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The Five Pillars of Islam

1)  The Testimony of Faith.  Considered to be the most important pillar, it is the declaration that there is no god but Allah.  It is a fixed statement, normally recited in Arabic.  Roughly translated:  "There is no god but God (Allah) and Muhammad is the messenger (prophet) of God."  A devout Muslim will repeat this many times each day.


2)  Prayer.  Muslims must pray five time each day (dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night).  Prayers are brief - a few minutes.  Prayers are recited while facing in the direction of Mecca.  Muslims must wash before praying and the prayers are accompanied by a set of fixed positions.


3)  Giving or Charity.  Muslims believe that everything belongs to Allah.  Giving is obligatory for all Muslims who are able to give.  It requires ‘giving a specified percentage on certain properties to certain classes of needy people.’  This can get complicated, but Muslims are always free to give whatever they wish in addition.


4)   Fasting during the month of Ramadan.  This means no food, drink or sexual relations between dawn and dusk during the month of Ramadan.


5) Hajj - the Pilgrimage to Mecca.  The 'Pilgrimage to Mecca' is an annual affair, but Muslims are required to make this pilgrimage only once during their lifetime.  Pilgrims are required to wear certain clothing so that all dress alike, and certain rituals are performed.

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