This is more of a celebratory post for Tracy, and a small chastising one to you all (um, my faithful readers). Tracy J. won the Ramadan 2010 Löki's Effort to Increase Friends' and Familys' Knowledge of Islam (and Ramadan) [link] Contest!
Of course, she was the only one who submitted contest questionnaire answers (and she got every answer correct).
Seriously, folks. A beautiful, Azeri handmade silk scarf was not enough incentive?
Anyway, here are her answers. Congratulations Tracy (who also happens to be a PC Nominee [link]!) Your scarf is on its way, today.
1. The holy book of Islam is called the Qur'an.
2. The Five Pillars of Islam are the five obligations every Muslim must do in order to live a good and faithful life.
3. These obligations are (1) sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith (Shahadah); (2) performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day (Salat); (3) paying an alms tax to benefit the poor and the needy (Zakat); (4) fasting during the month of Ramadan (Sawm); and (5) taking a pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj).
4. The 9th month of the Islamic calendar is called Ramadan.
5. During this month, Muslims fast, offer up more prayers and focus more on worship and contemplation.
6. Breaking one's fast at the end of the day during the holy month is called Iftar.
7. The greater Jihad is the believer's struggle to live life centered around Islam. I think it's the greater Jihad (struggle) because it seems fairly easy to build your community according to your shared faith and to defend your faith against all others. However, given human nature, it is most difficult to live your life according to all of the "requirements" set forth by any particular faith. The world pulls us in many different directions which may not be in line with what our faith calls for/requires. Therefore, the greatest struggle (Jihad) of all is the personal struggle to live, proverbially, by the book.
8. One of the main differences between Sunni and Shi'a is the determination of who was the successor of the Prophet Mohammad [peace be upon him]. Sunnis believe it was Abu Bakr. Shi'as believe it was Mohammad's cousin Ali.
9. Sufism is not a sect of Islam. It is an aspect (Islamic mysticism).
10. Hijab is a barrier/cover.
Bonus: (1) Indonesia; (2) Pakistan; (3) Bangladesh; (4) Nigeria; (5) Egypt; (6) Turkey; (7) Iran; (8) Sudan; (9) Algeria; (10) Afghanistan
Just as a sidenote: I LOVE your blog!! I am a Peace Corps nominee and I look forward to becoming a volunteer! I wish you all the best along your journey to self-discovery! :)