What is Islam?

Islam is complete submission to the will of Allah. It is comprised of five pillars:

1] Shahadah (creed)
Shahadah is the verbal commitment and pledge that there is only One God, Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. This is spoken upon conversion, usually in the mosque in front of witnesses, in Arabic with the phrase "Ash-hadu anla ilaha illal-Lahu Wahdahu la Sharika Lahu wa-ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu" which means "I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

2] Salat (prayer)
The performance of the five daily prayers required of Muslims. These prayers are al-Fajr (dawn), al-Zuhr (morning), al-Asr (midday), al-Maghrib (afternoon), and al-Isha (evening). A Muslim may perform these prayers at home, but it is preferred that they be done at Mosque.

3] Saum (fasting)
Along with salat, another important form of worship is fasting. It is obligatory for each Muslim, apart from some exemptions, to fast in the month of Ramadhan. During the hours of fasting, food and drink and conjugal relations between husband and wife are forbidden. It is enjoined that during fasting one should pay attention to remembrance of Allah and study the Holy Quran in abundance. One should try to curtail one's worldly pastimes as much as possible during Ramadhan, and to be particularly inclined towards charity and alms giving.

4] Zakat (charity)
Zakat is a part of devotion enjoined upon Muslims by the Holy Quran. It is a means where the well-off pay a set amount of their wealth. Zakat means to purify oneself. It is obligatory on Muslims to pay a little percentage of their accumulated wealth towards Zakat, which is used for the benefit of the needy and the poor. Zakat is not levied on one's property that is in personal use, rather on the assets which have a means of increasing and which are surplus to one's needs. It is a means of social justice and order. It teaches sympathy of the highest order.

5] Hajj (pilgrimage)
Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to the holy sites in Mecca which each adult Muslim, who can afford it, has to perform once in life time. Apart from the financial aspect, the ability to afford the pilgrimage also means that one is able to travel and perform the Hajj in peace. Muslims perform Hajj in order to visit for themselves the holy sites where their faith started. More importantly it is a pilgrimage to the Ka'aba, which we believe is the first place of worship ever built on this earth, Muslims thus refer to it as House of Allah.

There are also dietary restrictions and various other tenants of the faith which I will cover as the site grows. I am also developing a FAQ section which will cover those questions asked of me in email and the discussion forums.