The Shahadah is the declaration of faith or the key statement of belief of Muslims. Muslims are expected to know the declaration of faith.
The Shahadah is usually said a few times each day. It is said at birth as the first words a baby hears, and Muslims aim for these to be the last words they say before death. The Shahadah forms the foundation of the other four pillars.
A non-Muslim can convert to Islam by saying the Shahadah and meaning it sincerely.
The Salah are the five daily prayers, which can be done anywhere. Each of the prayers is performed at a specific time of day:
At the mosque, men and women pray in separate rooms while performing a series of movements in a sequence. This involves bowing and kneeling as well as prostration and reciting praises to God.
Salah encourages self-discipline and keeps Muslims in close contact with Allah. It is a sign of solidarity with all other Muslims and it shows that everyone is equal in their worship of God.
Before praying, Muslims prepare by performing an important set of actions so that all of their focus can be on God:
Sunni Muslims only combine the five daily prayers if they have a good reason to, for example if they are travelling.
Shi'a Muslims have more freedom to combine certain prayers, such as the midday and afternoon prayers. Therefore they may only pray three times a day.
Shi’a Muslims also often use natural elements when praying. For example, some place a piece of clay at the spot where their head will rest.
The movements that Sunni and Shi’a Muslims make during prayer can also differ.
Jummah refers to communal prayers held on a Friday just after noon at a mosque. Getting together is meant to develop the feeling of unity among the Muslim community.
The imam gives two sermons and a series of rak’ahs is performed. Men are obliged to go to Jummah unless they are ill or too old to attend. Women do not have to go to Jummah and instead may choose to pray at home.
If no water is available, what can Muslims use to perform ritual washing before they pray?
Sand or dust.