Five Pillars of Islam
Shahada: Testifying to God's One-ness:
- The declaration "There is no God but Allah
and Muhammad is His prophet."
General Features of Islamic Prayer
prayer times each day:
- early morning
- Raq'ah: Bowing and prostration. Represents submission to God.
- Ablutions, symbolic purification by washing hands, feet, etc. with water (or sand).
- Qiblah, direction for prayer towards Mecca. Designated by Mihrab, niche in the wall.
- Du'a, spontaneous private prayer exists, but is less important than communal worship.
of Public prayer:
- Masjid (Mosque):
(Tower for Muadhdhin
to announce services).
- Imam leads prayers. Worshippers stand behind in straight lines.
- Imam or other scholar delivers a sermon (khutba ) from the pulpit (minbar).
- Women are not required to attend prayers. When they do, they usually stand behind the men
- Friday, Yawm
al-Jum'ah (Day of Assembly), main day of public prayer.
Zakat: Giving charity.
- Originally a free-will
donation (what is no called Sadaqah).
- Now largely compulsory.
- General rate: 2 1/2% of income annually.
- Given only to needy Muslims, or for religious purposes, etc.
4) Sawm: Fast
- In memory of the revelation of the Qur'an.
- During month of Ramadan,
- Those who have
medical exemptions etc. should fast at another time.
- 'Id al-Fitr, Feast of Fast-breaking: at beginning of next month.
- Every Muslim man and woman (if physically and economically able) should try to make the
pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life-time.
- Egalitarian atmosphere, Ihram:
of simple white garments.
- Refraining from sex, haircuts, jewelry, arguing, etc.
- Importance of the Ka'ba,
associations with Abraham, Hagar Ishmael and Muhammad.
reenactments of past events:
- Tawaf: Circling Ka'ba counterclockwise seven times, emphasizing its centrality.
- Touching black stone of Ka'bah
- Sa'y: Running seven times between hills and drinking from Zamam spring (recalling Hagar's running for water)
- Throwing 49 stones at stone "Satan"s (recalling the resistance to Satan's attempts to prevent Abraham from sacrificing Ishmael).
- On eighth day pilgrims move to the desert and live in tents. Rituals performed there include:
- Wuquf: Standing in prayer at the Plain of Arafat and Mount of Mercy.
- 'Id al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice): Head or household slaughters animal for feast. Meat is also distributed to the poor.
- Return to Mecca for second circling of Ka'bah.
- Most pilgrims also visit Medinah.
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