|Islam is the state religion, and the King is the
religious leader, also known as the sherif, a descendent of the
Prophet Mohammed. Almost all Moroccans are Muslim and follow the Sunni
or Maliki traditions.
The Quran is the holy book of Islam and is regarded as the authority on religious matters. Muslims are required to follow five main observances or "pillars" of faith. First, Muslims must believe and testify that there is no other god but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet. Second, they must pray five times daily. Muezzins chant the call to prayers from atop minarets (towers) beside the mosques. Muslims may pray wherever they are, or they may go to the mosque for group prayers.
|The third obligation is to observe the fast of
Ramadan during the ninth month of the Muslim year. The fourth obligation
is to provide money to help the poor. The final requirement is to make
at least one trip to Mecca during ones lifetime if at all possible. Those
who go on a pilgrimage dress in a white garment and walk around the Kaaba
(the stone of Abraham) in Mecca seven times.
Friday is Islams holy day, known as salat juma. Although it remains a typical working day, workers are given an extended break to allow them to attend congregational prayers at the mosque.
|Although in Islam it is not customary to pray to saints, Morocco has a long tradition of honouring holy men, known as marabouts. The marabouts are buried in whitewashed, domed buildings known as koubbas. People go to these tombs to ask the marabouts for favours or to pray. Moroccos best-known marabout was Moulay Idriss, the great-grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. He died in 791. The town near Fez where Moulay Idriss was buried is named after him and is considered a holy place by Moroccans.|