What are the pillars of Islam?
The religion of Islam has been built upon five pillars. They are: fasting, salah (performing ritual prayers), Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), Zakat (Almsgiving), testifying of Allah's Oneness and of the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (Shahadah).
One of the pillars of Islam is to fast in the month of Ramadan. Through fasting, Muslims protect themselves from their evil selves' domination and fierceness by disciplining and purifying it. And there develops a sense of compassion towards the poor in their hearts with the pain of hunger they suffer from.
Another pillar of Islam is to perform ritual prayers. It means standing before the presence of Allah five times a day by understanding one's weakness and defectiveness with bowing down and prostration and showing one's servitude to Him. Prescribed prayers are universal worship and universal gratitude. Every Muslim has to perform it. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ordered: Prayers are the pillars of the religion (Tirmidhi, Iman-8)
Another pillar of Islam is Hajj (Pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca). It has been ordered for the Muslims whose financial situation and health are suitable based on Islamic law, to go for Hajj at least once in a lifetime at a particular season which is determined by the Islamic law (Shariah). One of the greatest wisdoms of this worship, which is compulsory, is to have Muslims all over the world meet each other and to demonstrate that all human beings are equal in the sight of Allah (SWT) regardless of nationality, language, skin colour, and social status.
Another pillar of Islam is to give mandatory alms (Zakah), which is the last pillar of Islam. Allah Almighty has made it compulsory for wealthy Muslims, for the sake of Allah, to give the poor Muslims some of their wealth (2.5 %), the amount which Islam has determined. These goods, which the rich give to the poor, are called Zakah. As far as the Islamic law is concerned, this is the right of the poor. Islam encourages Muslims to help the poor apart from Zakah as well. And theyare called sadaqah (charity).
In order to become a Muslim, it is necessary for a person to utter kalima ash-shahada. The meaning of kalima ash-shahada is as follows "I testify that there is no god but Allah and that Hz. Muhammad is His slave and messenger."
The first part of this testimony expresses the existence and oneness of Allah and that He has no partners or counterparts. The second part states that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) is the slave of Allah and that he was appointed by Allah to convey to people the foundations of belief and the pillars of Islam.