Palestinian youths have revived the ancient Ramadan custom of the “Musahirati,” or dawn awakeners, by walking through the city before dawn banging drums and shouting out to wake up fasting Muslims for “suhour,” the meal they eat before beginning the day’s fast.
Three young men wearing the traditional clothing of the “Musahirati” have been noisily performing their duties in Jerusalem’s Old City.
“They tour around the neighborhoods in the Old City and in the streets and they wake people up with friendly words and drums, so children woken up like this will have a fond remembrance of the month,” said Abed al-Mueti al-Natsheh, who lives in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Palestinian men in Hebron are also keeping alive the Ramadan tradition of their forefathers.
The twelve “Musaharati” in Hebron are volunteers for the Red Crescent medical society.
“The idea of Musahirati in the Red Crescent society is an initiative by young people which has been happening for six years now. The idea came from youth work to revive the Palestinian tradition of ‘Musahirati’, which used to be a long forgotten custom,” one of the Red Crescent volunteers, Jawdat al-Muhtasib, said.
Al-Muhtasib said present-day “Musaharti” should follow the traditions of former generations, who never missed a day’s work during the holy month of Ramadan, although they lacked sleep because of their night time duties.
One Red Crescent volunteer, Osama Abu Subayh, said “Musahirati” duties might have changed over hundreds of years but the drummers made a valuable contribution to the observance of Ramadan.
“Musahirati is an old idea. The Prophet (Mohammed) called for it in his ‘Hadith’. In times gone by it was performed in a different way. Doing it the modern way we wake up people, the Red Crescent volunteer team walks through the streets and neighbourhoods of Hebron,” Abu Subayh said.
During the holy month of Ramadan Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn till dusk during this period. Muslims are also expected to demonstrate empathy with the poor, lonely and needy.