The Five Pillars of Islam (Sunni and Shi’a Islam)

Visualisation of the Five Pillars of Islam.

The Five Pillars of Islam are five duties that Muslims of all branches of Islam must follow:

  1. Shahadah is the Muslim declaration of faith. All Muslims know the words of the Shahadah and it is repeated multiple times during the day.
  2. Salah is prayer. It is compulsory for Muslims to pray five times a day.
  3. Zakah (also spelt Zakat), or charitable giving, encourages generosity and compassion.
  4. Sawm is the obligation to fast during Ramadan, which teaches Muslims self-discipline. This self-discipline brings them closer to Allah.
  5. Hajj is the pilgrimage to Makkah. It is compulsory for Muslims to make the trip at least once in their lifetime, as long as they are fit and healthy and can afford to go.

Sunni Muslims specifically set the duties out clearly and see them as pillars holding up the religion. The pillars keep faith strong, so Sunni Muslims try to keep all five to make them better Muslims and support the religion fully.

Shi’a Muslims, on the other hand, add further duties. These, along with four of the Five Pillars, are known as the Ten Obligatory Acts.