The Five Pillars of Obligation in Islam

Umari Stambuli Holy Qur’aan Speaks
IN the previous instalment we introduced you to the three of the five pillars of obligation in Islam. These are oneness with God, daily prayer and giving zakaah that is to charity.

We continue with the rest of the pillars, with focus on fasting and pilgrimage.


There is fasting in the month of Ramadhaan – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Just the mention of the word “Ramadhaan” makes believers long for that extraordinary time of the year during which the soul is refreshed and the heart seems to have no worries.

Muslims abstain from food, drink and sexual relations from dawn to dusk each day for the entire month and make an extra effort not only to remember and focus on God, but to increase acts of worship, service, selflessness and generosity, etc.

Fasting has a way of making individuals more God-conscious, and it instils self-discipline so that they may overcome temptations more easily. Each time a believer feels hunger pangs or thirst, he or she is reminded of those who go without nourishment for days at a time.

The month is significant in the Islamic calendar as it was in Ramadhaan that the first words of the Holy Qur’aan were revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).

For Muslims who fast properly, by also restraining themselves from the use of harsh or vulgar words, there is a beautiful reward: their sins are forgiven and they are showered with countless blessings by God – in this life and in the Hereafter.


The fifth obligation upon Muslims can be seen, and heard of, all over the print and electronic media once a year – the Hajj, or the pilgrimage, to the Holy City of Makkah, in Saudi Arabia.

Those who are physically, financially and mentally capable of carrying out the entire pilgrimage must do so at least once in their life time.

During Hajj, a believer journeys to the place where Muhammad (pbuh) was born, grew up, received Divine revelation and began calling others to Islam – which is the very place where Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and his son Ishmael (pbuh) built the Ka’abah – the first house of God.

Pilgrims engage in a series of mentally and physically demanding rituals which are largely the re-enactment of the efforts and sacrifices of Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and his family.

They emulate the footsteps of Abraham’s courageous wife, Hajar, when she ran between the hills of Safa and Marwa in search of water for her infant son.

They walk around the Ka’abah praying and reciting from the Qur’aan. They travel to the vast, desert plain were Abraham (pbuh) had led his son for the “sacrifice” which is where Muhammad gave his farewell sermon.

They wear identical, simple white sheets of cloth, signifying that all who breathe will one day be stripped of their worldly possessions and stand before God The Almighty with nothing but their faith and piety.

During Hajj, everyone is equal; no differences can be seen between rich and poor; everyone prays side by side – all equal before God.


For further information on Islam or a free copy of the Holy Qur’aan, please contact:

MajlisulUlama Zimbabwe, Council of Islamic Scholars

Publications Department

PO Box W93, Waterfalls, Harare

Tel: 04-614078/614004, Fax: 04-614003


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