Religious Beliefs. Minangkabau are Muslims of the Sunni sect and the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence. The requirements of Islamic faith are simple: confession of faith, five daily prayers, fasting during the month of Ramadan, giving alms, and pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) if possible. Because Minangkabau are born Muslims, many do not follow all of these practices; nor are they aware of the technical aspects of their religious belief and practice, Sunni or Shafi'i. Most simply follow the practices of their parents. A few individuals know a great deal about Islam, having studied in local madrasah schools or with religious scholars who have studied in Mecca or Medina.
Religious Practitioners. Religious officials include the imam (head of the mosque), khatib (the preacher), kadi (religious judge), and bilal (caller to prayer). Additionally, there are urang siak and ulama (pious persons who know about religion).
Ceremonies. Important ceremonial occasions include the weekly Friday sermon, beginning and ending the fast each day during the month of Ramadan to honor the Holy Quran, the feast days at the end of Ramadan, the feast days before the month for going on the hajj, the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, and khenduri (ritual feasts) to celebrate any sort of change in social status.
Arts. Poetry, music, architectural decoration, and portraiture are notable art forms practised by Minangkabau.
Medicine. Herbal remedies ( jamuan ) and word charms ( jampi ) are used.
Death and Afterlife. Death is viewed in Islamic terms and burials are carried out according to Islamic law. Deaths of married persons involve changes in relationships between lineage segments of different clans, which are reflected in the series of funeral ceremonies that occurs after a death.