Family and friends motivate increased fasting, praying, sharing
and giving during Holy Month
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
The majority of Muslims living and working overseas practice cultural
and religious traditions during the Holy Month of Ramadan even more
devoutly than they did in their home countries, a newly released Western
Union-sponsored study has found.
Specifically, Muslims living and working overseas said that their
actions during Ramadan had changed after arriving in their new host
countries, with half of respondents (50%) saying they fasted more and
two in five (41%) sharing and giving more.
The Western Union study, “Traditions of Ramadan by global citizens of
Muslim faith”, was conducted in July by The Nielsen Company and covered
Muslims of 11 nationalities living in 12 countries in Asia Pacific, the
Middle East, the United States and Western Europe.
Overall, fasting (96%), sharing and giving (94%) are the most widely
practiced of all traditions observed during Ramadan. Two out of five
surveyed said that the love of family and friends, along with dedication
to work, were the key factors motivating more fasting, praying, sharing
“Living in another country often brings different cultural influences
along with new work and personal pressures. Global citizens of Muslim
faith are upholding Islamic traditions and are even more devout during
the Holy Month of Ramadan,” said Laston Charriez, senior vice president
of marketing, North America, Western Union.
“Western Union has been moving money for better, for more than 135
years. We know people move away from their home countries for many
reasons, but a common factor is creating a better life for their
families and loved ones through work opportunities,” added Charriez.
“It is difficult for people of any faith or nationality to be away from
home during traditional cultural and religious events and holidays. It
is not surprising to see that family, loved ones and friends, along with
commitment to work, are even more influential when people live overseas.”
Key highlights of the survey
Different traditions are observed during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Despite being away from family and loved ones, 96 percent practiced
fasting, 89 percent prayed, 78 percent engaged in iftar, or evening
meals to break the day’s fast, and 75 percent read the Qur’an.
The tradition of zakat, or the act of giving to others in need, is
practiced more during Ramadan, with nearly nine in 10 Muslims abroad
(89%) saying they fulfilled zakat during the Holy Month.
Breaking fast is popular with other people instead of alone, with
family (75%) being the most favored companions, closely followed by
Accessibility to facilities for religious purposes (62%) and the
influence of family, loved ones and friends (52%) are the most
important influencers in fasting more during Ramadan.
A vast majority (94%) uphold sharing and giving traditions during
The zakat obligation is most commonly fulfilled through sharing
with people who are known to the giver locally or overseas (65%).
Arab Muslims are more likely to share with people they know
locally (42%) than overseas (29%), while the reverse is true for
non-Arab Muslims (49% local; 56% overseas).
Muslims from the Middle East and the United States are more likely
to fulfill zakat through donations to charity (53% and 54%
Overall, the most common gift during Ramadan was cash (92%),
followed by clothes (40%), food (36%) and other products (21%).
Outside the Middle East, clothing was more popular (53%).
“Cash is very versatile and convenient to give, either locally or when
helping people abroad, which explains its popularity,” concluded
Charriez. “However, the important finding is that the vast majority of
Muslims continue to help meet real needs, both in their home and
adoptive communities, by fulfilling their duty of zakat.”
The findings of the study were based on a survey of close to 550 Muslims
emigrants originally from the Middle Eastern and North African countries
of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia and the South Asian
countries of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
They resided in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates in the Middle East; Malaysia and Singapore in Asia;
the United Kingdom, Germany and France in Europe; and the United States.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment
services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western
Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union
provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient
ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to
purchase money orders. As of June 30, 2012, the Western Union, Vigo and
Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network
of approximately 510,000 agent locations in 200 countries and
territories. In 2011, The Western Union Company completed 226 million
consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $81 billion of
principal between consumers, and 425 million business payments. For more
information, visit www.westernunion.com.
Source: Western Union