The 5 Pillars of Islam

In short...

Themes: learning from the life of the Prophet; caring for all living things.

Summary: The assembly starts with a game about pets, encouraging children to think about how they take responsibility for caring for animals they have at home. The remainder focuses on two stories from the life of Muhammad (pbuh) about caring for animals. Muslims use the phrase 'peace be upon him' after saying the Prophet's name as a sign of respect (abbreviated to pbuh).

Resources: physical items relating to pet care, or use the gallery of images.

The video

We are introduced to Ameena and her family. Ameena tells her brother about The 5 Pillars of Islam:

  • Shahadah - the Muslim creed / statement of faith
  • Salah - prayer - Muslims must pray five times a day
  • Zakat - giving to those in need
  • Sawm - fasting during Ramadan
  • Hajj - making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah (Mecca)

Duration: 3' 23"

End of speech: '...Rahaeed hurried off quickly to find his mum.'

Video questions

  • What is the purpose of The 5 Pillars of Islam? (For Muslims they are a guide to leading a good and responsible life)
  • What are the words spoken (in English) for the Shahadah? (The English translation given in the video is: 'There is nothing worth worshipping but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger')
  • The second pillar - Salah - requires prayer how many times a day? (Salah requires Muslims to pray five times a day0
  • What are the first and last times required for prayer during the day? (First - just before sunrise. Last - between sunset and midnight)
  • What is Zakat - the third pillar? (Zakah requires charitable deeds - giving to those in need)
  • What does it mean 'to fast'? (For Muslims it means not eating or drinking during the daytime in the holy month of Ramadan0
  • What is Hajj - the fifth pillar? (Hajj is making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah (Mecca))

Key links

Assembly framework (pdf)
Image: Ameena and her family.

Suggested framework

1. Entry music
A song about building - such as 'Bob the Builder'!

2. Introduction
Set up the building blocks as a wall or tower (a bit like the game in which blocks are removed one by one from a tower, until it falls). Invite a child to play with you by asking them to remove blocks from the bottom of the wall. You will have to give this activity a time limit (and be ready to topple the tower yourself on purpose if necessary!) Then talk about the way to build secure walls (strong foundation, mortar, etc) and what went wrong with your own construction. You could display a picture of an actual brick wall to show the joins, mortar etc. Relate the idea of building strong walls to building strong lives. Recap your own school rules as these will be the most familiar context for children. Then introduce the video and ask children to think about the things they see that help a Muslim family to build strong lives too.

3. The video
Play the video. It starts with a short introduction to Ameena and her family, which flows into Ameena telling her little brother Raheed about The 5 Pillars of Islam and why they are so important to Muslims, helping them to lead the lives that Allah intends. The final words are: '...Raheed hurried off quickly to find his mum.' The duration is 3' 23".

4. After the video
Use the story questions to help children talk about the story and to recall The 5 Pillars of Islam in particular.

5. Time to talk
Ask children what they have learned about the things that help Ameena's family to live good lives and how they may relate to their own lives.

6. Time to sing
See below for suggestions from BBC collections.

7. Opportunity for reflection
We've been thinking today about building strong lives...
We've heard about The 5 Pillars of Islam - five things that help Muslim families to build strong lives and worship Allah...
We've thought about the things that help us to build strong families, and strong school communities...things such as...
name some of the things you talked about
I wonder what you will do today that will help us to build strong lives..?

8. Opportunity for prayer
Dear God. We are glad to be here together today, as part of our school community.
Please help us as we work, play, eat and laugh together - help us to build strong friendships and to build up our school community.

Suggested songs

Keep the golden rules - Vocal

SongCollectionSignificant words
'Our school'All about our school, no 9'We think of others' / 'We try to help each other'
'Keep the golden rules'All about our school, no 5'Every day's a good day / When we keep the golden rules'