It’s that time again, Ramadan. Here they say Ramazan. I am not sure why that is...maybe I have been saying it wrong my whole life...
At any rate, I know I have talked very little about Islam, but it is a big part of Azerbaijani culture, much more than Christianity is a part of American culture. I would venture to say that 95% of the Azerbaijani populous considers themselves Muslim with something like a 3 to 1 split between Sh’a and Sunni.
That being said, a lot of my internal struggles come wanting to work with Azerbaijani women in a way that is congruent with their faith. Self-admittedly, I know very little about Islam. I think I can name the 5 Pillars, but besides that, most of what I know is here-say. How many of you can name the 5 Pillars or any major tenants of Islam? It makes me feel ridiculously ignorant to know so little about one of the major world religions.
So what do I do? Well, this week, my college conversation club and I talked about fasting and faith. I also plan to read the Koran and maybe participate in a service or two. I also am going to challenge myself to a 7 day fast where I plan to participate in Namaz (5 times a day prayer). I am learning, which is a big PC goal.
(a couple links for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Azerbaijan [link] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan [link])