The essentials of Islam are the basic ritual obligations that make up the Muslim life. These basic acts are also referred to as the Five Pillars of Islam and are practiced throughout the world. These basic acts are derived from the Quran and Hadith.
Worship of Allah can take place only when the heart and body are in a condition of purity. It is Testimony of Faith that purifies the heart. For the cleansing of the body, there are two forms of ablution:
1. The Major Ablution or Ghusl.
Cleaning the impurity from the body with free flowing water, by taking a full body bath including hair.
2. The Minor Ablution or Wudu and Tayammum.
Wudu is washing hands, face and feet before performing the prayer when water is available.
Tayammum is the dry ritual purification using purified sand or dust. It is only allowed when water is not available or if one is unable to use water for any reason.
2. PRAYER / SALAH
The ritual Prayer is the mainstay of Islam. There are Six types of prayers:
1. Daily Five Prayers.
2. Supererogatory / Nafil Prayers.
3. Friday Prayer in Congregation.
4. Voluntary / Tarawi Prayer in Ramadan.
5. Festival / Eid Prayers.
6. Funeral Prayers.
3. FASTING / SIYAM
Fasting every year during the month of Ramadan is a form of worship that Allah has made obligatory for all Muslims who have reached the age of maturity to keep the fast when the month of Ramadan begins, excepting those who are ill, travelling, pregnant or nursing, or who cannot fast on account of extreme old age. Fasting means to refrain from eating, drinking, and sexual contact from dawn until sunset.
4. GIVING ALMS / ZAKAT
It is a duty for everyone who possesses wealth to pay Zakat on their possessions. Allah does not accept the prayers of those who pray but do not give their Zakat. According to the command of Allah, those who have wealth should set aside 2.5% of their money with the intention of distributing their Zakat dues once a year among the poor and needy. If anyone gives Charity/Sadaqa apart from Zakat in the way of Allah their earnings will be blessed with abundance, and will be protected from misfortune and calamity.
5. PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA / HAJJ
Allah has made it obligatory for those possessing the means, to go on Hajj once in their lifetime. After having completed the Hajj some of the pilgrims go on to Medina to offer forty prayer times in the Holy Mosque of Prophet Muhammad.