Communions & Confirmations Communions & Confirmations Communions & Confirmations

The Five Pillars of Islam

The Seven Sacraments are sacred rites to Roman Catholics who see them as necessary for their salvation. Some of the sacraments, including Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, are to be received by all Catholics, while others, such as Holy Orders, do not need to be received by everyone.

Though not necessarily equivalent to the Seven Sacraments, the Five Pillars of Islam are sacred to Muslims. These five basic acts are a framework for worship and a sign of one's commitment to Islam.

1. The Shahadah

The Shahadah, or Shahada, is a declaration of faith, which all of the faithful must pronounce. This saying professes monotheism and announces once's acceptance of Muhammad as God's messenger.

2. Salat

Salat is the name given to the obligatory prayers that Muslims must perform five times a day. These are seen as a direct link between the worshipper and God. These prayers are led by a learned person, but that person is not a priest, as there is no hierarchical authority in Islam. The prayers contain verses from the Quran, and these prayers are said at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall.

3. Zakat

Zakat is the practice of charitable giving by Muslims. This is obligatory for all Muslims capable of giving, and what is given is based on each individual's own calculation. The Zakat is based on the Islamic principle that all things belong to God and, as a result, wealth is held by human beings in trust. Muslims believe possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need.

4. The Fast

During the month of Ramadan, all Muslims must fast from the first light of day until sundown. During this period, Muslims must abstain from food, drink and sexual relations. There are exceptions for the sick, the elderly, pregnant women or women who are nursing, and those traveling. However, days during Ramadan that are not spent fasting must be made up during another time of the year. For those who are incapable of making these days up, such as the elderly, they must feed a needy person for every day they miss.

5. Hajj

The Hajj is a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca during the month of Dhu al-Hijjah. All able-bodied Muslims are required to make at least one pilgrimage during their lifetime, and special garments that strip away distinctions of class and culture are worn.