Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has stated: “Islam is built upon five pillars.” He then went on to quote the five pillars of Islam, those being: Shahadatayn (two testimonies), Salah (prayer), zakah (charity), sawm (fasting), and hajj (pilgrimage). You will see how these five pillars help to strengthen the soul, guide the heart, and unify the community.
Imagine if you were the star witness in a big court case. The entire jury has been waiting to hear your testimony. The defendant’s guilt or innocence rides on your statements. When you are called up to the witness stand, everyone pays attention, and assumes your words are true. To enter Islam, the Shahada plays a similar role.
The Islamic prayers are like a contract. As a Muslim, I have made an agreement with my Lord that I will uphold and maintain the 5 pillars of Islam. After testifying to Allah’s monotheistic qualities, I must also pray five times a day.
What is Ramadan, you ask? Let me answer your question with another question. What would you think if someone told you not to eat for most of the day? You’d probably think you could do that. It’s not that big of a deal to go 8-10 hours with no food. Alright, now what if you were told you couldn’t drink anything either? No water, no milk, no soda. Nothing.
How much can Zakah help the poor people of the world? Let’s find out. I’m sure you’ve heard of Bill Gates. Most likely, you are currently using at least one of the products his company, Microsoft has produced. He is one of the richest men in the world, currently worth $58 billion. Now, just imagine if he gave away 2.5% of his money to the poor people of America. How many people could that help?
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca. It is a lifelong goal for most Muslims. We are required to perform the Hajj at least once in our life. We can only hope that Allah blesses us with the ability and means to make this wonderful pilgrimage.