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Islam: The Five Pillars of Islamic Faith

Muslims believe in one God, in angels, in the revealed books, in the prophets, and in the Day of Judgement.

The following Five Pillars of Islamic Faith are ritual obligations of Muslims:

Shahadah: Recite the profession of faith — "there is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Prophet of God" — each day.

Salat: Pray five times a day (at daybreak, noon, mid-afternoon, after sunset, and in the early evening).

Zakat: Literally purification. Pay a tax for the poor.

Sawm: If you are over the age of 10, refrain from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from daybreak to sunset during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic year, and is the month in which the Koran was revealed to Muhammad. According to Muslim tradition, the actual revelation occurred on the night between the 26th and 27th days of the month. On this "Night of Determination," God determines the fate of the world for the coming year.

Hajj: At least once in a lifetime, make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Sources: Islam from Washington State University, ©Richard Hooker, reprinted by permission.