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Ramadan

Ramadan in Morocco

pastryofmoro  Ramadan
Ramadan 

Although the fast of Ramadan is accompanied by a multitude of secondary rites, abstinence remains the heart: between sunrise and sunset, we do not drink or eat, we do not smoke and we deprive ourselves of reports sex. In Morocco, a majority seems to agree to fast during Ramadan or, at least, to observe the norm by eating or drinking in secret. Many Moroccans will admit that they have been cheating in this month, but such sprains are the exceptions that confirm a solidly rooted rule.

For a whole month, the whole country adapts the same pace of life. At the end of the afternoon, the capital is deserted. Not a car, no more tram, buses are stopped. Only a lost pedestrian or a taxi driver rushes on the giant, empty boulevards. A deafening silence reigns. Yet, a few hours before, the streets of the ancient city of Rabat still look like a hive. Men, women and children jostle in front of the stalls of merchants on which stacks of dates and honey cake compete. Just outside the wall, sellers of orange juice are besieged.

Before the time of breaking the fast, the smell of harira, the nourishing soup that is eaten on Ramadan evenings, spreads in the streets. We can see the sweet buzz of moulinex pressing high-speed fruit cocktails. At the moment when it is so dark that we can no longer distinguish a white wire from a black wire, cannon shots sound. Follows the muezzin's call to prayer. A few minutes later, we hear the tintinnabulement cutlery and lids through the open windows. The streets will remain deserted for another hour or two, time to savor and digest the ftour, the meal by which we break the fast, and watch the new television series specially designed for the occasion. During Ramadan, the national channels replace the usual series of Turkish or Latin-American production with a purely Moroccan series, in which the public's most popular screen stars appear at great expense.

The television stays on while the family squeezes around the packed table, besides the harira, with fruits, eggs, glasses of milk, juice and, for the better-off families, pancakes, cakes and other delights refined. Coffee thermos are also present, to dispel the fatigue of a day of fasting. It's only late at night that the streets are filling up again - at least during those years when Ramadan takes place in summer and the days are long. During the Ramadan evenings, the streets are much livelier than usual. The shops reopen for a few more hours and the cafes are always full until late at night. The cheerful atmosphere makes you forget the inertia of the day, often long for those who get up at the break of day for shour, the breakfast consumed between dawn and dawn. Introverted attitudes turn into extroverted gaiety. In the evening, we catch up. The carnal pleasures, subjects of diurnal ban, have a stronger attraction during the evenings of Ramadan. Chastity, which prohibits too much closeness between men and women during the day, seems to disappear completely after dark. For many Moroccan girls, it is only during Ramadan that they can wander freely through the streets in the evening - and they are having a blast.

A month more and more sacred?

Many Moroccans decide to add a few days to compulsory fasting by also fasting the first six days of the month of chawwal, which follows Ramadan. According to some hadiths, these six days of additional fasting greatly increase the religious benefits (hasanât) of the believers. The Prophet reportedly said that the benefit of fasting thirty days of Ramadan would be multiplied by ten. The interest and the follow-up of this recommendation are currently of such magnitude that we can talk about a new fashion. Do Moroccans participate in this purification exercise because the pillars of faith are not always respected during the other months of the year? In this case, this extension of Ramadan would act as a form of compensation.

Ramadan is clearly the most respected Islamic pillar in Morocco. Every year, the social pressure to fast, even if one is sick or traveling - two of the exceptions admitted, seems to be increasing. Whether or not someone does their daily prayers in ordinary times is today a personal affair that largely escapes social control. Similarly, there is a certain laxity towards alcohol consumers, especially in urban areas. Similarly, in the city, premarital sex has become so common that the religious ban on them is dulled. On the other hand, not fasting during Ramadan is very badly seen in Morocco. So much so that Moroccan sociologists note: "It seemed risky to ask Moroccans if they were fasting or not, so fasting is considered the essential marker of Islam" (El Ayadi et al., 2007 p. 193). A survey of religious practices in Morocco in 2006 shows that 59.9% of participants consider that someone who does not fast is not Muslim, while 44.1% find that not fasting is the worst. transgressions. And even though 40.8% of respondents find that fasting or not fasting is a private matter, 82.7% would not want restaurants and cafes to remain open for Muslims during Ramadan. Another interesting result of this survey is that women are a little harsher than men in condemning transgressions during the holy month: 64% of women surveyed believe that a person who does not fast is not Muslim.
Ramadan offers Moroccan women the opportunity to manifest their religiosity on a scale equal to that of men. Unlike the rite of prayer (salat) for example, for which almost only men are accustomed to move to the mosque, women participate to the same degree and with the same intensity in the total social fact that is Ramadan. That may be why they attach so much importance to it. The same author also notes that during the period of her land, she was considered Muslim because she was fasting. Many women had difficulty believing that she was able to fast while she was not Muslim.

An incomparable atmosphere

As in other Muslim countries, the Moroccan experience of Ramadan is first and foremost an exercise that passes through the belly. It is therefore not insignificant of a culinary case. Although the harira is consumed throughout the year, its favorite soup status stems largely from the special atmosphere and circumstances that prevail at the time of breaking the fast during the month of Ramadan.

This being so, the testing of the stomach makes sense only if one considers these practices as an injunction to body purification and, ideally, spiritual. The limitation of human weaknesses (tobacco, alcohol, sex, insults, etc.) makes sense only if one is aware that it aims at increased attention to the divine order. Religious sensitivity is clearly higher during the holy month. Men and women wear more modest clothes - at least during the day - and most women do not wear makeup. For a whole month, there is no sexual harassment on the streets. Men who are used to only going to the mosque on Fridays now move there every night to attend the tarawih, the nightly congregational prayers. Especially the tarawih at the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, recited by Imam Omar El Qzabry, who enjoy enormous popularity. Television images show men weeping with emotion during these prayers.

A night is singular. The Night of Destiny, laylat al-qadr, is a structuring moment of Ramadan. This blessed night, which falls on the 27th day of the month, commemorates the night during which the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet through the first five verses of Surah al-'Alaq (sometimes: Surah al-Iqraa). It is during that night, it is said, that God decides the fate of believers. In addition to prayers, there are many acts of generosity and other actions to accumulate religious merits (ajr or hasanât). Many spend the entire night at the mosque for a religious vigil. Laylat al-qadr is also an opportunity to familiarize children with the joys of the month of fasting. Many children make a first attempt at fasting that day, and we celebrate this feat. If they can afford it, parents offer caftan or djellaba and babouches to their children, before queuing for a photo shoot.



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