The purpose of the creation of man, according to Islam, is that he should worship Allah. Allah says in the Holy Quran:
And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me. (51:57)
Worship means total obedience to the commands of Allah. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) brought the message of God and explained all the commandments concerning the religion of Islam.
Islam has five basic duties which a Muslim has to perform. They are known as the Five Fundamentals of Islam or the Five Pillars of Islam.
The first pillar of Islam is the Islamic declaration of faith, i.e. to bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. The oneness of God is the basis of our belief in Islam.
The second pillar is called Salat, i.e. to perform Prayer in a prescribed form.
The third pillar is called Zakat, a form of levy which Muslims of means pay annually in cash or kind, and is spent for good causes mentioned in the Holy Quran.
The fourth pillar is called Saum, i.e. to keep fasts in the month of Ramadan.
The fifth pillar is called Hajj, i.e. to perform pilgrimage to the Ka‘bah in Mecca least once in the lifetime of a Muslim.
Of all religious obligations, Islam has laid greatest emphasis on the institution of Salat. It is enjoined upon every Muslim to pray five times a day. Besides the five obligatory Prayers, there are other types of Prayers which are optional.
A Muslim takes the spiritual side of life as seriously as a worldly person takes the material side of it. As air and food are essential for our physical life, likewise, we cannot survive spiritually without offering Salat or Prayer regularly in different parts of the day.
Salat or Prayer, consists of various postures, i.e. Standing called Qiyam, Bowing down called Ruku‘, Prostration called Sajdah and Sitting called Qa‘dah. During each posture prescribed phrases are to be recited. As these phrases are in Arabic, every Muslim is required not only to memorise these verses but also to know their meaning so that the worshipper knows what he is saying to his Lord during the Prayer.