Muslims only pray in the mosque

Life with Allah

Pray five times a day? Go to the mosque on Fridays and no presents at Christmas? What is it like as a Muslim in Germany? We asked children who believe in Allah about it

Once a year Alpai and Hakim are the heroes in their class. Because while the others have to go to school, the two 13-year-olds have time off. After that, they always bring a mountain of sweets with them. Why? The sugar festival. With this, the Muslims celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Alpai and Hakim are Muslims, that's what the followers of Islam call themselves. The word Islam is Arabic and means devotion, acceptance, or submission. The word "Muslim" means: "He who turns to God". Just like all other Muslims, Alpai and Hakim also believe in Allah. That is why they also live according to the rules of the Koran, the holy book of Muslims - at least most of the time.

Break bread falls flat

The rules of the Koran are pretty strict and it is therefore not always easy to adhere to them. An example? During the month of fasting, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. Even the lunch break will then fall flat.

Alpai and Hakim are therefore very happy that they are still children and therefore do not have to fast as strictly as adults. "And we get the sweets anyway," says Alpai happily. He actually thinks it's great to be a Muslim, but sometimes it is "pretty shit."

Buddy Hakim nods. "I've also been hit on stupidly," he says. It was particularly bad after September 11th. "Suddenly everyone believed that all Muslims were terrorists," complains Alpai and says: "That is because most of them have no idea about Islam. They do not know that the Koran actually forbids terrorism and the terrorists only the religion as a pretext for their crimes. "

A lecture on Islam

A few weeks ago, the two of them gave a lecture on Islam. For one lesson they told their classmates the most important things about their religion. "Then the others could ask questions," says Hakim and shakes his head in horror. "It's amazing what kind of things they wanted to know."

One girl, Vanessa, also wanted to know what she has to do to become a Muslim. "She was amazed when we told her how easy it is," says Alpai. Vanessa would only have to recite the Shahada, the Islamic creed: "I confess that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his prophet." That's it! Then the Christian Vanessa would have become a Muslim. The Muslims believe in any case that every person comes into the world as a Muslim. Anyone who professes another religion afterwards has just taken the wrong path.

Incidentally, according to the Koran, the creed should also be the last sentence a Muslim says in his life.

The Shahada is the message that Allah entrusted to his Prophet Muhammad about 600 years ago. And because that happened in the ninth month of Rahmadan, Muslims fast at that time every year. The Rahmadan is also used to study the holy book, the Kora, in great detail.

Complicated rules

Of course, the Koran contains many other rules as well. Most of them are difficult to understand for non-Muslims. Alpai and Hakim also admit that. In their presentation they therefore tried to explain everything as simply as possible.

You told your classmates that the Koran also includes many people from the Bible, for example Jesus. For the Muslims, however, he is not the Son of God, but just a completely normal prophet and therefore not as important as Muhammad, the last prophet.

This is far from the only thing that Christians and Muslims have in common, just like Christians, Muslims also have their commandments - not ten, but only five. These commandments are called the cornerstones of Islam.

The first cornerstone is the creed, because through it a person finally becomes a Muslim. Anyone who has professed Islam once is expected to pray five times a day: at sunrise, at noon, in the late afternoon, at sunset and after sunset. But that's not all. Fasting in Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca are also compulsory for devout Muslims. They must also give alms to the poor in the world.

In Islamic countries, the muezzin calls the Muslims from the minaret, the tower of the mosque, to prayer. Friday prayer is particularly important. Because Friday is the highlight of the week for Muslims - just as Sunday is for Christians. Therefore, on Friday the imam, the prayer leader, will personally hold a sermon in the mosque, the Muslim Church.

Of course, in a non-Islamic country such as Germany, not all Muslims can suddenly leave everything just because it is time for Friday prayer. Some Muslims believe that Friday prayer can also be made up on Sunday.

Alpai's papa Rachid does the same thing. He works as a dentist in Munich and is one of the "modern Muslims". Although he firmly believes in Allah and the Koran, he believes that everything that is written in the holy book cannot be taken literally. After all, the Koran was written more than half a millennium ago and people's lives have changed since then. Therefore some things are meant quite simply in a figurative sense.

No headscarf

Alpai's mother Aisha sees it that way too. That is why she does not wear a headscarf and would never allow her husband to marry several women. The Koran would allow him four wives. Quite a cheek by today's standards. "However," says Alpai's mother, "one must not forget that before Muhammad there was no limit to the number of wives. Four women were a real limitation, and thus an improvement for women." Then, but not today!

When Alpai and Hakim gave the lecture, they also mentioned the "holy battle", the jihad. They explained to their schoolmates that the word jihad does not actually mean war, but struggle. This means above all the "endeavor and the exertion for the cause of God".

Most Muslims do not mean the fight against those of different faiths, but the internal fight against their own weaknesses and bad qualities. Only a few understand it to be a "holy war" that is waged with arms.

At the very end of the school lesson, when the bell had already rung, the two Muslim boys came back to their favorite topic: the sugar festival. They raved about the many, many sweets they had received and told them about the big party they had with their family for two days.

Suddenly a girl spoke up: "And at Christmas? How is it in Islam? Do you get presents there too?" Alpai and Hakim looked at each other and smiled: "Sure, after all, we were born here." Not too bad to be a Muslim in Germany, right?