“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.” [2:177]
Allah (through the Qur’an) helped his followers learn the appropriate way to live and worship. Through Allah’s guidelines, which are referred to as the Pillars of Islam, Muslims can be assured that they are living righteously in a way that is pleasing to God. These basic acts are to be viewed as the official framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith. The first pillar is the shahada. This creed professes monotheism and accepting Muhammad as God’s messenger. The second pillar is the salat or daily prayers. Believers should dedicate time each day to prayer. It is during this time that they can connect with God and self reflect. The third pillar is zakat or charitable giving. Sharing one’s wealth and helping others is necessary in Islam. For how can Allah help one when he himself is not helping those that are less fortunate. The fourth pillar is sawm, which refers to fasting during Ramadan. By fasting, the individual loses his reliance or attachment to material, earthly goods and instead focuses on purifying his heart and getting closer to God. The fifth and final pillar is the hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in an individual’s lifetime. With all of life’s temptations, it is important to establish certain acts that believers can follow in order to stay on the right path on their walk with God.