Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ramadan experience in Makkah

Ramadan experience in Makkah

THE experience of Ramadan in Makkah is different from all the Islamic countries. Life dramatically changes, eating habits change and even some common dishes are replaced with special food items.

The large congregation for Isha and Taraweeh prayers represent the dynamic unity of all the Muslims. The Imam reciting the Qur'an, bowing and prostrating with thousands following represents a lovely scene of obedience not found in any religion of the world.

The white and the black stand side by side. Islam stands for unity of Muslims as one nation worshipping only one God and following His divine guidance.

Sudanese in their white turban, Egyptians in their long lose shirts, Omanis with their particular headgear, Jordanians in wide trousers, Moroccans in red Turkish caps with their cloaks on, Nigerians with their shirts and trousers of the same cloth, Pakistanis in their Shirt-and-Shalwar, Indonesians in their bush-shirt and long skirt and Malaysians wearing their black caps and long skirts all gathered together in the mosque under the banner of Islam.

For Iftar, only dates and Saudi coffee are allowed inside the Holy Mosque. People distribute dates hoping to earn extra reward. Outside the mosque, aromas of different dishes delight the passer-bys.

Samosas are special attraction and healthy drinks made from yoghurt are seen everywhere.

People have ten minutes for Iftar. Thousands of workers in the Holy Mosque clean the area within seconds after Iftar to prepare for the congregational prayer.

At home, Saudis have a special soup made of broken wheat, meat and spices. It is said that the soup revives the strength lost during fasting. The most common dishes in Makkah during Ramadan are Kabsa, Zurbiyan, Mandi and roasted meat.

After Maghrib prayer, people crowd restaurants for dinner. When the call for Isha prayer is given after a two-hour break, people rush back for their Isha and Taraweeh prayers that last for nearly two hours.

Sleeping habits also change drastically. People stay awake all night for worship and take rest during the day. Working hours are also changed to the effect.

Ramadan here is also known for its charity. Tons and tons of dates are freely distributed.

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