After taking Shahada, this page is intended to give you an introduction to the basic practices of Islam and different forms of worship. It is not necessary to learn, memorise or implement these practices all at once, but we encourage you to use this as a guide and refer back to this page throughout your journey in practising Islam. We encourage you to start adopting these practices at your own pace, and if you are interested in getting additional support, contact Benevolence or keep an eye out for our practical workshops throughout the year.

The Five Pillars of Islam

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Islam is built upon five: to worship Allah and to disbelieve in what is worshipped besides him, to establish prayer, to give charity, to perform Hajj pilgrimage to the house, and to fast the month of Ramadan.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 8, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 16

These are considered to be the five pillars upon which Islam and the Muslim way of life are based. Allah, the Most Praised and Exalted, has made these five acts obligatory on all capable Muslims throughout their lives, and as Muslims, we should strive to practice these pillars to the best of our ability.

1. Shahada – The Testimony of Faith

The path towards converting to Islam is a different experience for everyone, but the act of converting remains the same. You believe internally, and testify outwardly, the Shahada, or the testimony of faith.

Ash hadu an la ilaha ill-Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah

There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God

Saying the Shahada with sincerity is what brings someone into the folds of Islam, and maintaining belief in this creed is the first pillar of practising Islam.

2. Salaat – The Daily Prayer

Salaat is a ritual prayer performed five times throughout the day. It can be performed anywhere, in a mosque, at home, at work, outdoors, but should always be done facing the Qibla, the direction of Makkah. Salaat can be performed in a congregation or alone. There are particular steps to follow when praying salaat, which include glorifying Allah, reciting verses of the Quran, prostration, and wishing blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad.

There are some concessions made regarding who is required to perform salaat and when. For example, women are exempt from salaat for the duration of their menstruation. People unable to stand, kneel or prostrate can pray sitting, lying down, etc to the best of their ability. People travelling a great distance can shorten their salaat and adjust their prayer times in line with specific rules.

There are additional sunnah (preferred, optional) prayers that can be performed throughout the day.

Guide: How to Pray Salaat Step by Step

The steps for salaat are grouped into units called rakaat, which are repeated a number of times for each of the five prayers. The steps are the same for men and women.

The five daily prayers are:

Fajr – The Dawn Prayer


Dhuhr – The Midday Prayer

4 rakaat

Asr – The Afternoon Prayer

4 rakaat

Maghrib – The Sunset Prayer

3 rakaat

Isha – The Night Prayer

4 rakaat

These prayers can be performed between certain times of the day, which vary depending on location and the time of year. Mosques will usually display their prayer times each day, or several apps are available to help you keep track of prayer times in your location.

Muslim Pro (iPhone)
Muslim Pro (Android)
Prayer Times (Android)
Muslim Assist (iPhone)

Salaat requires a ritual purification known as wudhu (the minor ablution) or ghusl (the major ablution), which involve washing one’s self with water to varying degrees. Wudhu involves washing the hands, mouth, nose, forearms, face, head, ears and feet, and the ghusl essentially involves washing all parts of the body. The videos below outline the steps for each ablution and when they are required.

3. Zakat – Annual Charity

Zakat is an obligatory payment of 2.5% of one’s wealth (above a certain threshold) to charity each year. Not only is this a way to increase our devotion to Allah and purify our wealth, but acts as a social safety net to uplift the entire Muslim community. Zakat is traditionally donated to help particular causes:

1) Al-Fuqara’ (The poor)
2) Al-Masakin (The needy)
3) Al-‘Amilina ‘Alayha (Administrators of Zakat)
4) Al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum (Reconciliation of Hearts – Converts, Supporters of the Muslim Community)
5) Fir-Riqab (Slaves, Captives)
6) Al-Gharimin (Those in Debt)
7) Fi-Sabilillah (In the Cause of Allah)
8) Ibn al-Sabil (The Wayfarer)

Muslims in need of assistance may therefore be eligible to receive Zakat as a way to be supported by the local community in times of need.

Guide: What is Zakat?

