News / Middle East

Egypt Prepares for Holiest Month

Egyptian Muslims Prepare for Holiest Monthi
|| 0:00:00
X
Margaret Besheer
July 19, 2012
Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for the world's 1 billion Muslims, begins with the new moon expected in most of the world on July 20. It will launch a month of fasting, reflective prayer and helping the poor. As VOA's Margaret Besheer reports from Cairo, Egyptian Muslims have their own take on the centuries-old customs.
TEXT SIZE - +
Margaret Besheer
CAIRO — Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for the world's 1 billion Muslims, begins with the new moon expected in most of the world on July 20. It marks the start of a month of fasting, reflective prayer and helping the poor.

In Egypt, observers have their own take on the centuries-old customs, including the traditional daily fast from sunrise to sunset as an expression of self-sacrifice.

Islamic scholar Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour explains that Ramadan is much more than just abstaining from food and drink.

"In between fasting and praying we read the Quran, and they are the words of God Almighty," Ashour said. "And the Prophet Muhammad said whoever wants God to talk to him, let him read the Quran, so throughout Ramadan we do nothing but talk to God and God talks to us."

Many Muslims break their fast with dates and water.

At a bustling market in the Cairo district of Al Sayeda Zeinab, date sellers like Ahmed hope to attract customers by naming the varieties for sale after belly dancers, movie stars and more recently, political movements and figures.

"Last year we called them [Hosni] Mubarak, Habib al Adli, Alaa Mubarak, Suzanne Mubarak," he said. "This year we named them [President Mohamed] Morsi, the 25th of January, the Revolution, Tahrir [Square], demonstrators, according to the events we are going through."

He said the names do not always help sales.

"No, these are just names. The buyer chooses according to the date's taste," he said.

Although it is a month for spiritual renewal, many people also festively decorate and spend more money and care preparing food for their loved ones, such as Fawzia.

"I spend it like any Muslim spends it," she said. "We have good days, we pray and fast. We make nice food and invite friends and family and we are also invited."

Egyptian parents also buy colorful lanterns called fanous for their children to play with after breaking the day's fast, singing rhymes and asking for treats.

"We fast and pray and wake up in the night to pray, and we buy lanterns for the children," said Abdel Hakim.

But all the faithful spend the month in reflective prayer, for Muslims believe this was the month God revealed the first chapters of their holy book to the Prophet Muhammad.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Henrieta Marry from: USA
July 20, 2012 5:29 PM
and that is what they want to import into the US...?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid