religion and ramadan

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Islam is the official religion of the UAE and is widely practised. The Islamic holy day is Friday and there are five pillars of Islam, which all Muslims must follow: the Profession of Faith, Prayer, Charity, Fasting, and the Pilgrimage to Makkah. Additionally, a Muslim is required to pray (facing Makkah) five times a day. The times vary according to the position of the sun, when the modern-day call to prayer is transmitted through loudspeakers on mosque minarets.

The UAE Constitution provides for freedom of religion in accordance with established customs. Abu Dhabi is tolerant of other religions, with people being free to practice their religious beliefs, so long as they do not interfere with Islam. Non-Muslims can get an insight into Islam through complimentary guided tours of the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world's largest mosques. The tours run at different times during the week.

Ramadan is the holy month in which Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Holy Quran (Islam's holy book). It’s a time of fasting and Muslims abstain from all food, drink, smoking and unclean thoughts or activities between dawn and dusk. At sunset, the fast is broken with the Iftar feast, the timings of which are published in all daily newspapers and online. Ramadan ends with a three-day celebration and holiday called Eid Al Fitr, which is characterised by gifts being given among families, friends, neighbours, and charities.

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