4. Sawm – Fasting

In Islam, fasting involves abstaining from food, drink and sexual intercourse from sunrise to sunset, as well as making efforts to increase worship and abstain from other sinful acts. Fasting for the month of Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam, and is obligatory upon all able-bodied Muslims. Like salaat, women are exempt from fasting for the duration of menstruation.

Guide: A Beginner’s Guide to Fasting

5. Hajj – The Pilgrimage

Hajj is a sacred pilgrimage to Makkah, specifically the Kaaba, the first shrine of worship built for Allah by the Prophet Abraham and his son. All able-bodied and financially capable Muslims are required to undertake Hajj at least once in their lifetime. It takes place across five or six days during the month of Dhul-Hijjah, and its end is marked by the celebration of Eid al-Adha.

Guide: What is Hajj?

Other Fundamentals of Worship

Dhikr – Remembrance

Dhikr, meaning remembrance of Allah, is a form of worship involving repeating praises of Allah. There are many ways of performing dhikr, it is one of the simplest forms of worship and carries great benefits and rewards.

الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَتَطمَئِنُّ قُلوبُهُم بِذِكرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلا بِذِكرِ اللَّهِ تَطمَئِنُّ القُلوبُ
“Those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God –– truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace.”
– Surah Ar-Ra’d, 28

Some simple forms of dhikr and their benefits are outlined below.

Repetition of SubhanAllah (Glory to Allah) x 33, Alhumdulilah (praise be to Allah) x 33, Allahu Akbar(Allah is the greatest) x 3

Followed by La ilaha illallahu, wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in Qadir (there is no true god except Allah. He is One and He has no partner with Him. His is the sovereignty and His is the praise, and He is Omnipotent)

    • This is often recited with the use of tasbih, or prayer beads, to count repetitions
    • Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet stated whoever recites this dhikr after prayer “will have all his sins pardoned even if they may be as large as the foam on the surface of the sea.” – Sahih Muslim, 16

Repetition 100 x throughout one day of La ilaha illallahu, wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in Qadir (there is no true god except Allah. He is One and He has no partner with Him. His is the sovereignty and His is the praise, and He is Omnipotent)

    • Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet stated whoever repeats this 100 times throughout the day will have the reward of freeing 10 slaves, 100 good deeds written on their account, 100 bad deeds removed from his account, and be protected from Shaitan from morning to evening. – Sahih Muslim, 3293

Saying upon waking up:

La ilaha illallahu, wadahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in Qadir. Subahaanallahi walhamdu lillaahi, wa laa ilaha illallahu, wallaahu akbar, wa la hawla wa la Queeata illa bilaahil ‘Aliyyil ‘Adheem, Rabiighfir lee. There is no true god except Allah. He is One and He has no partner with Him. His is the sovereignty and His is the praise, and He is Omnipotent. Praise is to Allah. There is none worthy of worship but Allah. Allah is the Most Greatest. There is no might and no power except by Allah’s leave, the Exalted, the Mighty. My Lord, forgive me.

    • This is often recited with the use of tasbih, or prayer beads, to count repetitions
    • Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet stated whoever recites this dhikr after prayer “will have all his sins pardoned even if they may be as large as the foam on the surface of the sea.” – Sahih Muslim, 16

Dua – Supplication

Dua, also known as invocation, supplication or simply as prayer, means praying to or asking something something of Allah. It is also a profound of worship, and it is encouraged to make dua both in times of need and in times of goodness. Unlike the salaat (the daily prayers) there are no ritual requirements of dua, simply to talk to Allah. For example, to thank Him or ask what you need of Him. There is great reward in making dua and trusting in Allah to grant what is best for you, and no dua is too big or too small to ask. Some examples of dua include thanking Allah for blessings, asking forgiveness of sins, asking for increased sustenance, improved health, success in work or relationships, ease in difficult tasks, or protection for ourselves and loved ones. There are some examples of Prophetic duas in the Quran and Sunnah, or you can simply talk to Allah in your own words and in any language.

It is encouraged, but not obligatory, to raise both hands in front of you with the palms facing upwards while making dua.

