Today is the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. The month where the Muslims in the world fast for 30 days or a bit less, just before the Fitr celebration. Fitr= “Festival of Breaking the Fast”.
They fast from the first light of dawn, before sunrise (Al fajr) until the sunset (Al Maghrib) (which is differs from country to country) in Lebanon it’s 7:30 PM today and the days will get longer with each day, about one minute per day that’s it. Number of fasting hours depends on the sunset timing, while people fast 11 hours in Argentina, they fast 20.45 hours in Murmansk, Russia!
People wake up before the dawn for what we call “Suhur” or “pre-dawn meal” to eat something or drink which is around 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM. You can eat before you sleep as well, you don’t need to wake up for Suhur.
People greet each other’s with the sentence “Ramadan Kareem” i.e. Ramadan is generous, and the reply is “Allah Akram” i.e. God is more generous.
The Musaharti or Ramadan drummer is a person who carries a drum and walks around the streets in the middle of the night and beats hard and ask people to wake up for the Suhur meal or sing songs praising God. This tradition goes back to the Ottoman Era.
Couldn’t find a video from Lebanon, will post one from Turkey since they are the ones who invented this tradition.
Of course when the prayer starts in the Mosque, then it’s a sign of both Al Fajr (dawn) and Al Maghrib (sunset). (Salat Al Fajr and Salat Al Maghrib). Salat=prayer.
The Muslims Sunni started today, part of the Muslims Shia as well and the other Muslims Shia groups are fasting tomorrow.
As a diverse country, we share our occasions and many Lebanese people have Christian mother and Muslim father and vice versa (or Sunni and Shia as well in the same family) so they fast in Ramadan and they celebrate Christmas and Easter as well.
As I mentioned before for my regular readers, I have friends from all religions, so the first day of Ramadan I’m always the first guest on the Iftar table of course (how convenient) :D. I can’t call myself a guest since I’m practically part of the family.
I’m there before the Iftar to taste all the food if they need more salt, peppers, spices…I enjoy this! Even though I used to fast Ramadan, I did it probably for couple years as I also read the Holy Quran because I wanted to know other religions than Christianity: the religion I was born into.
Today, the moment my boss arrived, he asked me: are you fasting? I said no, so he said: why you’re becoming faithless and disbeliever!
Of course he was joking since him, as a Muslim born doesn’t believe in God and I’m a Christian and used to fast Ramadan (the time I used to not remove the gold cross from around my neck).
He walks around telling everyone that I used to fast! OMG!
Iftar is “eating after you were fasting” and Ramadan Iftars are always full of variety of food but the major that you find on every table are the Soup (Shorba) and Fattoush (Kind of salad known here in Lebanon). My mother makes the best Fattoush (not negotiable sorry folks) 😀
These two are the main and then you can have main dishes such as rice and chicken, Mloukhieh, Bamieh, Kullaj…Each family has a different menu from the Lebanese homemade food or barbecue and Mezza.
The Kullaj always makes me laugh because each time I eat it; I say OMG I never tasted this before to tease my friend! Until it became our joke and it’s so damn tasty!
Usually when the Adhan or Azaan is called out by the muezzin from mosque declaring the sunset time, first thing most people do, they eat a date or drink water; some just eat immediately the soup because if they eat a date or drink water, they will not be able to eat properly.
Dates are so important to the Muslim world; The Prophet was once reported to have said, “People in a house without dates are in a state of hunger.”
Dates boast many vital nutrients, plus they are fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free. They contain vitamin A and numerous B-complex vitamins necessary for building healthy body tissue and muscle. Dates also contain many minerals, including magnesium, iron, phosphorous, copper, calcium and potassium. One date contains more potassium per weight than a banana. Additionally, dates have high sugar intake, making them Mother Nature’s candy for mortals.
Stressing these health benefits, the Prophet said to break the fast in the month of Ramadan with a date.
The Qur’an states that Mary was advised to eat dates while in labor with Jesus, to ease childbirth and strengthen the body. Experiments have also shown that dates contain stimulants that strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy.
Most Lebanese restaurants make organized Iftars and special offers with different menus, formulas and kind of food. And usually the family gatherings are the best and many invitations from the extended family occur during this month. But there’s also the outdoor Iftar with friends or family sometimes as an opportunity to catch up and have a good time.
Our favorite of all times is Leila restaurant.
Of course it’s always better not to exaggerate and make lot of food then throw it away, better to give the less fortunate as well and never throw food.
Jallab is a type of fruit syrup popular in the Middle East made mainly of grape molasses, grenadine syrup, and rose water, then smoked with Arabic incense. Jallab is very common during Ramadan.
And the sweets oh well, I don’t want to tease you but there are wide variety and the most common is Kullaj Ramadan.
One of my favorite ads for Jallab for the Lebanese company: Kassatly Chtaura. (No I’m not paid for these ads haha)
It’s important to mention here that Islam is not what they’re making you believe it is, Islam is a peaceful religion and Prophet Mohammad was a peaceful man that was called “the truthful, the trustworthy” long before Islam, he preached moderation and social reform and forgiveness, He condemned racism and tribalism and he warned his followers of those who will commit crimes in the name of Islam. (ISIS phenomenon)
“In the last days of this world there will appear some young foolish people who will use (in their claim) the best speech of all people (i.e. the Qur’an) and they will abandon Islam as an arrow going through the game. Their belief will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have practically no belief), so wherever you meet them, kill them, for he who kills them shall get a reward on the Day of Resurrection.”
What I want to say that Muslims are not terrorists, they are not ISIS or other extremist groups, Muslims are peaceful and loving people, ISIS are group of Mercenaries and criminals, paid by very high authorities and institutions to ruin this world, to ruin the relationships between the west and the Arab world and to keep the people fighting infinitely in the name of God and religions!
I’m sorry if you don’t know this truth, but you should because it’s as clear as the sun!
And no I’m not a Muslim, I believe in god in my own way even if I was a Christian, I don’t agree on many things that Christians do in the name of Jesus as well! I don’t agree on 99% of what the Church is doing in the name of Jesus and I hate all men of religions!
When I find good priests or nuns or Sheikhs, I will not deny that at all, just to be fair.
Ramadan Kareem to all the people of the world especially the Lebanese people and my friends.
May it be a holy month to you and your loved ones and Sawm Mubarak (Blessed fasting).
Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed.
The purpose of this post is not religious so appreciate if I don’t have lectures in religion if I missed some information.
Huguette Antoun – May 6th 2019