|Most Kuwaiti citizens are Muslims and follow the
religion of Islam. It is rooted in the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed
who lived in Western Arabia from 571 A.D. to 632 A.D. Islam is centred
on the Shahadah, the testimony to the oneness of Allah or
God, and the affirmation of Mohammed as his prophet. Observant Muslims
perform the Salat, the five ritual prayers of a day, pay the zakat,
religious alms, and observe the Saum, ritual fasting, throughout
the month of Ramadan. They also attempt to perform Hajj,
the ritual pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in their lifetimes.
Most Muslims today are one of two major sects,
Sunni or Shiite. They share most rituals, but are divided on doctrine.
Most Kuwaitis adhere to the Sunni sect of Islam, but a minority are Shiite.
|New and elaborate mosques have been built, calling
people to pray five times a day. Men perform the ritual prayers at mosques,
but women usually pray at home. On Fridays, around noon, the mosques are
filled with men attending the congregational prayers. The mosques are particularly
active during the fasting month of Ramadan when women also pray there,
usually behind the men. During this month, eating is forbidden during daylight,
activities are minimized and lavish meals are served at sunset to friends
and family. Special night-time prayers draw men to the mosque.