There are many reasons why people are scared to talk religion—the my-religion-is-better-than-yours speech, the fear of being converted or the fact that many people just don’t give a damn, are a few examples.
Whichever the reason, religion is misunderstood. However, if people could make time to have a face-to-face conversation, an understanding could arise, both individually and congregationally.
At the age of 23, Fresno State finance major Sultan Almlafakah came to America from Saudi Arabia to get an education and learn a second language. Almlafakah is a Muslim. This is his story.
“A lot of people are open minded, it’s when people are close minded that they don’t like to talk about religion,” said Almlafakah.
There are Five Pillars of Islam—the duties of every Muslim:
Shahada: profession of faith
Zakat: giving of alms
Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca, home of The Sacred Mosque Masjid al-Haram
On Sept. 10, 2010, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ended. During the 30 days of Ramadan “fasting starts at sunrise and ends at sunset,” explained, the now, 27-year-old.
There are three types of Sawm recognized in the Quran: ritual fasting, repentance fasting and ascetic fasting. Ritual fasting is only practiced in the month of Ramadan when Muslims abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse.
Muslims pray five daily ritual prayers annually called the Salah:
Fajr, the dawn prayer
Dhuhr, the noon prayer
Asr, the afternoon prayer
Maghrib, the sunset prayer
Isha’a, the night prayer
Families get together each night and break their fast. Each night is in a different relative’s home.
“For example, the first day would be in my home, the second day would be in my brothers and so on and so forth,” said Almlafakah.
“My family is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,” added Almlafakah. “The hardest part about being gone is missing them, especially, in this month, in Ramadan. It’s the month for God in Islam. It’s a month of family.”
Muslim families take food to the mosque regularly. This giving of alms is called Zakat. However, during Ramadan, donating food and money to the poor is magnified.
“I get thirsty. But, I do it because I believe in it,” said Almlafakah. “If poor people can handle these conditions, then I can do as they do.”
“It’s a religious thing but besides that, it’s healthy for people.”