and Allah said "And proclaim the pilgramage among men; they will come to thee on foot and on every kind of camel. Lean on account of Journeys through deep and distant mountain highways" Surah 22 ~ Al Hajj Part 27

Alot of practicing Scholars and Muslims are of the oppnion that just because one has been born in to Islam does not neccessarily make you a Muslim until and unless the very 5 pillars or conditions that make up Islam are observed in every day - salah (prayers), day / month - Zakah (charity), year - sawm (fasting) and at least once in a lifetime - hajj (pilgrimage) ~ only one is able to perform or afford.

 

Shahada

 

The declaration of faith - the faith itself is termed as Ehmaan

"Ashhaduana laaha illah-lah, Ashhaduana Muhammad ara rasuulillah”

"I testify there is none worthy of worship except Allah (God) and I testify Muhammad is the last messenger of Allah (God)"

Is recited to affirm the faith, during the shahda cermony.

 

 

Salaah

 

Salaah is the name for the obligatory prayers that are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and Allah (God)

 

Zakah is a charity obligation on all Muslims. An important principle of Islam is that everything belongs to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word Zakah means both "purification" and "growth." Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need and for the society in general. Like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.

However, Islam considers many things as an act of charity. E.g. smiling at another person, enquiring after a sick person's health, attending some ones burial and making dua (prayer) for them, helping a sitting person up or helping the blind cross the road. Every Muslim person is expected to perform the same number of charitable acts as the digits of their hands and feet every day.

 

Every year during the month of Ramadan, all practicing Muslims fast from dawn until sundown - abstaining from food, drink, impure thoughts or sexual relations with their spouses.

Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are menstruating, pregnant or nursing, are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year if they are healthy and able. Children begin to fast (and to observe prayers) from puberty, although many start earlier. Although fasting is beneficial to health, it is mainly a method of self-purification and self-restraint. By cutting oneself from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person focuses on his or her purpose in life by constantly being aware of the presence of God. God states in the Qur'an:

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-restraint." (Qur'an Surah 2 - Al Baqarah ~ The Cow: Part 183)

 

 

Hajj (Pilgrimage)

 

The pilgrimage to Mecca (Makah) (the hajj) is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to do so. Nevertheless, over two million people go to Makah (Mecca)each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. The annual hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, so that hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments that strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God. The rites of the hajj, which has its origins to Abraham origin, include going around the Qibla (Ka'bah) seven times, and going seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa as did Hajar (Hagar Abraham's wife) during her search for water. The pilgrims later stand together on the wide plains of 'Arafat (a large expanse of desert outside Makah) and join in prayer for God's forgiveness, in what is often thought as a preview of the Day of Judgment. The close of the hajj is marked by a festival, the 'Idd al Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. This and the Idd ul Fitr, a festive day celebrating the end of Ramadan, is the two holidays of the Islamic calendar