The Five Pillars of Islam are obligatory acts for all Muslims. In Arabic, they are Shahada, Salah, Zakat, Sawm and Hajj.
The word Shahada means creed. Translated from Arabic, the Muslim creed is: There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is spoken out by an individual who wishes to publicly declare their faith as a Muslim. It also forms part of each of the five daily prayers a Muslim must make.
Salah, which means prayer, is performed five times a day – at dawn, noon, afternoon, evening and nighttime. These prayers, which have their own names, must be performed while facing the direction of Mecca. They involve the repetition of set prayers in a number of different positions, from standing upright to prostrating.
Zakat means that which purifies. Muslims give away a fixed portion (usually 2.5%) of their wealth to the poor, but are encouraged to add to this voluntarily.
Sawm (fasting) takes place each year during the month of Ramadan. During this 30-day period Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations during the daylight hours.
The Hajj is a pilgrimage that takes place annually in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Every Muslim is expected to complete it at least once during their lifetime. It takes place during the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.