Five Pillars of Islam

Islam is divided into "iman", the belief of a Muslim, and "din", the practice of his religion. Just as there are six articles of faith, so there are five compulsory works, generally known as the "Five Pillars of Islam". Muhammed is alleged to have defined these pillars according to the following tradition:

Narrated by Ibn Umar: Allah's Apostle said; Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

  1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammed is Allah's apostle.
  2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
  3. To pay Zakat (obligatory charity).
  4. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
  5. To perform Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca).
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, p. 17)

It is somewhat surprising to find the first pillar among the works of Islam as it is really a testimony of faith, but the recital of this creed has become one of the deliberate acts of piety in Islam, indeed its foremost duty. Anyone wishing to become a Muslim need only recite the creed, known as the Kalimah (the "Word"), or the Shahadah (the "Testimony" of Faith), with an express intention to personally profess what he is reciting (this intention is known as the Muslim's niyyah) to be admitted to the faith.

Listen to Ezan, call to prayer (47 sec)


Listen to Bismillah (4 sec)