Quran recitation

Reciting the Quran in Arabic, whether from memory, from reading the text or reading a transliteration, is another profound of worship with great reward. It is believed that we are rewarded for every letter of the Quran recited, even with difficulty or imperfection, and the Prophet told us “recite from me, even if a single verse.” – Sahih al Bukhari 3461.

When reciting the Quran, it is required that we try to beautify our voices, so you may hear recitations that sound almost like singing or chanting.

Reciting from the Quran can offer us benefits like protection and softening of the heart, and reciting certain verses on certain days offer particular benefits. For example, reciting Surah al-Kahf on Fridays offers protection from evil throughout the week, and reciting Ayatal Kursi before sleep offers protection from disturbance, evil and bad dreams until morning.

An English translation and transliteration of the Quran can be found here.

Islamic Holidays

The Islamic Calendar

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 354 or 355 days spread across 12 months. The beginning of each new month is based on the moon entering a new cycle. It determines the dates of Holy Days and special days of worship. It is not necessary to comprehend or memorise the Islamic calendar, as holidays and the commencement of new months are typically announced by mosques and Islamic community leaders for the general public. This may be based on calculations or on the actual sighting of a new moon.

A year on the Islamic calendar is slightly shorter than that of the common Western calendar (the Gregorian calendar) meaning the two calendars do not align. A new month on the Islamic calendar may commence in the middle of a month on the Western calendar, and a new Islamic year can commence in the middle of a year.

The first year recorded on the Islamic calendar was when Muhammad and the early Muslims migrated from Makkah to Madinah, about 622 CE. Therefore the Islamic calendar is 622 years behind the Western calendar, and the current Islamic year is 1445 AH (after Hijra [the migration]).

You can view the Islamic calendar alongside the Gregorian calendar here. 


Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar, which begins at the sighting of the crescent moon. The Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the final days of Ramadan, and the Quran was revealed during the month of Ramadan over a period of 23 years. Muslims commemorate Ramadan by fasting each day of the month from sunrise to sunset, as well as abstaining from sin and increasing in good deeds, and this practice is considered to be one of the pillars of Islam. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with the festival of Eid al-Fitr. 

See above for more information about fasting during Ramadan. 

The last ten days of Ramadan are considered to be the most blessed and the most beneficial. These are among the best days of the year to perform acts of worship and good deeds. Among the last ten nights of Ramadan is Laylat al Qadr, the ‘night of decree’ or ‘night of power,’ though it is unknown for sure on which night it occurs each year. This is the night when Allah is the most merciful to his creation, and the night on which our fate is decreed. Allah tells us in the Quran

“The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months,”

                                                                  – Surah Al Qadr, 3

and The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

“Whoever prays on Laylatul Qadr out of faith and sincerity, shall have all their past sins forgiven.”

                                                                                                          – Hadith, Sahih Bukhari and Muslim

Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr is one of two Eids and one of the major holidays on the Islamic calendar and celebrates the end of the Ramadan fast.  The festival was established by the Prophet Muhammad after he migrated to Medina, when the early Muslims completed their first month-long fast during Ramadan. Eid al Fitr is celebrated with a special prayer, usually performed in congregation in a Mosque or other community gathering place. The prayer consists of two rakat (units) of salaat as well as additional glorification of Allah. After the prayer, Muslims will typically gather with their family or attend a community event, share food and exchange gifts in celebration.

Dhul Hijjah

Dhull Hijjah is the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar, and one of the holiest periods of the year. The first ten days of Dhil Hijjah are considered the best days of the calendar year, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.”

                                                                                                                         – Hadith, Sahih Bukhari

Two major events take place within these 10 days; Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah following the footsteps of the Prophet, and Eid al-Adha, which commemorates the devotion of the Prophet Ibrahim to Allah and his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael on Allah’s command. For those unable to undertake Hajj, the first 10 days of the month of Dhul Hijjah are commemorated with increased worship and devotion to Allah, such as through giving charity, increasing good deeds, fasting and increasing prayer.

