THE Islamic community in the Balearics yesterday began its most important holy festival of the calendar, the Feast of Ramadan.
The term feast is perhaps misleading because it is a time of abstinence and fasting which starts from the waxing of the moon and ends when the lunar month is complete. Luz Gomez, a doctor of Arabic studies at the University of Madrid explained yesterday: Ramadan is special because it is believed that it was in this month that God revealed the sacred book of Islam, the Koran, to the prophet Mohammed. The Koran stipulates the basic tenets of the faith which are to pray five times a day, profess the faith, give alms to the needy, journey to the holy city of Mecca at least once in a lifetime and observe abstinence in Ramadan. It is a month of devotion when Muslims must refrain from smoking, drinking and sexual relations. Food intake is permitted only after daylight hours. Those excused the ritual are diabetics, the very elderly, pregnant women and those who are breast feeding, said Muslim League spokeswoman in the Balearics, Noredinne Belmeddah.
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