Preparation of Ramadan Breakfast in Khartoum North (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
I have seen two totally different versions of Ramadan, a Normal version – or the non-Sudanese version – where people are happy and start preparing for it mentally and spiritually days or even weeks before it arrives. Then I came to Sudan and witnessed a totally different version of what I am used to.
The normal version of the holy month, in my opinion, is all about being closer to God, being decent, committing fewer sins, and more good deeds. It’s a month with “special offers”, and it’s a chance to fix a lot of personality issues and to clean up a lot of spiritual defects, and of course continue throughout the year. Ramadan outside of Sudan was in fact a lot like this. Everyone was trying to gain more Hasanat, people gathered to eat Iftar meal, went to the mosque together, prayed a lot, read Quran and went to Taraweeh prayer, ate lightly and slept. Perfect, it’s an according-to-the-book Ramadan.
Then I came to Sudan. I saw the Sudanese version of the month. Of course I’m not talking about everyone but I’m talking about the people who literally start panicking two weeks before Ramadan starts, this type will come to you and ask ‘Listen, can we smoke in Ramadan? It’s not eating nor drinking. No? What about Saffa (snuff)?’
Complaints will accompany Ramadan from the first day . The heat, the hunger, the thirst. Ramadan becomes the main answer to the question ‘Why?’ Why are you late to work? Ramadan. Why did you fail this exam? Ramadan. Why did you hit me with your car, break my leg and then run away? Man, its Ramadan, people are fasting, stop bothering me. Wherever you look, you will find irritated people that give you a feeling that fasting is actually a punishment rather than some sort of meditation. If you go to a shop and ask for something while the salesman is reading a newspaper, you get no reply; you ask again, he might just start yelling ‘One minute, can’t you see that I am busy?’ Then in a lower voice tone ‘Wallahi if it wasn’t Ramadan I would have said something else.’ When on public transportation you find everyone with an angry face and the Komsari yelling ‘100 more, don’t waste our time, fasting and don’t have time for you.’ And you wonder, what’s with the attitude?
At Iftar time you find people running around like crazy and drivers speeding like maniacs as if they were 2 minutes late they would die. A person flying from above would think that there is a war and people are running for their lives. Within minutes the streets are emptied and it stays like this for a while before some form of life appears outside again. Different happier looking organisms this time.
During the pre-fasting meal, Sahour, people start running around again, each individual with their own theory. They say Rogag, some sort of cereal, and Hilo-Mor, a bad-tasting Sudanese drink, are best for fasting. No, two cups of water and a cigarette is perfect and they will see you through the day. What? Who said? Anyways, Ramadan Kareem.
sudanese and proud…
yeah, aint everyone is!
HAHA!! loved it..funny enough, just 30mins ago i went to a shop after i got my stuff, which was lots , i paid the cashier and she said its 40sdg short. i asked politely to count them again. She started counting them only after she HAD TO BLOW IT OUT THE “UFF” (which by my definition as an expired air full of disgust)..the embarrassing part was when she had finished counting the money i gave her, it was spot on right, TO THE LAST PENNY..In order to slide down this embarrassment she throw a quick smile and said ” This is Ramadan” HAHA!!
Man, Ramadan in Sudan is no joke! I’ve been fasting for almost 25 years now in various countries but Sudan takes the prize. I remember my first Ramadan as an adult in Sudan and I was almost in tears! By 3 pm I was panting like a dog!
I though I would faint my Iftar time and couldn’t eat anything after the 3 delicious Abre (Hilew mur) glasses I drank.
Ramadan in Sudan, AC free, hot as hell, dusty, muwasalat, no power and/or water is not for the faint hearted! Maybe if we had the basics we’d concentrate more on the spiritual.
ana al hilo mor da ma waga3 ly :s
^ Haha during the Prophet’s (pbuh) time, it was AC free, hot as hell, dusty, no muwasalat, no power and/or water. They didn’t have the supposed ‘basics’ but managed to concentrate on the spiritual! However, loved this article! 🙂 Sudanese and Broud*
lol@ UFF (true story) wallai!
and yes during the old days they didnt have ACs and cold water and stuff but.. its better not to have the cold water at all than having it infront of you and not being able to drink it :p plus of course people were stronger back then!
Thanx for the comments ya 7ilwen 😉
i just started using twitter fa follow meeeee…
Nice one. Although am not Muslim, I lived the Ramadan experience in Khartoum. What you described is exactly what we saw. However, you did not mention the guys (and gals) who go and eat in secret, smoke in secret and then come out pretending they are fasting! They did not fear God (who sees them at all times) but fear their fellow mortals seeing them eat! Who are you fasting for? Man or God? Those faking fasting are going straight to hell!
haha, yeah i have
seen a lot of these, specially college boys and girls
NAH, not really!! we don’t do that in Sudan. Only around u. U were right about before Iftar, that people rushing, which is dangerous.
Anyway, I liked your writing.
I don’t really understand why you insult your own culture on the internet. It makes zero sense to me. There are really two sides to everything whether its in Sudan or abroad.
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