Describe in detail the set of religious observances known as the Five Pillars of Islam - Essay Example
The five pillars of Islam form the foundation of worship and dedication to the Islamic faith. They are: Shahada, Salat, Sawm, Zakat and Hajj (Ellwood, & McGraw, 2009).
Shahadah is a statement of belief that professes monotheism and acceptance of Muhammad as the messenger of God (Allah) (Ellwood, & McGraw, 2009). The creed is customarily recited in Arabic during each call to prayer (Azaan) and when one wishes to convert to Islam. It is also believed that one should also recite the creed when they are about to die.
Salat describes the obligatory set of prayers that each Muslim should partake in daily. It consists of five prayers that should be recited each day as defined by the Sunna (Hedayetullah, 2006). The first prayer is the Fajr that is performed at dawn just before the sunrise. The second prayer is the Dhuhr and is performed at noon after the sun has passed its apex. The third prayer is the Ê¿Aá¹£r that is performed in the afternoon before the sun sets. The forth prayer is the Maghrib which is performed in the evening after the sun sets. The final prayer is the Isha which is performed at night. Each of these prayers comprises of a set amount of rakaÊ¿Ät (prescribed words and movements). All of the prayers are performed while facing the Islamic holy city of Mecca. Before each prayer, Muslims must partake in Wudu (Cleansing), achieved by washing themselves.
The third pillar of Islam is fasting (Sawm). According to the Quran, there are three types of fasting that Muslims should partake in. During the month of Ramadan, all Muslims have to partake in ritual fasting. This type of fasting is mandatory and followers of Islam have to refrain from eating, drinking and other worldly pleasures from dawn to dusk during the whole period (Khan, 2006). They are also expected to be particularly attentive of other sins. The other two types of fasting are as compensation to penance and abstinent fasting. Sawm allows believers to
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