Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ramadan Diary ~ 2015 ~ Day Ten

Ibn Warraq continues his Ramadan musings...

The sound of Ftour

We all know the seductive smell of food in the lead up to the breaking of the fast, or the late night aroma of tagines in the hour before Suhoor. But what is the sound of Ftour?

The answer is silence.

Walking the main streets of the Medina in the last few minutes before the cannon and the call to prayer announces the end of the day's fasting, the streets are deserted except for a father and daughter hurrying home. Then comes the signal and silence descends across the Medina. In thousands of houses across the city, people are eating, and they certainly eat very quietly.

One of the main Medina streets a minute away from the call to prayer

For those who remain in the streets, a cardboard box is their table, and a stool or step is their seat.
Each small gathering calls to me offering to share their meagre breakfast. Dates, orange juice, milk, bread, boiled eggs - everything is there to be shared.

Street Ftour - "Marhaba"

In a couple of places I saw tourists being offered a seat and food. A young boy is patiently trying to teach a Japanese tourist that "marhaba" means welcome. This is the spirit of Ramadan. This is the way it should be everywhere.

Even restaurants that sell street food offer me food and drink for free. "Please, nothing is for sale. Chose what you like. B'saha!"

The essentials for breaking the fast
"Choose what you like. B'saha!"

The only awkward moment was when a couple of French tourists who had absolutely no idea of how to dress in the Medina on a Friday during Ramadan, walked down the street. Their appearance raised more than a few eyebrows, but didn't stop them being invited to sit and share a street vendor's Ftour.

How to raise a few eyebrows!

Fundamentalism and barbarism feed on ignorance. Daesh are not Muslims
L'intégrisme et la barbarie se nourrissent de l'ignorance. Daesh c'est pas des musulmans

Sadly, Ramadan is not so joyful everywhere. Yesterday's barbaric incidents in Kuwait City, Tunisia and France are stark reminders of the dangers of lone wolf terror attacks. But, more than that, they are a call to Muslims everywhere to demand that their religious and political leaders take more of a lead in condemning such acts. Let them loudly denounce Daesh (ISIS) and their ilk as apostates who have no claim to calling themselves Muslim.

It is doubtful such a thing will happen and it is a glaring omission that the Western world is very aware of. The Times of London today pointed out that the so called "Islamic State's call to arms during Ramadan has gone completely unanswered by the leading voices of state-sanctioned Sunni Islam in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This plague of terror besmirches their religion and they must lead the fight against it."

We should go further. On many occasions I have spoken at inter-faith meetings that brought together, Jews, Christians Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. But where are the conferences that bring together Sunni and Shia and Sufi?

The sight of Sunni, Shia and Sufi, men and women, praying together, would be a positive first step towards ending the centuries long war between Sunni and Shia.

Few of the Moroccans I have spoken with disagree. As one woman told me, "It is our problem and we should be the ones to fix it".

Sadly, the problem with the silent majority of Muslims is that they are silent. It is time to speak up and show the world that Islam is a religion of love, compassion and tolerance.

Thank you...

A heartfelt thank you to those who sent messages and emails supporting my weirdly optimistic notion on Day Eight, of military drones  doing something peaceful during Ramadan. Drones Without Borders may be a simplistic dream, but such dreams are better than nightmares.

Another of Hamid's moderately funny jokes...

A man is taking a walk in Laleh Park in Tehran during Ramadan. Suddenly he sees a little girl being attacked by a feral dog. He runs over and starts fighting with the dog. Eventually, he succeeds in killing the dog and saving the girl's life.

An Iranian policeman is watching the scene unfold and walks over and says, 'You are a hero, tomorrow you can read all about it in the newspapers, 'Brave Tehrani saves the life of little girl'.

The man says, 'But I am not a native of Tehran!'

'Oh, then it will say in newspapers in the morning, "Brave Iranian saves life of little girl",' the policeman answers.

'But I am not an Iranian!' says the man.

'Oh, where are you from then?'

'The man says: - 'I am a Syrian!'

The next day the newspaper headline says, 'Islamic extremist kills innocent Iraqi dog.'

Saha Ftourkoum!

See Ibn's Ramadan Dairy
DAY ONE           DAY FIVE       DAY NINE
DAY TWO          DAY SIX

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1 comment:

abdul muHib Carosaari said...

Even beyond a Friday and Ramadan, I would wish that tourists who come to Morocco would be instructed on how to dress appropriately. This is not Europe or America, and the culture is different. Enjoy the country, yes- but have some respect for the culture, wherever you go.