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Nur ar-Ramadan

Afghans Enjoy Religious Courses in Ramadan

Afghans Enjoy “Religious Courses” in Ramadan 


By Misbah Abdulbaqi, IOL Correspondent


Ramadan in Afghanistan, as is almost typical of other Muslim countries, witnessed this year some old traditions on their way to disappearing, while others are setting a solid foot in the turbulent country.

Other traditions have gone through some changes in Ramadan. These include how often Afghans complete reciting the Noble Qur’an during Tarawih prayers.

During the era of jihad against the Soviet invasion, those memorizing Qur’an were few and they’d finish recitation every two or three days in Ramadan. correspondent says that due to the Muslim tide following the anti-Soviet jihad, the number of Qur’an memorizers multiplied and the old method of completing Qur’an recitation in two or three days no longer exists.Qur’an Courses

The latest Ramadan-related tradition widely spread in some parts of Afghanistan and in refugee camps in Pakistan, is the Qur’an interpretation courses that start in mid-Sha`ban up to the end of Ramadan.

Such courses are usually divided to three stages, according to the degree of their specialization. The first focuses on teaching Shari`ah sciences to students and graduates of religious schools. This stage is rare and carried out only by senior scholars.

Courses of the second stage are also intended for students and graduates of religious schools, but consider the presence of some of the public. These are similarly limited.

The third stage or type of religious course is the one attended by the public, where people get acquainted with Islam's instructions and guidelines.

The holy month of fasting represents a great significance for Afghans. The average Afghan deems inexcusable eating or drinking during Ramadan to be synonymous to atheism.

Unlike Pakistanis, Afghans are of the view that once any Muslim country sees the crescent, Muslims all over the world should start fasting. Hence, they fast and celebrate the `Eid on the same days as Saudi Arabia.

Consequently, points of dispute are clear in the regions where Afghan immigrants reside in Pakistan, as Afghans, for example, start fasting while Pakistanis do not.Mass Iftar


Mass iftar in mosques is one Afghan Ramadan tradition that has recently declined.

Noble Qur’an interpretation courses, meanwhile, are the most prominent among the new phenomena accompanying Ramadan recently. correspondent says that mass iftar banquets in mosques form an Afghan tradition currently vanishing in Afghan towns but still ongoing in villages.

Afghan villagers gather in the mosque to have iftar together. Their food typically contains spinach, potatoes or some sort of local vegetables.

Children gather in Afghan villages in a wide yard immediately before the call for Maghrib Prayers, as if waiting to break their fast.

Iftar in CampsIn Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan, iftar is no longer collective, but rather individual, as every man breaks his fast at home using dates and bakoura, a well-known Pakistani dish, as well as vegetables and juice.

The retreat of the phenomenon of mass iftar in refugee camps is due to the fact that camps comprise people from different areas of Afghanistan with different traditions and dishes.

They have so far failed to indulge in new social traditions unique of such temporary communities.

The number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan is estimated at 800,000 to 1,000,000 living in the four Pakistani provinces, particularly the northwestern border province.


People in Afghanistan mostly have their sahur early. There is no particular system to wake people for having their sahur, but where there are mosques with loudspeakers, the job is easily done.

Most people have a complete sahur meal including cooked vegetables, bread prepared especially for sahur, and green tea, which is deemed an integral part of the late night Ramadan meal.

Among the most deeply-rooted traditions is Afghans’ keenness on performing prayers in mosques during Ramadan.

This is due to the fact that people during other months perform their prayers individually in their fields or work sites.

During Tarawih, mosques teem with worshipers. Also the majority of people stay awake after sahur to recite the Qur’an until dawn prayers.