More than 97% of Pakistan's population is Muslim. The remaining 3% is made up of Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and Christians. Islam is the official religion of Pakistan. A Federal Shariat Court has been set up to review the country's laws in the light of the Islamic penal code. Muslims are guided by the Quran, or Koran, the holy book, which they believe was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

Islam, Christianity and Judaism share many common beliefs and traditions. The giving of alms and compassion for the poor are stressed in these religions. Muslims are obliged to give 2.5% of their wealth to the needy. All three religions also stress the transitory nature of life on earth as a preparation for the hereafter.

Devout Muslims must heed the call of prayer five times every day. They pray facing the city of Mecca in Saudia Arabia. Most Muslims will arrange their schedules according to the prayer times. The prayer is preceded by the required ablution, which means washing the face, hands and feet. Friday is the Muslim holy day and most Pakistanis participate in congregational prayers in the mosque.

Once a year, there is Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. No food or drink is permitted from dawn to dusk. The end of this month is celebrated with special meals and festivities for Eid-al-Fitr. Muslims are also required to perform the Hajj, a holy pilgrimage to Mecca, once in their lifetime if they are financially able to do so. The last day of the pilgrimage commemorates the second major festival of Islamic belief,Eid-al-Adha.

The Five Pillars of Islam

Tawheed: Belief in the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Mohammed
Salaat: Five daily prayers
Zakaat: The giving of alms to the needy
Sawim: Fasting during the month of Ramadan
Haj: Pilgrimage to Mecca