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Middle East

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The Middle Eastern culture has many different nationalities within their population including Arabians, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanians, Egyptians, Saudi Arabians, and many more. The most common religion found in the Middle East is Muslim. However not every Middle Easterner is Muslim, there are also other religions just as in any country such as Christian and Jewish. There are more than seven million Muslims living in America and over 1.5 billion worldwide. Many Middle Eastern Muslims who are conservative with their religion do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Some eat only Halal meat, which is meat that is slaughtered according to Islamic tradition. Muslims pray five times a day facing Mecca, and also observe a holiday called Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Month of Ramadan is also when it is believed the Holy Quran "was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation." It is during this month that Muslims fast. It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and reflection. During the fast of Ramadan, strict restraints are placed on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Diet for Muslim patients can be an issue during Ramadan. Patients tend to resist taking medications during the daytime of Ramadan because they think it is a form of eating. During Ramadan Muslim patients will not eat even in a hospital setting, which makes it difficult to monitor progress. Also, Muslim patients are concerned with how some medications are derived because some medications are made from a pig's aorta. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end of the day, the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar, it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning.

During Ramadan, it is common for Muslims to go to the Masjid and spend several hours praying and studying the Quran. In addition to the five daily prayers, during Ramadan Muslims recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh prayer also known as the Night Prayer. The length of this prayer is usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers. Some Muslims spend all night in prayer. On the evening of the 27th day of the month, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr (the Night of Power). It is believed that on this night Muhammad first received the revelation of the Holy Quran, and according to the Quran, this is when God determines the course of the world for the following year. When the fast ends (the first day of the month of Shawwal) it is celebrated for three days in a holiday called Id-al-Fitr (the Feast of Fast Breaking). Gifts are exchanged, friends and family gather to pray in congregation and for large meals. In some cities fairs are held to celebrate the end of the Fast of Ramadan. The whole point of fasting is to achieve good, and the good that is acquired through the fast can be destroyed by five things. These five things include the telling of a lie, slander, denouncing someone behind their back, false oath, and greed.

Muslim women are required to wear long dresses and scarves to cover their body. They also wear amulets for protection from the evil eye. Muslim people also burn incense to keep the evil eye away and to keep the evil eye away from the sick.

Health is an important issue in the Muslim community. Muslims believe that the key to good health is good hygiene and diet. They place a high value in modern Western medicine and have confidence in the medical profession. Muslim families do not wait long to seek professional help and are usually anxious to receive medicine as soon as possible. They also listen carefully to what the health care provider is saying and follow directions carefully. However when the symptoms improve, they will stop taking the prescribed medication or treatments and do not usually return for follow up appointments. When Muslim patients do not receive relief from medications they do not understand that the medicine did not work, they feel that the doctor does not know what is wrong. Sometimes Muslim patients feel reluctant to disclose detailed information about themselves or their family to strangers. They do not feel it is necessary to give past family medical history when nurses are asking for their medical history and should be skipped until the exam for the doctor to explain the importance of diagnosis. The Muslim culture normally looks down on people who are mentally ill, and often do not bring those people into public for fear of rejection. They also look to their family for help before they seek professional help. On the other hand, they do not put people with these types of illnesses in institutions, they believe in taking care of their own family.

The Middle East it is a male dominance society. Men attend all doctors' appointments with their wives and children. They also prefer to be seen by male doctors except when the woman is pregnant and then they prefer women doctors. Muslims believe that pregnancy is a female issue and men are not associated with anything to do with the pregnancy.



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