Friday, September 05, 2008

In the lee of the jihad

The evening breathes deeper. The air grows still. The setting sun floats lightly on the water. All along the pier the tiny abras are quiet. On the other shore, the large dhows stir comfortably. Silence soothes the glass facades of the office blocks across the creek. No tourist cruises or merchant barges mar the last minutes before Iftar. In this pocket of time, the world becomes what it should be. Voices are gentle. Hearts are untroubled. Minds are reflective. When the muezzin calls and the single canon shot announces the end of day, the weathered men in the wooden boats will lay out their fruit and invite anyone passing to share the breaking of the fast. At street corners and in convenience stores, there will be free pastries and water for all. All across the city, the tables will fill up and the darkening sky will be sweetened by the convivial fragrance of shisha.

Last year was my ninth Ramadan in the Middle East and the magic of the holy month was still as fresh as the first one. In the hospitable lands, God was a kind stranger with a pot of coffee and a bowl of dates, religion was the liberal curiosity of children.

3 comments:

Thom said...

>the single canon shot

A rare typo and one that reads as scathing criticism!

Extra No1 said...

Hey! where did you experience a ramadan so beautiful? i thought we lived in the same city!

Gargoyle said...

That's because you live in the fashionable end and go only to MoE.

And anyway you don't even go to the beach five minutes away so you're unlikely to have made it all the way across town to the creek.

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