the five pillars of islam

5 pillars of Islam

What are the 5 pillars of Islam?

The 5 pillars of Islam are the core beliefs and practises of being a Muslim. Adhering to, and practicing these 5 pillars are what makes individuals Muslim.


This is the belief that there is only one God and that Muhammad (S.A.W) is the Prophet and messenger of God. 

The Shahadah in Arabic is as follows:

Shahadah in Arabic

This meaning of the Shahadah is: I testify that there is no God except Allah and I testify that Muhammad (S.A.W) is his servant and messenger.

In order to become a Muslim, one must say the Shahadah and believe it wholeheartedly. 

The Shahadah is the foundation of being a Muslim. There are two parts to the Shahadah. The first is testifying and believing that there is no God except Allah. It is a rejection of polytheism and a submission to one god. The second part of the Shahadah is believing that the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) is Allah’s final messenger.

Facts about Shahadah

  • When becoming a Muslim, you have to say the Shahadah
  • A person can become Muslim simply by saying the Shahadah and believing in it wholeheartedly. 
  • After a baby is born, the Shahadah is said into it’s ear
  • The Shahadah is part of the Adhaan (call to prayer) and each of the 5 daily prayers.


This means to pray 5 times a day. There are 5 daily prayers that all Muslims should perform. When praying, Muslims face towards the Ka’bah in Makkah. Before praying Salah, Muslims do wudhu (ablution). On Friday, a lot more Muslims usually go and pray Jummah Salah in the Masjid where an Imam (religious leader) usually delivers a sermon.

5 pillars of islam salah

There are 5 daily prayers which devout Muslims pray throughout the day. The names of the prayers and their times are as follows:

Fajr- before the sun rises

Zuhr- afternoon

Asr- late afternoon

Maghrib- after sunset

Isha- at night

Salah is a form of meditation, reflection and connection with Allah. In Salah, Muslims read different parts of the Quran. After Salah, many Muslims do Dua, which involves raising the hands and talking to Allah.  There are also other voluntary prayers that the more devout perform throughout the day and night. 

Check out our Salah learning resources for kids here.

Facts about Salah

  • There are 5 compulsory prayers: Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha 
  • All the prayers have certain times according to the position of sun (ie, before sunrise, afternoon, late afternoon, evening and night time)
  • The 5 prayers are all different lengths depending on the number of bows and prostrations
  • In Ramadan, Muslims pray Taraweeh, an additional prayer, for about 29 or 30 days
  • Before praying, Muslims must ensure that the place they are praying in is clean. They must also make sure that their clothes and bodies are clean as ‘cleanliness is half of faith.’


Zakah (alms giving) is the third pillar of Islam. Muslims are annually required to give 2.5% of their entire wealth to charity. Muslims often give Zakah in the month of Ramadan to ensure that the poorest people have plenty of food to break their fast with.

5 pillars of islam zakah

Zakah is only compulsory for those who are earning above a certain amount. Giving Zakah ensures that the poor, disabled, widows, orphans and needy people are taken care of. Additionally, giving Zakah also purifies a person’s wealth. 

Voluntary charity is called Sadaqah in Arabic and does not just refer to monetary donations. Sadaqah can be as simple as smiling at someone!

Facts about Zakah

  • Zakah is compulsory on all Muslims who have wealth exceeding the threshold.
  • The threshold is around 3 ounces of gold or 21 ounces of silver, or the cash equivalent. There are lots of Zakah calculators available online to calculate the exact amount that needs to be given.
  • Zakah can be given to the following people:
  1. The poor
  2. The needy
  3. Zakah collectors
  4. Those who have converted to Islam and need money
  5. Those in slavery
  6. Those in debt
  7. Travellers (include refugees)
  8. Those in the path of Allah


The fourth pillar is fasting in the month of Ramdan. All healthy adults fast for around 29 or 30 days. Children are not required to fast but many do, because they are enjoy participating with their families. Fasting in Islam means abstaining from food and drink from before dawn till dusk. Whilst fasting, Muslims are encouraged to do more good deeds and stay away from bad ones.

5 pillars of islam sawm

Muslims fast each year in the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Islamic months last for either 29 or 30 days as the Islamic calendar is lunar. Millions of Muslims fast in Ramadan for a number of reasons. For example, fasting:

  • is a command from Allah as mentioned in the Quran
  • helps keep people away from bad deeds
  • is a reminder of the struggles that the poor and needy people go through
  • is a great way to cleanse the soul and body

Facts about Sawm

  • Old people, ill people and children don’t have to fast, (but many do)
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women don’t need to fast but can if they wish to 
  • Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr at the end of Ramadan


The final pillar of Islam is a pilgrimage to Makkah (in Saudi Arabia). All Muslims are required to do Hajj at least once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage to Makkah involves circulating the Ka’bah among many other actions. One of the reasons Muslims do Hajj, is to re-establish a connection with Allah. Furthermore, going to Hajj also means that if done correctly, the pilgrim returns, sin free and often more religiously inclined.

5 pillars of islam hajj

There are a few rules and rituals that must be followed in order to complete Hajj. For example, each pilgrim must circulate the Kabah and walk between the mountains of Safa and Marwa seven times. At the end of the pilgrimage an animal is sacrificed and the meat is distributed within Saudi Arabia and shipped across the world to the poorest people in need.

Facts about Hajj

  • Hajj takes place in the month of Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar
  • The pilgrimage takes place over 5 to 6 days
  • Men and women must wear Ihram for the duration of Hajj. For men this is two pieces of white cloth that has no stitching, embroidery or buttons. For women the Ihram is a loose fitting robe which covers the whole body, including the hair.

5 Pillars of Islam in order

The 5 pillars of Islam in order are:






5 Pillars of Islam facts

  • All 5 pillars are compulsory on healthy, mentally sound Muslims and are the foundations of being a good Muslim. 
  • Each pillar has its own appointed time, guidelines and specific rewards in this world and the hereafter.
  • There are exceptions for certain pillars like fasting and Hajj. For example only those who are financially able to, must do Hajj. In addition to this, pregnant women, ill people, children and the elderly do not need to fast in the month of Ramadan. 

4 Responses

  1. Thanks soooo much this was very helpful to find accurate information to teach my kids.

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