MCEC Palmers Green Mosque, Muslim Community & Education Centre
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MCEC, 30 Oakthorpe Road
Palmers Green, London
N13 5JL, United Kingdom

T: +44 20 8920 3990

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5 Pillars of Islam

Practices essential to Islam

Declaration of Faith (Shahadah)

The Shahadah, is the basic creed of Islam:

" 'ašhadu 'al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa 'ašhadu 'anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh"
"I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

This testament is a foundation for all other beliefs and practices in Islam. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in prayer, and non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam are required to recite the creed.

Prayer (Salah)

This is the prayer which must be performed five times a day. Each salah is done facing towards the Kaaba in Makkah.

Salah is intended to focus the mind on God, and is seen as a personal communication with him that expresses gratitude and worship. Salah is compulsory but flexibility in the specifics is allowed depending on circumstances. In many Muslim countries, the  Adhan (call to prayer) is broadcast publicly from local mosques at the appropriate times.

The document below details how to perform Salah and also its pre-requisites.

Charity (Zakah)

This is charity but is considered an act of worship. alms-giving. It is the practice of giving based on accumulated wealth, and is obligatory for all Muslims who can afford it. A fixed portion is spent to help the poor or needy, and also to assist the spread of Islam. Zakah is a religious obligation (as opposed to voluntary charity) that the well-off owe to the needy because their wealth is seen as a "trust from God's bounty". The Qur'an and the hadith also suggest a Muslim give even more as an act of voluntary alms-giving (sadaqah).

Fasting (Sawm)

Sawm is fasting during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must not eat or drink (among other things) from dawn to dusk during this month, and must be mindful of other sins. The fast is to encourage a feeling of nearness to God, and during it Muslims should express their gratitude for and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, and think of the needy. Sawm is not obligatory for several groups for whom it would constitute an undue burden. For others, flexibility is allowed depending on circumstances, but missed fasts usually must be made up quickly.


Hajj is the pilgrimage during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Makkah.
Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it must make the pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in his or her lifetime. When the pilgrim is about ten kilometres from Mecca, he must dress in Ihram clothing, which consists of two white seamless sheets demonstrating the equality of all pilgrim in front of Allah.