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Guides: Islam

Last Updated: Friday January 21 2005 19:49 GMT

The five pillars of Islam

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Muslims believe that every single thing you do in life should be done for God.

They believe in Heaven and Hell and that when you die you face a Day of Judgement.

There are five pillars of Islam. These are duties that a Muslim aims to fulfil;

1. Shahadah (Witnessing) - Muslims declare their faith by saying: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger".

2. Salat (Prayer) - God set five times in the day when Muslims should pray.

Muslims can pray anywhere, but they always pray facing Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. Muslims also pray in mosques.

3. Zakat (Charity)- Muslims give 2.5% of their wealth to charity.

This shows obedience to God and prevents greed.

It is believed that in giving, the possesions you keep are made pure.

4.Sawm (The Fast) - during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast from dawn to sunset. This means not eating or drinking anything at all.

One of the reasons Muslims fast is because they believe that Ramadan is the time when the Holy Qur'an was first revealed.

5. Hajj (Pilgrimage)

Hajj is the journey to a place called Mecca in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims should make this pilgrimage at least once in their life, if they can afford it and are physically able.

There are lots of rituals to perform along the journey, including drinking water from the Zam Zam well and throwing stones at the pillars of Jamraat.

The final part of the pilgrimage is at the Kaaba (cube) in the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca. The Kaaba is important because it is a shrine that Abraham built for God.

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