Read : 2280 | Print : 116 | Sent : 0 | Rate : 0
Sweden is just one of the Scandinavian countries where Islam is thriving and spreading at a fast pace. Although Islam is new there in comparison to countries like France, where the Muslim Arabs emigrated a century ago, it has become the second largest religion after Christianity. Swedish laws grant Muslims complete freedom of religion to perform their religious obligations.
No doubt, there is an enormous difference between the Scandinavian countries and other parts of Europe regarding the month of Ramadan, and other issues related to Islam. Islam in those (Scandinavian) countries is still new and relatively weak, compared with the other European countries. Thus, the first thing one observes is that the condition of Muslims in these countries does not change considerably in the month of Ramadan, due to the small number of Muslims there.
There is a great deal of debate over the sighting of the new moon and the beginning of fasting, in view of the differences among the Islamic blocs over the method of verifying the sighting of the crescent, and the differences in the countries they follow in determining the beginning of the lunar months, and the time of abstention (from food and drink) and breaking the fast. This state of indecision continues until the new moon is sighted -- especially in the absence of an Islamic institution to unify the sighting of the crescent among the Muslims.
The Swedish mass media does not give much coverage to Islamic events. Thus, the differences regarding moon sighting are settled by following Makkah in sighting the crescents of the lunar months.
Just before the month of Ramadan, Islamic associations hasten to distribute handouts featuring the times of abstention (from food and drink) and breaking the fast, and give information about opening the mosques for people to perform the Taraaweeh Prayer.
Arab, Persian and Turkish restaurants and stores sell a variety of traditional foods and sweets that the Muslims use in Ramadan.
Once the sighting of the new moon is announced, the Muslims go to the nearest mosques. The mosques are actually places rented by Muslims to perform prayers, and remain open throughout the day in Ramadan. The first night is spent in the Taraaweeh Prayer, assemblies of Thikr and recitation of the Quran, and the Muslims exchange greetings and become acquainted with each other.
The Muslims also come to the Central Mosque of Stockholm to perform the Taraaweeh Prayer, which is usually preceded by discourses about the superiority of the month of fasting, an explanation of Quranic verses, or some advice to Muslims about the most suitable method to raise their children.