The five pillars of Islam are the core beliefs of Islam that Muslims are required to fulfill. They are…
Shahada - Testimony of Faith: The Shahada is the Islamic statement of faith that, "There is no true God but Allah and Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah." Muslims must make this proclamation with full conviction.
Salah - Prayer: Muslims must engage in ritual prayer and remembrance of Allah five times a day. The first prayer is at dawn (Fajr), followed by prayers at noon (Zuhr), mid-afternoon (Asr), sunset (Maghrib), and night (Isha). In a prayer, a person must face Mecca before completing a set of prescribed actions, recitations and supplications in a cyclic unit called rakat. Salah demands full concentration, creating an unswerving bond between them and Allah.
Zakat - Charity: Zakat is the mandatory donation of 2.5% of a Muslim’s annual wealth (cash and possessions) to the poor, needy and less fortunate. Zakat is aimed at benefitting both the recipient and the donator. Performing it is considered a form of worship to Allah.
Sawm - Fasting: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, is a period of fasting and total devotion to Allah, where the faithful let go of their basic needs and desires in order to empathise with those less fortunate and to seek Allah's forgiveness and mercy. During this month, dedicated Muslims abstain from food, drink and any sexual activity from dawn to dusk. Fasting is an act of worship that leads to spiritual self-cleansing and self-purification. The end of Ramadan is marked with a celebration called Eid Al Fitr.
Hajj - Pilgrimage: The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are required to complete at least once in their lifetimes, if they are financially and physically able. The pilgrimage is the ultimate form of worship that lasts six days and involves a number of complex rituals. Those attending the pilgrimage circle the Kaaba (the Arabic name for the black, cuboid-shaped building in the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca) seven times; and then walk seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa.
They then stand united at Mount Arafah - the granite hill east of Mecca where it is believed the Prophet Mohammed delivered his farewell speech - and join in prayer asking for Allah's forgiveness, in what is regarded as a token of the Day of Judgment. The performance of this ritual clears the pilgrim of all sins… as long as they truly repent. The end of the pilgrimage is celebrated by Eid Al Adha with prayers, the sacrifice of an animal, and the exchange of gifts, offerings and good wishes.