|About 90% of Jordanians are Sunni Muslims. There
are also a few thousand Shi'ite Muslims and small number of Christians,
including members of Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches,
who trace their roots to the earliest Christian churches. A small group
of Druze lives in the northern part of the country near Syria. Druze is
a Muslim sect whose followers live apart from other Muslims and share some
beliefs with Jews and Christians.
In Jordan, there is no separation of church and
state as there is in Canada. Even the King must be not only Muslim, but
a child of Muslim parents. However, the constitution guarantees freedom
of religion for its citizens, and the government sets aside a certain percentage
of seats in the parliament for minority groups.
|The religion of Islam was established by the prophet
Mohammed in the 7th century. The holy book is the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran contains
instructions for many facets of life, and is regarded as the supreme authority
on all matters. For example, it bans the use of alcohol or drugs, specifies
the differences between men's and women's inheritances, and gives a strict
order and ritual for prayers.
of Jordan's Sunni Muslims are non-Arabs who are known as Circassians. These
are the descendants of people who fled persecution in Russia in the 19th
century and settled in Jordan.
|The essential beliefs and practices of Muslims
are known as the Five Pillars of Islam. The first, shahada,
means acknowledging that there is only one God (Allah) and that
his prophet is Mohammed. The second, salat, is a duty to pray five
times daily. The third, zakat, means sharing with the poor. The
fourth, saum, means fasting from sunrise to sunset during the holy
month of Ramadan. This commemorates the month in which Islam's holy
book, the Qu'ran, was first revealed to the prophet Mohammed. The fifth
pillar, hajj, means to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the site of the
holiest Islamic mosque. Every Muslim who is in good health and can afford
it is expected to make the journey at least once.