Thursday, September 17, 2009
Part of the challenge to doing Peace Month in tandem with Ramadan is the amorphous start & finish timing, both for the month overall and for daily timing of dawn & dusk. Ramadan begins when the new crescent moon is sighted, and ends similarly when the first slice of crescent moon appears. This date varies in different places, as does dawn & dusk. These naturally precise instances don't fit our human-generated time structures very well - we don't actually know the start or end of the month until it's upon us, and each year it changes when judged by season or the Western calendar. Sunrise & sunset are charted to the minute for major cities, but for those in the suburbs or the countryside, the instant of transition is nebulous & tricky to chart, unless a nearby mosque is calling Fajr or Maghrib prayer. Fasting (sawm in Arabic) should continue until darkness makes black & white threads indistinguishable, or perhaps until no remaining thread of light appears. The end of Ramadan & Peace Month will be this Friday night... or Saturday night -- or Sunday night... The following day a festival begins, Eid al-Fitr. For those who've successfully challenged Peace Month, it will be a time for congratulations. But it's also a time to boldly critique war and the horrible impact of violence upon innocent non-combatants. Please work for Peace.