especially at times of, childbirth, marriage, going to or rising from bed, leaving and returning to his home, starting a journey or entering a city, riding or driving, before or after eating or drinking, harvesting, visiting graveyards and at time of distress and sickness.
Obligatory charity giving is an act of worship and spiritual investment. Zakat does not only purify the property of the contributor but also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. It also purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, from hatred and uneasiness and it fosters instead good-will and warm wishes for the contributors. It also frees society from welfare, distrust and corruption. Zakat is paid on the net balance after paying personal expenses, family expenses, due credits, taxes, etc. Taxes paid to government do not substitute for this religious duty. The contributor should not seek pride or fame but if disclosing his name and his contribution is likely to encourage others, it is acceptable to do so.
The recipients of Zakat are:
- the poor, the needy,
- the new Muslim converts,
- the Muslim prisoners of war (to liberate them),
- Muslims in debt,
- employees appointed to collect Zakat,
- Muslims in service of research or study or propagation of Islam,
- wayfarers who are foreigners in need of help.
Note that Zakat is obligatory. Muslims can also go above and beyond what they pay as Zakat, in which case the offering is strictly voluntary (blessing will come to those who wish for his brother what he wishes for himself).
Fasting is abstaining completely from eating, drinking, and intimate sexual contacts from the break of dawn till sunset. It is a matchless Islamic institution which teaches man the principle of sincere love to God, creative sense of hope, devotion, patience, unselfishness, discipline, etc. Obligatory fasting is done once a year for the period of the month of
Ramadan. Fasting during this time is obligatory on every Muslim adult if he is mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. Women are allowed to skip a fasting day due to menstruation, and while nursing a baby.
It is obligatory to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime. Muslims from all walks of life, from every corner of the globe assemble in Mecca in response to the call of Allah. It is to commemorate the Divine rituals observed by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael, who were the first pilgrims to the house of Allah on earth: the Kabah. It is also to remember the great assembly of the Day of Judgment when people will stand equal before Allah. Muslims go to Mecca to glorify Allah, not to worship a man. The visit to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad at Madinah is highly recommended but not essential in making the Hajj valid and complete.