The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Ramadan Nights and Suhur

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on August 15, 2010

The rhythm of Ramadan is in full swing – the day spent fasting, praying and yes, people are still working. The rush of the masses to make it home before Iftar (breaking the fast) is tangible.

Ramadan Lantern

Narrow streets have been decorated by the children with colorful banners, lights and lanterns. Through out the city you hear the Koran being recited on the loud speakers at mosques 30 minutes before the fast ends, everybody listens for the “boom” – the canon being fired from the Citadel to officially announce the end of the fast.
Although the canon is no longer actually fired, it is part of the tradition of Ramadan in Egypt. It is believed that it started in 859 AH (Hijri) when the ruler of Egypt was playing with his new cannon in the open courtyard atop the Citadel overlooking Cairo. The cannon went off accidentally and a loud boom reverberated everywhere. It was Ramadan at sunset. The people were thrilled with this innovative idea to announce the break of the daily fast. His daughter, Haja Fatma, urged him to make a tradition of the signal; and since then the cannon has been nicknamed “Haja Fatma”.
Some say that the firing of the canon goes back to the time of Mohamed Ali’s (no, he’s not the boxer) rule. It is told that he was testing a cannon he bought from Germany in Ramadan at the same time as Iftar. Since then, it has become tradition to fire the canon everyday during Ramadan to mark Iftar and Sohur.
The firing of the canon and the call to prayer signal a new kind of noise in Egypt. The silence outside is deafening – virtually at any given time in Cairo the streets are alive, a quick glance will shock you, nobody is out, with the exception of course of the mercy tables. Inside any restaurant or home there is one sound – silverware clattering against plates, conversation is at a minimum – let’s eat!
When Iftar is finished the socializing begins, the streets start coming back to life and people set out, some go mosque for nightly prayers, some to visit family and friends, some to work, some remain home addicted to the yearly Ramadan Soap Opera’s that rival any US soap opera plot!


Cafe’s fill up with people enjoying tea, sheesha and friends. Laughter and camaraderie fill the night. As the short summer nights start to give way there is another rush..this time for the Suhur.
Suhur, is a light meal to be had before the morning call to prayer. Something to lessen the hardship of fasting and help hold you through the long day. The Prophet (PBHU) led by example – the idea of making one’s fast, and religious duties easier. Muslims are advised to delay the Suhur and hasten the Iftar (breaking the fast). While it is not required it is recommended for the fasting Muslim to get up for Suhur and have something to eat, even if it is something small.

Ramadan Drummer

If you are sound asleep in those wee hours before dawn, fear not, because each neighborhood comes equipped with its self-appointed “drummer” – who roams up and down the alleyways of Cairo before the break of dawn, banging his drum, calling out Ahmed, time to get up for Suhur! Mohamed, wake for Suhur! Nadia, Eman wake up to receive your blessings from Suhur! Monkey- up an at ’em! ..of course a Baksheesh or tip is greatly appreciated.
Finally, with the end of the Suhur, comes a small prayer.. I intend to keep the fast for tomorrow in the month of Ramadan.
Soon, the mosques will start the calling to the morning prayer, Fajr, signaling the beginning of the fasting day…Ramadan Karim…


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