The religion rests upon five pillars, namely Faith in the oneness of Allah, prayers, the fast of Ramadan, almsgiving or charity to poor and pilgrimage to Mecca. "As devout Muslims, most of the villagers in Kafr El-Elow believe that is necessary to observe these five practices faithfully in order to gain eternal salvation" (Hani Fakhouri, Religious Belief And Practices, Pg. 75).
The first pillar serves as the most important element of faith to the people of Kafr El-Elow. The second pillar impels all Muslims to offer five times prayers. As mentioned by the author, " The mosque of Kafr El-Elow is so crowded for the Friday noon prayers service that it is usually necessary for some of the villagers to attend the service in the nearby Helwan" (Hani Fakhouri, Religious Belief And Practices, Pg. 76). The author also writes that, "I observed that that many of the male villagers of Kafr El-Elow were conscientious in their observance of the Friday prayer obligation, but very few among the younger generation, prayed five times a day" (Hani Fakhouri, Religious Belief And Practices, Pg. 77).
The month of Ramadan is considered to be the most exciting month in which all the Muslims fast to understand that there are higher needs than food and materialistic things. It allows one to feel the pain of those less fortunate then them and help them in any way possible. "While all Muslims over the age of seventeen are expected to observe Ramadan in many house holds of Kafr El-Elow even youngsters between the ages of ten and sixteen are encouraged to fast" (Hani Fakhouri, Religious Belief And Practices, Pg. 79). Almsgiving is the fourth pillar of Islam. The residents of Kafr El- Elow fulfill the fourth pillar of Islam by giving charity to those less fortunate then them. Some commit this act as a memorial to their dead relatives. Almsgiving is not always given in terms of money. Some residents donate charity to the Mosque.
The fifth pillar of Islam is Pilgrimage to Mecca. There are certain rules and regulations that a Muslims must follow in order to performed this Pilgrimage. Like all the other Muslims in the world, the residence of Kafr El-Elow possess great desire to perform this sacred act in the name of God. The people's lives in Kafr El-Elow are greatly influenced by Islam. Religious festivities such as Eid and Milad-Un-Nabi are celebrated joyously. Religious acts are also observed during the time when a child is born. The traditional act of circumcision is practiced on boys. "In the village of Kafr El-Elow death is not only regarded as the rite of passage, but also as an occasion that reflects the solidarity of the deceased person's clan and gives the villagers an opportunity to express their sympathy"(Hani Fakhouri, Religious Belief And Practices, Pg. 87). Religious act of bathing is performed before burying the deceased person. Several Koranic verses are recited on the grave of a deceased person. With time several changes have occurred in the village of Kafr El-Elow, such as the lessening of the mourning period from forty days to one week.
The villagers of Kafr El-Elow are very particular about, evil eye i.e. bad intentions of a person that may usually harm the other person. As a result, women use charms as a source of protection against the evil eye. Some people wear specific type of jewelry and silk clothing in order to protect them from the ill intentions.
Thus, it is clearly understood that the basic acts performed by people are greatly based upon religion. All the traditional and social practices in Kafr El-Elow are based upon these acts.
Hence, both the chapters clearly outline the social structure followed by the villagers of Kafr El-Elow. While the first chapter presents to its readers the acts performed by the villagers, the second chapter illustrates how these acts came into being and why they are being followed. It should be noted that not all acts are performed by ways of religion but also by ways of tradition. Thus, both chapters are essential in understanding the social structure of Kafr El-Elow in terms of…