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Qwiz5 Quizbowl Essentials - Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam are the central actions required of members of the Islamic faith. The five pillars are outlined in the Hadith of Gabriel. While exceptions are made based on health, age and economic ability, the general expectation is that faithful Muslims adhere to all five pillars.

Five Pillars of Islam.  Part of the Qwiz5 series by Qwiz Quizbowl Camp, written to help quiz bowl teams power more tossups!

By analyzing questions, you can see patterns emerge, patterns that will help you answer questions. Qwiz5 is all about those patterns. In each installment of Qwiz5, we take an answer line and look at five of its most common clues. Here we explore five clues that will help you answer a tossup on the Five Pillars of Islam.


Shahada is the profession of faith required of all Muslims. It states that “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”, emphasizing the monotheistic nature of Islam (also known as tawhid). Reciting the Shahada is essential for conversion and is part of daily prayers. It is also to be recited immediately preceding death.


Salat is the ritual prayer that must be offered five times daily: dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and night. The call to prayer (or adhan) is announced by a leader known as a muezzin, oftentimes from Mosque towers known as minarets. The adherents must then perform wudu (ritual washing), face the direction of Mecca (known as qibla), and recite prayers (in cycles known as raka’at).


Zakat is charitable giving (or almsgiving). A Muslim with means (known as nisab) is expected to give 2.5% of their assets to the poor. Donations above the 2.5% are optional and are known as sadaqah, or voluntary charity.


Sawm is fasting that is required during the month of Ramadan. During sawm, adherents are to abstain from eating and drinking between dawn and dusk. Before dawn prayers, fasters eat a meal known as suhur. The fast is broken at night by a meal known as iftar, which traditionally begins by eating a date. The day that sawm ends is a holiday known as Eid-al-Fitr, notable for its elaborate feasts.


Hajj is the pilgrimage that all Muslims are required to make to Mecca once in their lifetime. During the hajj, adherents perform several rituals, including circling the Kaaba seven times and symbolically stoning the Devil at Mina.


Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out:

* Read more about the Five Pillars (and their influence on art) on the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

* Al-Jazeera published a great infographic explaining the Hajj visually.

* What is eaten at Eid-al-Fitr feasts around the world? The Kitchn has the scoop (and recipes!)

* This video is a quick visual overview of the Five Pillars:


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