The Kingdom of Morocco is generally considered an Islamic country. The population is made up of more than 37 million people with at least 99% being Muslims. In my own community, the large percentage of people I encounter are of the Christian faith. This difference coupled with the influence of Islam on Moroccan culture & laws means that I have experienced a few things that I never would have thought about in my own secular society. One of the practices that stuck out this week was the fact that Friday is considered a holy day in Islam. The ways Fridays were treated are taken seriously as well.
This Islamic holy day is referred to as “jum’ah,” which comes from the same word as “gather.” This day is designated as a prayer day to worship. According to an encyclopedia source, Fridays also have a noon prayer service that free adult males must attend. In honor of Jum’ah, it is not uncommon for people to take off work or for businesses to close early. In fact, when visiting a university on Friday we were told several of the student lab workers took off in honor of the holy day. Additionally, the sale of alcohol is restricted in some cases on Fridays. We found this out when trying to purchase wine from Les Celliers de Meknes.
In my community at home, Sunday is regarded as a holy day as well. Many aspects of my Sunday are comparable to the aspects of their Friday. Businesses either close early or choose not to open at all. Many choose to gather at church services for worship. The sale of liquor on this holy day is prohibited. After reflecting, I am reminded of just how similar we all are. Even though there are many concepts that are new to me, these small familiarities make it clear that sometimes we’re more alike than we think we are!