The most important Muslim practices are the Five Pillars of Islam. The Five Pillars of Islam are the five obligations that every Muslim must satisfy in order to live a good and responsible life according to Islam.
The Five Pillars consist of:
- Shahadah: Sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith
- Salat: Performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day
- Zakat: Paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor and the needy
- Sawm: Fasting during the month of Ramadan
- Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca
"There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger."
This is the basic statement of the Islamic faith: anyone who cannot recite this wholeheartedly is not a Muslim.
When a Muslim recites this they proclaim:
- That Allah is the only God, and that Muhammad is his prophet
- That they personally accept this as true
- That they will obey all the commitments of Islam in their life
Becoming a Muslim
Reciting this statement three times in front of witnesses is all that anyone need do to become a Muslim. A Muslim is expected to recite this statement out loud, with total sincerity, fully understanding what it means. The Arabic can be transliterated into the Roman alphabet like this:
"Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad Rasulu Allah"
(Transliteration of the shahadah from the Arabic)
The Shahadah is written in Arabic on the flag of Saudi Arabia, the state that contains Islam's holiest places.