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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

The Five Pillars of Islam

A series of short films on the five pillars of Islam - the five duties obligatory for all Muslims - told through objects from Oxford collections.

Detail of a sitarah made for the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, Egypt, 1791-1792

Introduction

In this short film, the Yousef Jameel Curator of Islamic Art introduces the five pillars of Islam using five key objects from Oxford University collections.

Transcript

Hello, my name is Francesca Leoni and I am the Yousef Jameel Curator of Islamic art at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. Today we are going to talk about the five pillars of Islam or arkan al-Islam. These are: the shahada (profession of faith); the salat (prayer); the zakat (almsgiving); the sawm (fasting), and the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

The five pillars represent the five duties obligatory for all Muslims. A set of key rituals has been established around them. Although the requirements of each pillar have developed over the course of several centuries and with minor variations among the different Muslim communities, today their observance and performance are fairly consistent throughout the Muslim world.

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