The great Mosque of Cordoba is one
of the World’s most unique monuments and undoubtedly a
masterpiece of Islamic art.
Along with other Muslim brethren
around the world, MUSLIMS in Spain also started the Holy month of
Ramadan August 01, 2011. Of the 48 million population of Spain,
approximately 1.5 million are Muslims and after the day-long fast,
they join together with friends and family at sundown to celebrate
the day with a feast – the Iftaar.
Many Muslims in Spain travel home
for the Holy month, meaning traffic across the Strait of Gibraltar
and to Almería and Alicante from Tangiers, Ceuta, Melilla, Algiers
and Oran increases dramatically as they all return to Spanish
earth – the country which has more than eight centuries long
history of Islamic rule.
In Spain an Agreement of
Cooperation, between the Spanish State and the Islamic Commission
of Spain was established in 1992 and approved as Law 26/1992. The
law affirms in article 12.1 that: Members of the Islamic
Communities belonging to the Islamic Commission of Spain who
desire, will be able to request the interruption of their work on
Friday of each week, from 1 p.m. to 4.20 p.m., as well as
finishing work one hour before sunset, during the month of
The celebration of Ramadan acquires
a special importance in all Spanish cities--like Madrid, Barcelona
and Catalonia--where numerous Muslim communities reside. Muslims
get together to break their fast and they organize social meetings
in the mosques, says Amin Villoch, a Spanish Muslim. Other
activities that Spanish mosques organize during Ramadan include
Arabic classes, Islamic culture classes and Qur'an and Hadith
Many of the Muslims living in
Catalonia visit the mosques occasionally, more to meet the
community than to pray. However, when Ramadan starts, the mosques
are filled with Muslims and they celebrate fully the entire 30
days, and dedicate a lot of time for prayers. This is when the
situation becomes very difficult. Though the Catalonian Muslim
community puts a lot of effort into establishing new places for
Prayers and to be able to continue to attract more Muslims, lack
of space for Prayer comes to light during Ramadan.
The first day of Ramadan is a very
special day for the Spanish Muslims.
“Ramadan is an important factor in
reuniting the community. On the first day of Ramadan around
10,000 Muslims gather at the mosques in Madrid to celebrate the
breaking of the fast”, Amin adds.
“Women spend all day preparing
typical food to offer to their relatives and friends whom they
meet at the mosque”, says Amira Masaad.
“After the Maghrib Prayers, the
mosque becomes a place of festivity. Everyone eats harrisa
(an oriental sweet) and dates; Ramadan treats which no Muslim
house lacks”, she adds.
In southern part of Spain, Ramadan
has a special Islamic taste where the scent of good old days of
Islam is still fresh in the last bastions of Muslim Andalusia.
Even Spaniards in that area enjoy different characteristics from
the rest of the Spanish population.
The Baizin neighborhood in Granada,
during Ramadan, is very similar to old neighborhoods in Damascus,
Syria or Casablanca, Morocco. When one walks through its streets,
Ramadan pastries, religious cassettes and books, along with high
numbers of veiled women can not be termed “out of place.”
In the Spanish area closer to
Morocco known as the Green Island by the Mediterranean, near
Gibraltar, many restaurants owned by Moroccans tend to serve
Ahmed Aznak, one of the Moroccan
residents of the Green Island says Ramadan almost felt the same on
the island as in Morocco.
“I feel no difference. It’s simple
though. If I feel bored, I can just board a boat and break my fast
in Tangier in no more than two hours. It’s just 14 kilometers”, he
City of Dreams
The pearl of southern Spain,
Marbella, or “City of Dreams” as its visitors call it, is
considered one of the cities where Muslim immigrants enjoy the
best atmosphere of harmony and tranquillity during this holy
Its streets are never free, summer
or winter, from Arab visitors. It also has a big, very elegant
mosque. During Ramadan, mawa’id Ar-Rahman (charitable
iftar banquets in the street) is also abundant.
Hameed, a Moroccan resident of
Marbella since the mid 1980s, says: “In the past, there was too
much food during Ramadan carried to mosques by charitable people.
We used to eat little. The rest was usually thrown away as the
next day more fresh food was brought in. I used to resent this.
Ramadan is not a month of food. It’s rather for fasting to feel
what the poor suffer. Thank God such bad habits are decreasing