The differences between Sunni and Shia Islam are political in origin, and remain so to this day. The way that Muslims are positioned throughout the world (70% Sunni, and 20% Shia) has heavily informed the politics of various countries and created much geopolitical tension and associated extremism between the two sects.
The common theological heritage and the mutual reverence of Jesus and his mother by both Muslims and Christians has sadly, become sullied throughout history as Islam and Christianity are often portrayed as implacable enemies, embroiled in conflict. The reality is, despite the troubled history. there have been epochs where Christians and Muslim have co-existed in peace.
When I was a first year undergraduate student, my psychology lecturer told me that Muslim women were complicit in their own repression and did not know what it was like to be liberated. As a student of humanities and social sciences I gauged that his views were conspicuously grounded in the litany of anecdotal sources cited by the media.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which is based on the lunar system. Muslims fast for 29/30 days by abstaining from food, drink, nourishment and sexual relations from dawn to sunset. Fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam and it is an obligation upon all Muslims, who have reached puberty. However, certain people such as the ill or frail; pregnant and menstruating women; breast feeding mothers, children and travellers are exempt from fasting. They are allowed to defer their fasts until a later date, or if they are unable to fast they are required to give a determined sum to charity. Muslims begin their fast at dawn with a meal known as Suhoor and break their fast at sunset with a meal known as Iftar.
Spirituality means different things to different people. Although spirituality is often associated with religious life, many believe it can be developed outside of religion where it focuses on: humanistic ideas, qualities such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, responsibility, harmony, and a concern for others, without necessarily accepting belief in a supernatural reality or divine being.