Day of Arafah

The day of Arafah occurs on the 9th of the month of Dhul Hijjah, the day before Eid al-Adha. On this day, those undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage make their way to Mount Arafah in Makkah, the l0cation where the Prophet Muhammad made the final sermon before his death and completed the revelation of the Quran. Muslims around the world who are not completing Hajj often commemorate this day by fasting, giving charity, increasing prayer and other good deeds. It is a sunnah (recommended, encouraged) practice to fast from dawn to dusk on this day, and it is believed that this along with sincere repentance can earn Allah’s forgiveness for all sins of the previous and following year. The day of Arafah is among the best days to seek the forgiveness of Allah, as the Prophet Muhammad told us

“There is no day wherein Allah (SWT) sets free more slaves from Hellfire than the Day of Arafah.”

                                                                                                                                     – Hadith, Sahih Muslim

Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha is the second Eid celebration, occuring at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage season. It honours the devotion of the Prophet Ibrahim to Allah, and his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael on Allah’s command. At the last moment, Allah replaced Ismael with a sheep for slaughter. Allah’s command was a test for Ibrahim, of his commitment to Allah and willingness to obey his Lord’s command without question. For this reason, Eid al-Adha means the festival of sacrifice. 

Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha by sacrificing livestock, in order to replicate the sacrifice made by Ibrahim. To make use of the sacrifice, the meat is distributed among families and communities, and the remnants are utilised as needed. This animal sacrifice is known as Qurban, and it is an obligation upon each Muslim household that must be completed before the end of Eid al-Adha. Overseas, it is common to purchase an animal and slaughter it on behalf of one’s family or neighbourhood. In the West, it is more common to donate money towards the purchase of an animal overseas, which is then sacrificed and distributed among those who cannot afford their own Qurban, allowing them to share a meal in celebration of Eid.

Day of Ashura

The day of Ashura is the 10th day of  Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. It commemorates Allah parting the Red Sea, freeing the Prophet Musa and his people from the tyrannical Pharoah. It is sunnah (preferred, encouraged) to fast on the day of Ashura, a tradition that was started by the Prophet Musa to show his gratitude to Allah as his people fled Egypt. The Prophet Muhammad told us there is great reward in fasting and performing other forms of worship on this day, saying

“Whoever fasts Ashura it is as if he fasted the entire year. And whoever gives charity this day it is like the charity of an entire year.”

                                                                                                                                                                                    – Ibn Rajab Lat’if al-Ma’arif

Rabi al-Awwal

Rabi al-Awwal is the third month on the Islamic calendar and marks the birth month of the Prophet Muhammad. There are no specific obligatory or sunnah practices to commemorate the Prophet’s birth, but it is a spiritually significant month in which Muslims strive to connect with the Prophet and emulate his way of life.

Wills & Funerals

As a convert or reconnecting Muslim, in can be difficult to navigate and make arrangements for one’s passing. The following section gives a brief guide to Islamic rituals in death and the rights of the deceased in our communities.

Like most religions, Islam gives us specific funeral rites which are performed to honour and seek pardon for the dead. An Islamic funeral service is called a Janazah prayer, and is performed as soon as possible after a person’s passing. Performing janazah prayers is a communal obligation, and there is great reward in attending and praying for the dead. A janazah prayer is typically performed in a Mosque, but it is open for all to attend and encouraged for any non-Muslim family, friends or significant others of the deceased to attend. It is not required to perform a eulogy, but it is not prohibited and there is no issue with hearing from family or friends of the deceased and speaking well of the deceased to honour their memory.

Prior to the funeral service, ghusul (the major ablution) is performed to wash the body and ensure physical and spiritual purity. The body is covered in a shroud and is typically placed in the coffin for the duration of the funeral. Unlike the typical Western tradition, the shrouded body is buried straight in the earth rather than encased in a coffin. Cremation is not permitted in Islam, as it is important not to damage or dishonour the physical body given by Allah, even after death.

The Australian National Imam’s Council, in partnership with legal practitioners, has drafted a free Revert Burial Wishes Document to make the process of funeral arrangements easier for converts in Australia. The document sets out the funeral and burial rites prescribed in the Quran and Sunnah and you can sign the document and store it in a safe place or with a trusted person in order to affirm your desire to be buried in accordance with the Islamic tradition.

ANIC Burial Wishes Document