The 'Five Pillars' of Islam are the foundation of Muslim life:
Faith or belief in the Oneness of God and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad;
Establishment of the daily prayers;
Concern for and almsgiving to the needy;
Self-purification through fasting; and
The pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.
An important principle of Islam is that everything belongs to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakah means both "purification" and "growth." Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need and for the society in general. Like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakah individually. This involves the annual payment of a fortieth of one's capital, excluding such items as primary residence, car and professional tools.