CAPE TOWN – As the Knysna fires disaster spread, teams of Muslim firefighters flocked to the region, battling blaze after blaze, while maintaining the fast of the holy month of Ramadan.
Last Wednesday, as a fierce storm took hold in the Cape Town area, large parts of Knysna, Brenton-on-Sea, Buffalo Bay and surrounds, and parts of Plettenberg Bay, went up in flames.
Nearly 10 000 people were evacuated and seven people died in at least 22 fires. Over 1,000 firefighters eventually brought them under control.
The demographics of South Africa encompass about 52 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and religions; Muslims comprise just over 1.5 percent of the population according to the CIA World Factbook.
The last census was held in 2011, the next one is slated to take place anywhere between 2016–2021.
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started on Saturday, May 27.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.
It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur’an.
Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.