What You Need to Practice as a Muslim

Islam is based on five primary foundations or Pillars. Just as a building would lack stability without solid pillars, your relationship with God will lack focus and a secure connection without the observance of and adherence to these five fundamental Pillars. These Five Pillars or religious duties are mandatory; you must follow and enact them with utmost devotion. Failure to comply and enact any of these dictates can lead to the commission of grave sins, some resulting in the expulsion of a believer from the fold and faith of Islam.

Like the Ten Commandments, these Pillars provide a spiritual foundation and framework to facilitate your life. Fulfilling these Five Pillars provides blessings and rewards for you in this life and the next. These Pillars help you establish a closer relationship with your Creator and build a spiritual connection with Him. You must prioritize these Pillars over all worldly matters, principles, or regulations in your life, as they form the foundation and starting point for all other good deeds and acts of worship to your Creator. These Five Pillars are mentioned individually throughout the Holy Quran, and through narrations of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, known as Hadith. The Five Pillars of Islam are:

Testimony of faith in the Oneness of God Allah and the last and final Prophet, Muhammad, Peace be upon him

The first pillar, the declaration and testimony of faith, ranks as the first of the vital, integral Pillars. The remaining principles relate to putting faith into action, as you must apply your faith in behavior and practice. The other four Pillars are religious acts to be performed either daily, once a year, or at least once in a lifetime toward the attainment and accomplishment of faith.

The word Shahada in Arabic linguistically translates to mean “testifying, bearing witness.” The Shahada is the Islamic creed. The Shahada contains two parts that a Muslim must testify to and believe. The first part requires the believer to testify that no deity is worthy of worship, veneration, or complete devotion other than Allah. A Muslim acknowledges that Allah has the exclusive right to be worshipped, venerated, loved inwardly and outwardly by one’s heart, tongue, and limbs.

Regretfully, many have regarded certain historical figures as their gods and deities, who are wrongfully worshipped and venerated, whether idols, superstitions, saints, ideologies, ways of life, or any authority figures who claim to be divine or semi-divine — even though they are creations with no power to bring any benefit or harm to anyone.

“But they have taken besides Him gods which create nothing, while they are created, and possess not for themselves any harm or benefit and possess not power to cause death or life or resurrection.” (Quran 25:3)

One enters the fold of Islam by verbally stating these words, believing in them, acting on them, and living upon them. Merely saying these words verbally, without accompanying action, does not complete a Muslim.

The second part of the testimony requires you to testify that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the Messenger of God. In accepting Prophet Muhammad PBUH as the “seal of the Prophets,” you affirm that his Prophecy confirms and fulfills all previously revealed Messages beginning with those delivered by Prophet Adam, peace be upon him. You carry out the instruction given by Prophet Muhammad, PBUH — as commanded by God the Almighty. Prophet Muhammad, PBUH, also serves as the best role model for humanity, one who proves his worth through his exemplary life. Muslims are encouraged to follow and emulate Prophet Muhammad PBUH’s examples, manners, generosity, good habits, politeness, respect, gentleness, noble feelings, and way of life to the best of their ability, with an emphasis on Islam and the Holy Quran.

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and who remembers Allah often.” (Quran 33:21)

These two phrases are the most frequently repeated words worldwide, as hundreds of millions of practicing Muslims iterate these words dozens of times throughout their day and through their prayers. It is recommended for a believer to recite them when they first rise in the morning and before going to bed. These words reflect and encompass every dimension of a Muslim’s life.

The Shahada (testimony of faith) is by far the essential aspect of Islam, as it affirms the belief in the Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah upon which the whole Religion of Islam is built, and all other beliefs hinge. It is the central belief that a Muslim adheres to for his entire life. Verbally stating these words and living by them is unquestionably a Muslim’s most significant and most important duty. Unless you acknowledge this testimony, you cannot be a Muslim.

Muslims strain to utter these words as their last spoken before departing this world since whoever does so has been promised the destiny of God-given Paradise. However, only the ones who lived and acted upon these words will be granted the ability to utter these blessed sentiments in the form of their final words.

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