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Ramadan Starts For Muslims In Spain

News From : DagangHalal.com (22 Aug 2009)

STARTING from tonight’s waxing moon, more than a million Muslims all over Spain will begin the month of Ramadan.

They will be unable to eat, drink alcohol, smoke or have sexual relations within daylight hours, but at the end of the month the tradition culminates in a huge festival known as Aid al-Fitr, or ‘end of fast’.

Dr Luz Gomez, Arabic language professor at Madrid Autonomous University, explains that the tradition is upheld at this time of year since it is thought that God revealed the Qu’ran to Mohammed during this month.

Since then, praying five times a day, professing one’s faith, offering charity, make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime, and fasting during Ramadan are the five requirements that Muslims must adhere to.

Said Bouzra, a specialist in Muslim food, says the month of fasting is aimed at teaching those who follow the Islamic faith what life feels like for those who are poor and starving.

Children learn this from their parents, and are not obliged to fast, neither are the elderly, the sick, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, people with chronic health conditions or women who have their period.

Bouzra’s Halal Institute in Madrid teaches Muslims how to overcome food-cravings during Ramadan, but he assures that at no point is the fasting process allowed to have ill effects on a follower’s health.

He also reveals that Ramadan is an accepted practice in Spain nowadays – “not too different to the others, such as Christians fasting during Lent, and the vocabulary and traditions of Islam now form a large part of Spanish society.”

Spain recognises its Islamic residents’ rights to a day’s holiday for the end-of-Ramadan festival, with Muslims being permitted to swap it for a Catholic bank holiday at work.

On this day, families gather together, children receive presents and in Spain’s Islamic communities – such as those in Ceuta and Melilla – the streets are decorated.

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