"There is no God but Allah, ("The God"), and Mohammed is the prophet of God." This is the fundamental creed of Muslim beliefs, called the Shahadah. Beginning somewhere in the 6th century C.E., Mohammed began his recitation otherwise known as the Koran. Muslims contrast other religions in various ways, but are closer to Christianity and Judaism than any other religions. The religion of Islam has a number of rituals which they closely cover throughout the five pillars and the Koran. Added to the Koran, there are oral traditions collected in the Hadith, the Qiyas, and the consensus of the community in the Ijma.
Shahadah is the first of the five pillars. Muslims bear witness that Mohammed is the prophet of god and that there is only Allah. Even the name "Muslim" means "one who submits to God." The second pillar is Salat, or prayer. Muslims pray five times daily: dawn, noon, mid-noon, sunset, and finally after dark. The muezzin is the one that calls the Muslims to pray in a minaret. At prayer there are rhythmic actions, a direction to face when praying. One must face in the direction of the mihrab in a Mosque, which faces towards Mecca. A mosque is a place of prostration for the Muslims where one kneels and then lowers the upper part of the body to the floor. Pillar number three is Zakat, which is voluntary, generous, and charitable giving. Next is Saum, which is during Ramadan. Ramadan is the month that saum (fasting) takes place. This is to reflect the time in which Mohammed, in 624, is at the Battle of Badr. The fast occurs every twenty-four hours, where it begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. No food, no drink, and no sex can happen during the fasting hours. Of course, there are exceptions with such people as the sickly, travelers, and pregnant women. The fast ends with a three day party, Id-al-Fitr, where gifts are exchanged. Finally, the fifth pillar is the Hajj. This is a pilgrimage that every Muslim ought to take sometime in his/her life to Mecca.