Islam in Afghani Culture

Islam is practiced by the majority of the population and governs much of their personal, political, economic and legal lives. Friday is the Muslim holy day. Most shops and offices will be closed. Government offices and businesses may also close on Thursday, making the weekend Thursday and Friday.

About: Islam consists of individuals who believe in Allah, a deity whose teachings its followers believe were recorded, verbatim, by the last prophet, Muhammad.

Literal Meaning: Islam is derived from the Arabic root "Salema": peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. A Muslim is one who is a believer in One God (Allah) and follows Islam.

Years Formed: 610-622 CE.

Founder: Prophet Muhammad. According to the Qur'an, all people who follow God's revealed guidance and the messengers sent with it submit to that guidance. Those who submit are considered Muslims (including Adam, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, etc.).

Geographical distribution and predominance: There are approximately 1.6 billion. By the percentage of the total population in a region considering themselves Muslim, 24.8% in Asia-Oceania, 91.2% in the Middle East-North Africa, 29.6% in Sub-Saharan Africa, around 6.0% in Europe, and 0.6% in the Americas.

Holy Days:
   Ramadan* (month of fasting)
   Eid-ul Adha (feast of the sacrifice)
   Eid-ul Fitr (sweet festival at the end of Ramadan).

Place of origin: Mecca at Mount Hira (in Saudi Arabia)

Place of worship: Mosque or any place which is considered clean by Islamic standards.

   1. Five pillars
   2. Prayer five times daily
   3. Fasting during Ramadan
   4. Charity to the poor (zakat)
   5. Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj).

Sacred Texts: The Qur'an is the only holy text of Islam. The Hadith, (the sayings of Muhammad), and the actions/traditions he performed are also highly revered.

Important Tenets: The Five Pillars of Islam among Sunni Muslims and the Seven Pillars of Islam among Shia Muslims. The Shia Twelvers also have the Ancillaries of the Faith.

* During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. Foreigners are not required to fast; however, they must not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public.