Egypt is a country of “everyday piety”. The main religion of Egypt is Islam. The overwhelming majority of the population (95%) proclaims Sunni Islam. Several thousand people are Shiites. Some of them are Sufis. Modern Sufis of Egypt are young, educated men who are building their professional careers.
The central core of Islam is the belief in the unity of God, whose truths were revealed through the prophet Muhammad. Recognition of this basic profession of faith is one of the five pillars of religion. The other four are Ramadan, a pilgrimage to Mecca, five daily prayers and alms giving.
For many Muslims, these five pillars are summed up into a belief system and implemented in practice. The Egyptians often refer to the concept of God and his power. Any statement about the future contains a prohibition, the phrase “God will give” is often used, showing that the final solution of the question depends on the will of God.
The largest Christian community in the Middle East – Coptic Christians in Egypt, consider themselves not as a cultural or ethnic minority, but by the Egyptians, whose ancestors, the pre-Arab population of Egypt adopted Christianity in the first centuries.
Also in Egypt are very common associations of mystics (Sufi brotherhoods). These groups of men, under the leadership of the sheikh or hierarchy of the sheiks, are directed to help their brethren achieve allegorical experience of union with God. This mystical experience is often achieved through collective rituals
It is not surprising then that there were over 2,000 deities in the Egyptian pantheon. Some of these deities’ names are well known: Isis, Osiris, Horus, Amun, Ra, Hathor, Bastet, Thoth, Anubis, and Ptah while many others less so.
Two major Muslim religious holidays stand out especially against the background of the overall picture – Ramadan, the month of fasting and the Id al-Adha, which corresponds to the pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca. The Ramadan festival comes after a month of fasting and family visits and guests. This holiday is aimed at just relaxing.
Eid al-Adha celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, who then miraculously turned into a lamb, so most families try to cook lamb that day. In the Islamic faith, Friday is the day of the main cathedral prayer, and marks the end of the working week in a formal sense.
Rituals and holy places
Rituals are an integral part of the religious consciousness of Egypt. These are important practical manifestations of religion, which make clear dissimilitude between Muslims and Christians. Egyptians celebrate the ceremony of naming the baby on the name within a week.
It is a mixture of Islamic and Coptic “traditional” elements, and this is basically a family holiday, which is organized to include a newborn in the family. All boys are circumcised, usually in infancy, and girls, as a rule, are also “circumcised” before they reach puberty.
Although the shape of the female genitalia varies, polls show that about 97 percent of Egyptian women, both Christians and Muslims, are not circumcised. Marriage is one of the main agreement of Egyptian culture. For Muslims, this is considered a contract, the signing of which later entails a major family celebration. For Christians, the sacrament takes place in the church, as a rule, it follows the same day on a family celebration.