Our Moorish Ramadan (Oct 1st -31st)
I have found since converting to Islam, each year the observation of “Ramadan” sparks many questions. The questions come from those who also observe “Ramadan” and those who do not. Moorish American Moslems do not practice Islam in the same fashion that Muslims practice Islam. This difference causes confusion amongst those who are not Moorish American Moslems. Some of the differences include the fact that we have different Prophets, speak different languages, and practice different cultural traditions. One of my closest friends is Ghanaian American. She is not religious, but her fiancé is Muslim and lives in Ghana, Africa. One of my Jewish co-workers and my closest friend both wished me a happy “Ramadan” season on Thursday, September 13, 2007. My response was thanks but My “Ramadan” hasn’t started yet. This response in both situations opened up a discussion about when and why Moorish American Moslems observe “Ramadan”.
Muslims observe “Ramadan” according to the Islamic calendar, which is a type of lunar calendar. “Ramadan” is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Since the lunar calendar varies from year to year the dates of “Ramadan” changes from year to year. In 2006 “Ramadan” was observed between September 23, 2006 and October 22, 2006; in 2007 it was observed between September 13, 2007 and October 12, 2007 and in 2008 it will be observed between September 1, 2008 and October 1, 2008. “Ramadan” dates may vary in different countries secondary to what indication is used to determine the beginning of “Ramadan”. Some Muslims use the local physical sighting of the New Moon during the month of “Ramadan” to begin fasting; others use the calculated time of the New Moon or the Saudi Arabian declaration to determine the start of “Ramadan”. Muslims believe that the Qur’an was sent down to earth during the month of “Ramadan” (Sura 2:185). Muhammad told his followers that the gates of Heaven would be open during the month of “Ramadan” and the gates of Hell would be closed (Sahih al- Bukhari). The first day of the next month, which is Shawwal, is spent in celebrations and is observed as the “festival of breaking fast”.
Moorish Moslems observe the month of fasting, “Ramadan” and Jubilee in October. Every year “Ramadan” is observed between October 1st and October 31st. In Latin octo means “eight” reflecting that October was the eighth month of the Roman calendar, but October is modernly known as the tenth month of the year according to the widely used Gregorian calendar, which is based on a Roman solar calendar. Astronomically speaking October is the Seventh House. This is significant as pointed out by Dr. Ra Saadi El- Chief of Ministers because in Leviticus 25 verse 9-10, Moses was told to convey to the Hebrews not to do any work during this month and time period of the seventh month and seventh year. October was set-a-side by the Grand Council of Governors as the Moorish month of fasting. This month was chosen because it is the month in which Prophet Drew Ali, founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America, performed great works. Some of his great works performed during the month of October include the declaration of Moorish Americans as a nation of people, setting –a- side the first Moorish Science Temple of America Temple # 1 and assembling the Supreme Grand Council.
Personally the month of fasting is; a time to reflect on the works (good or not so good) performed during the year, a time for personal healing and rejuvenation, a time to study religious texts, a time to perfect prayers and meditation. From sunrise to sunset those who observe “Ramadan” are to abstain from all carnal thoughts and carnal actions. For me these carnal ways include fasting from food, sex, foul language, television, radio, shopping etc. Fasting is the way in which we train our bodies to moderate our intake of the manifest such that we don’t get “caught up” in the manifest and our will to be patient. During the fasting period we feed our spirits by reading religious texts to strengthen our will to the tune of the will of Allah. At sunset we eat food and drink fluids realizing how good these foods and fluids taste. We then Praise Allah even more sincerely for the foods and fluids we have, no matter how little or how plentiful they may be. During times of trials and tribulations or “sunrise” we are able to pray, meditate, use the perfected practice of patience and moderation to get us through to the “sunset”, if you will.
Sheikess Shante B. El