What is Islam?

In short...

Themes: Islam; The Five Pillars; celebrating world religions and Muslim beliefs; charity and giving to others.

Summary: The Five Pillars are the foundations of Muslim belief. In the video Sara, aged eleven, explains what The Five Pillars are. If showing a series of videos about Islam watch this one before watching the ‘Ramadan and Eid’ clip.

The video

Eleven year old Sara explains the meaning of The Five Pillars of Islam with clear definitions and examples from her own life.

The Five Pillars are: Shahadah (belief that Allah is the only God and Muhammed is his messenger); Salah (the five times of the day that Muslims should pray); Zakah (giving money to charity - 2.5% of income); Sawm (fasting - for example during Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah / Mecca).

Sara also shares her aspirations for developing as a Muslim as she grows older.

Duration: 3' 42"

End of speech: '...then it will hold you up and, like, make you a good Muslim.'

Video questions

What is the first Pillar of Islam and what does it mean? (Shahadah - belief that Allah is the only God and Muhammed is his messenger.)
What is the second Pillar of Islam and what does it mean? (Salah - the five times a day a Muslim should pray.)
What is the third Pillar of Islam and what does it mean? (Zakah - giving money to charity.)
What is the fourth Pillar of Islam and what does it mean? (Sawm - fasting, for example during Ramadan.)
What is the fifth Pillar of Islam and what does it mean? (Hajj - pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca).)

Key links

Assembly framework (pdf)
The Five Pillars of Islam

Suggested framework

1. Entry music
As pupils enter you could sow seeds in their minds by playing songs such as ‘What the world needs now’ (Dionne Warwick) or ‘The Circle of Life’ (Elton John). Display the image 'The Five Pillars of Islam' (see 'Key links') showing the words ‘Shahadah', ‘Salah,’ ‘Zakah,’ ‘Sawm’ and ‘Hajj’.

2. Introduction
Explain to the children that Sara will outline what 'The Five Pillars of Islam' are. She uses their Arabic names - refer to these on the displayed image. Or you could share the names of The Five Pillars with the children before watching the video. This will help to ensure they listen carefully to the content and explanations that follow.

3. The video
Play the video. The duration is 3' 42" and the final words are: '...then it will hold you up and make you a good Muslim.'

4. After the video
Recap what The 5 Pillars are - you can use the Story questions as a prompt. Invite five children to come out to the front and hold up the name of each Pillar. Ask children which one they think is the hardest one to keep.

5. Time to talk
Zakah means giving 2.5% of your income to charity (once you have attained a particular threshold of wealth). Which charity would you choose to donate money to and why? Hajj is a pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) that all Muslims intend to complete in their lifetime. What special place would you like to visit? This could be based on your family heritage, religious beliefs or something else. Sara does not need to fast yet as she is young. However, she chooses to try to fast so that it will prepare her for when she is older. What do you try to do that will prepare you for growing up? (Save money, study, etc...) Sara says: ‘Pillars hold things up and hold you up to be a good Muslim.’ What are your foundations for being a good person?

6. Opportunity to sing
An opportunity to sing your chosen song. Suggestions from BBC collections below.

7. Opportunity to reflect
‘Giving to others’ could be the focus of the reflection in this assembly.
How often do we think about others..?
If we stop and reflect, are we always generous..?
Do we do enough to help others or could we do more..?
How should we help those who do not heave enough money..?
When we fundraise, do we fully understand the importance of what we are doing..?
Who needs your help today..?

8. Opportunity for prayer
Use your standard form of address (Dear God, etc) and:
I know that I am very lucky and have a lot to thank you for.
Help me to think of others and their needs.
Help me to recognise that I can share what I have if I need to.
And help me to learn to do this without being reminded.

Suggested songs

Chain of love - Vocal