Morocco’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs is sending 422 imams to Europe for religious guidance during Ramadan.
In an effort to ensure the unity of their community and the preservation of their mosques abroad, scholars will be sent to France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, among other countries the ministry explained.
Morocco has marketed itself as an oasis of religious tolerance and has offered training to imams and male and female preachers of Islam from Africa and Europe on what it describes as moderate Islam.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.
This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which form the basis of how Muslims live their lives. The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity and making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating.
Fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with a natural phenomenon such as the midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca.
While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations.
Muslims are also instructed to refrain from sinful behavior that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting except in self-defense.
Eid al-Fitr which is celebrated for one, two or three days, marks the end of Ramadan. It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid. Also, a specific prayer is nominated for this day.
As another rituals, Muslims praise God in a loud voice while going to the Eid prayer: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar” etc.
Recitation ceases when they get to the place of Eid or once the Imam commences activities. The Eid prayer is performed in congregation in open areas like fields or community centers or at mosques.
The Eid prayer is followed by the sermon and then a supplication asking for Allah’s forgiveness, mercy, peace and blessings for all living beings across the world.
After the prayers, Muslims visit their relatives, friends and acquaintances or hold large communal celebrations in homes, community centres or rented halls. Eid gifts, known as Eidi, are frequently given at Eid to children and immediate relatives.
Ramadan starts either on May 5 or 6 this year depending on the sighting of the crescent moon, and lasts 29-30 days.
Source: Voice of Europe