Egypt's religious heritage includes three periods: the Ancient Pharaonic religion of Ra and Horus, the Christian era, and the Islamic period. The vast majority of the population now are Sunni Muslim. Egyptian Christians, also known as Coptic Christians, are a significant minority.
The belief of Islam is that there is only one God. Muslims refer to God as Allah. Devout Muslims attempt to pray five times a day, pay zakat, which means a tithe, fast during the month of Ramadan, and make a pilgrimage, called Hajj, to Mecca at least once a lifetime, unless prevented by illness or poverty. During the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. This is to observe Mohammed's receiving the revelations that were gathered into the Qur'an.
Egyptian villages are characterized by a strong sense of community. People come together to celebrate feasts, festivals, marriages and births. Islam provides a strong unifying bond. The Coptic Christians have their own pope, separate from the Pope in Rome. The Orthodox Coptic Church was founded by St. Mark and is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. Even though Friday is the official holiday in Egypt, the Copts are given time off from work to attend church on Sundays. Hymns are sung in Arabic as well as the old Coptic Language.