The constitution of Kingdom of Morocco declares ISLAM as the official dominating religion with about 99. 7% population in Sunni variant of “maliki” background. Kingdom of Morocco lies in northwest Africa and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, Mauritania and Algeria.
Rabat is the capital City while the principle cities include Casablanca, Marrakech and Fes which is the spiritual and religious city organizing religious musical programmes and festivals even at present. The location of the country resulted in many conquests and wars more than its fair share.Majority of the population is mixed Arab-Berber descent. Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans succeeded original population of Morocco, which was initially inhabited by the Almoravids, a Berber Muslim dynasty. The Berbers of Morocco worshipped their native deities, and along also resided the Berbers of converted Jewish and Christian beliefs.
History might have been same, but for a man miles away, Mohammed. Abu Talib later known as Prophet Mohammed considered as messenger of god who spread the original dogmas of Islam.By prophet’s death in AD 632, Arab caliph’s leaders were inspired by his teachings and accepted and carried Islam from east to central Asia and also to the rest of the world. After successive invasions by the barbarian tribes, Islam was brought by the Arab kings in 685 in Morocco.
Although the armed force failed to win the Berbers over the Islam, force of conviction gradually succeeded. Many Berbers willingly converted to Islam and reaped the benefits through Arabs in business matters but the people who did not act according to the wish of Arabs had to pay Special taxes and serve as infantry.Many more atrocities were laid on them, though Umayyad Arabs respected Jews and Christians. The situation furthur deteriorated in eighth century owing to division of Islamic faith into two sects, Shias and the Sunni that were in constant battle with each other for difference in ideologies and beliefs within the religion. With the victory of the Sunni’s, Idriss Ibn Abdallah became the religious leader of Morocco. Morocco also attracted colonism and served as French and Portugal colony that helped its economy a big way in later years but the religion followed in the country continued to be Islam.
The Alawite dynasty has held the reign of empire from as long as 17th century though the country attained its independence in late 1950’s. Islamic recognition of religion and social membership are inseparable and therefore the leader of community holds both a religious and political status . Hence, king is also known, as “Amir-al-mu’minin” or the leader of the faithful and is also viewed as a spiritual leader and politically a monarch. Till date the political leader of the country is thought to be in lineage of prophet Mohd and is considered holy and god chosen.The prime meaning of Islam is peace or loosing oneself for the sake of god and religion professes faith in unity of god, that there exists only one creator of the world and he alone is worthy of worship.
At the core of Moroccan religion Islam is the Quran, which is believed to be a final revelation to Muhammad by Allah [Allah=God]. All the followers of Islam submit to the various sacraments like Salat, the five ritual daily prayers facing towards Mecca; Zakat, religious tax or giving of alms to needy to reduce the gap between rich and poor.Hajj, annual pilgrimage to holy city of Mecca which unites the Muslims of world together; Shahada or the testimony of faith according to which every Muslim should openly and publicly declare their belief that there is no god except one Allah and last sacrament or pillar of Islam is Sawm or fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and also to abstain from indulgence in all physical desires during this period of 40 days. These days are also considered a brief time of self discipline which brings them nearer to Allah.
The worship place for the citizens following Islam is Mosque, and the city boasts of several architectural masterpieces where non Muslims are strictly not allowed without permission as according to the verse of Holy book they are considered spiritually unclean. Due to these restrictions majority of foreigners are not able to view its several beautiful and scholarly monuments.Islam is official religion but other religions such as Christianity with 0. % followers and Judaism also have a minority existence in the Kingdom of Morocco.
Religion plays crucial role in law and culture but Morocco provides with full freedom to practice any religion. Though colonial system has greatly influenced the Moroccan legal system but presence of Islam ensures continuity of Shari’s courts and application of maliki Fiqh or school of thought, to matters of family law. Shari’s courts are religious laws of Islam and for every aspect of life.Sharia’s courts are based on four roots of thoughts that are ijma the consensus of muslims, qiyas which means reasoning by analogy, The Quran’s legislatives segments and finally the ijtihad which covers situations not previously mentioned and covered under analogies of other laws. All courts follow Holy Quran as a directive text under laying the legal framework of society and divide the legal system into four levels of courts, 27 sadad courts, 30 regional, 9 courts of appeal and a supreme court in Rabat.
Sadad and regional courts are furthur divided into four sections-Shari’ a rabbinical, civil, commercial and administrative and penal. Sadad courts are courts of first instance for Muslims and Jewish people. Under the new family laws known as Moudawana, steps are being taken to promote moderate Islam and discourage extremism which is often considered akin to terrorism. Islam practiced in Morocco is relatively less strict than any other part of the world.
Owing to religious practices of charity, begging is widespread in cities and especially in the city of Casablanca.According to other Islamic laws Muslims have to be covered at all the times; men are required to cover themselves from navel to knee and women are to reveal nothing except eyes and hands. Clothing’s of Women in Morocco range from traditional coverings of Chadra (facial veil), der –a scarf to be tied under chin and a jellaba- a long full sleeved, dark colored, flowing, full length flowing dress. Due to flexibilities some women cover their head while wearing a western dress and other wear a jellaba while leave behind the traditional covering of head.Alcohol is prohibited in Islam but in Morocco alcohol is widely available as a result of French influence.
Morocco also produces some mild spirits and is not strict about banning drinks that are easily available in numerous bars and shops throughout the region. Pre Marital and extra marital relations are strictly prohibited under the religion of Islam but here also the country is flexible owing to various conquerors of different countries and religions. Prostitution is fairly common and there exist several ‘red-light’ areas in every district.Also the youngsters like modern world indulge in various privileges. Morocco has various religious schools called Medersa where any Muslim citizen can enroll for learning religious teachings.
The general school system includes modern secular public institutions and only a small fraction attends Medersa now. Various learning centers are also set in many mosques to impart literacy courses on Islam, civic education and hygiene. Thus we can conclude that Islamic religion plays a crucial role in Moroccan society and inseparable center point for the social and spiritual existence and development.