Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Ramadan

This picture was taken during Ramadan 2007 at Midan Hussein in Cairo, a popular place for large groups to eat during Ramadan.  This brings out the point that Islam's holy month isn't just about fasting, but breaking the fast.  As the sun sets, spontaneous meals break out all over the Islamic world.  What I found in my brief Ramadan stints in Egypt and Turkey was that lots of people would bring food primarily to share with others when eating became legit.

In 2007, Ramadan was in the fall.  This weekend Northern Hemisphere Muslims begin a summer Ramadan, a season in which fasting is most difficult.  The original Ramadan fast, however, was also during the summer, as the month's name comes from an Arabic root whose words all refer to intense heat and sunlight.  Islam uses a strictly lunar calendar, but the Arabian calender of Muhammad's day kept months in season with intercalary months, much as the Jewish calendar does.  I blogged here about some reasons why Islam might have done away with intercalation and let the months drift through the seasons.



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