On Java, well over 90% of the people follow Islam. Followers are called Muslims. Because most of the Indonesian population is Muslim, and this month is Ramadan, a significant difference in their lifestyle is taking place. Islam began with Muhammad, who lived in Mecca and Medina in the 600s AD. He is said to have been visited by the angel, Gabriel, who revealed to him the word of God (Allah). Muhammad told the words of God, first to his family, then to his friends, and finally to his community. One important message he carried was that there is only one god. Before this, people in the Middle East worshiped many gods and placed images of them at a temple in Mecca said to have been built by Abraham. Good Muslims do five important things. They are called the Pillars of Islam. First, they must declare the there is only one god. His name is Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet. Second, Muslims must pray five times each day facing the city of Mecca, where the Kaaba (the temple Abraham built) is located. Third, Muslims give charity. Fourth, they fast during the month of Ramadan. Finally, Muslims must participate in the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca where they perform tasks that recalls the life of Muhammad. This pilgrimage is only required if it is possible.
|Preparing meals for the evening break-fast|
Note that cooking class takes place on campus during the day, even though the product may not be eaten until sunset. Both the boys’ class and the girls’ class prepared food that smells wonderful. After sun sets, grand meals are served, so preparations begin early. Imagine having to prepare food that you can’t eat until dark.