October 04, 2005
Ramadan Competition (updated)
Once again we have the peculiar situation of Ramadan beginning on different days in the region
Middle East Muslims begin Ramadan. Although not noted, Morocco and Tunisia, like Oman are going to start a day later.
Whether true or not, there is widespread perception (among Maghrebines) that these decisions (in the case of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria) are political - to show "indepedence."
A queer dynamic.
[An Update & Clarification]
Per a comment made, I believe I should expand and clarify for certain sub-literates who were or are unable to parse this and thus came to the rather queer understanding this comment was motivated by a lack of understanding of how Ramadan works:
First, of course, yes Ramadan is on the lunar cycle - and indeed in most of the MENA region begins based on moon sighting. All very well and good (or not really, but more on that in a second). One should expect then if one is depending on some rheumy eyed Imam and Ulema to sight the moon that some variability will arise - year to year and from place to place. Again, all well and good (in context).
However, as implied in the original comment, others than myself - which is to say locals who one should think do not need tedious and pretension explanations about how Ramadan works - have noted a rather queer and non-random pattern of certain countries rather consistently declaring differently from their neighours. Indeed as noted, among Maghrebines one often hears the opinion that the calling of Ramadan and the suspiciously consistent pattern reflects competition and political tension between the countries.
Justified? Well, all one can say is that it is a bit queer how consistently it happens, and unless one wishes to posit some queerly consistent climatological differences year after year after year, one is moved to see that the jaundiced suspicions are at the least not irrational.
Now, all this aside, I personally find the arch erection and fetishizing of outmoded traditional practices (sighting the moon by eye) as religious precept (despite there being nothing but a dodgey hadith for it) to be nothing but rather typical obscurantism and fetishization of past human practice. Modern science leaves no doubt as to where the moon is, within millimeters, and I see no reason to fetishize the human eye - making millions of Muslims slaves to the whims of religious establishments and human vagaries for no fundamental reason. It rather reminds me of the similar fetishization of human calligraphy in the region (for the production of religious books and especially the Quran) that retarded the introduction and use of the printing press. Pure obscurantism that serves the interest of a narrow ulema and has no real religious justification.
But then I am of the sort to always find such things irritating, being a rationalist.
Regardless, in the future when making comments, people should do a bit of learning first, and not irritate me unnecessarily with pretensious idiocies.
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A queer dynamic? Hardly. A queer comment? Defintely.
Mr. Lounsbury, before you start going off on Ramadan starting on different dates in different places, perhaps you should learn some basic astronomy. The Islamic calendar is based on lunar rotations. As such the moon is spotted in different places at different times. Thus, Ramadan, or for that matter any other Islamic calendar month, begins at different times in different places. It's not Christmas.
Posted by: flkj at October 6, 2005 02:40 AM
Perhaps before you make a droolingly stupid comment, you might bloody well learn something about who you're commenting about.
I am very fucking aware of the Islamic calendar, the traditional practices favoured by many in regards to sighting the moon and all that, you idiotic worthless waste of pretension idiocy.
I am also aware, insofar as I have spent a good fucking decade involved in the Maghreb and the Mashreq, that there are clear patterns as to some countries seeing the bloody moon differently than others - the Algerians and the Moroccans rarely declare on the same day. Something that real live practising local Maghrebine Muslims find queer. Yes, they bloody well find it queer. I presume you may want to update them on how this is not in fact queer based on your idiotic simple minded understanding.
Further to that, a good number of local, born and bred Maghrebine Muslims see a bit of political controversy in this pattern - which is hardly something that has escaped them nor something that merely I, the Expat have noticed.
This of course leaves aside those of the philosophical view that eyeballing is an outdated concept and that the Quran enjoins the use of science, but that's quite another debate.
So, yes it's not fucking Xmas, that's bloody obvious, but also it's not just about the eyeballing, you stupid fucking pretension whinging git. No, it is in fact about Ramadan competition in the Maghreb.
Next time you make a comment, don't assume you have something on me, moron.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at October 6, 2005 05:07 AM