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The Five Pillars of Islam

By Mark Warner
Age Range: 7 to 11

1) Ask the children what the word community means (a group of people who live together, work together, or have the same interests and hobbies, and do things together). Explain that they belong to a community - their school.
Explain that some communities do certain things together to keep the community together, and to give everyone a sense of being in that community. Ask the children what things they do together, to create a sense of community in the school (assemblies, uniform, lunch together, same timetable etc.).

2) Split the class into two. Ask one group to imagine that they go to one school (give the school a name), and the other group to imagine that they go to a different school (with a different name). Explain that the children in the two schools know nothing about each other, but the schools are soon going to joint together into one large school. What could they do together which would create a strong sense of community?
After they have discussed this, ask them to feedback their ideas to the rest of the class.

3) Explain that people of different religions do certain things to create a strong sense of community, even though they may have never met, and live in different places around the world.
Explain that Muslim people (who follow Islam) have five duties which are called the Five Pillars of Islam. Every Muslim tries to carry out these five things, and it helps them to feel that they are members of the worldwide Muslim community.

Tell the children about the Five Pillars (described below).

  • SHAHADAH. This Pillar is believing and saying the words. “There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”.
  • SALAH. This Pillar is praying five times a day. There are set prayers which Muslims should say, and all Muslims should face Mecca in Arabia when praying, and should pray on a prayer mat. People should wash before they pray. There are fixed movements, which include kneeling with the forehead placed on the ground in front. This expresses the servant status of the human being in relation to Allah.
  • ZAKAH. Each year, Muslims are supposed to give a fixed proportion of their savings for endeavours such as helping the poor. In this way, they believe that their wealth is “made pure”
  • SAWM. Refraining from food and drink during the month of Ramadan during daylight hours.
  • HAJJ. This is making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your life, if it can be afforded.

4) Get the children to create a poster explain the Five Pillars of Islam to children and adults who know nothing about them. The children could use any reference material available, such as books, pictures and CD-ROM.


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