Fasting in Pre-Islamic Arabia

by amirabbas, Iran, Saturday, August 03, 2013, 13:18 (1543 days ago)
edited by amirabbas, Saturday, August 03, 2013, 14:51

A Google search regarding the existence of the Lunar Month "Ramadan" and practice of fasting in Arabia before Islam, guided me to some new material which i share here for others that are interested!

I cannot verify the accuracy of the sources but they allude to the existence of the practice of fasting and the month named "Ramadan" even before the advent of Islam.

Actually, i think the practice of fasting was well-known to the first Believers of Islam. However, those who assert that Islam has borrowed many of its ritual from the Pagans [rather than the people distancing themselves from the Qur'an gradually after its revelation!] maintain that fasting, and the month of "Ramadan", have been incorporated into Islam from the pagan practices.

I went through some of these sources and unfortunately, they are heavily reclining on Muslim tradition, hadith and history, which we know that are not really reliable!

The question remains that if the name "Ramadan" has been given for the first time in the Qur'an as to specify a hot and scorching situation, then, why its ambiguity has not been cleared supposing that it is not the name of a certain month in the lunar calender?!

Considering the context, "Ramadan" is easier understood if taken to be the name of a month, rather than what brother Damon is suggesting!

"Ramadan was a pagan ceremony practiced by the Sabians, whether they were Harranians or Sabians. From the writings of Abu Zanad, an Arabic writer from Iraq who lived around 747 A.D., we conclude that at least one Mandaean community located in northern Iraq observed Ramadan[ii][2].

Ramadan was Originally an Annual Ritual Performed at the City of Harran. Similarities Between the Ramadan of Harran and the Islamic Ramadan.

Although the fasting of Ramadan was practiced in pre-Islamic times by the pagans of Jahiliyah, it was introduced to Arabia by the Harranians. Harran was a city on the border between Syria and Iraq, very close to Asia Minor which, today, is Turkey. Their main deity was the moon, and in the worship of the moon, they conducted a major fast which lasted thirty days. It began the eighth of March and usually finished the eighth of April. Arabic historians, such as Ibn Hazm, identify this fast with Ramadan.[iii][3]

Ibn al-Nadim wrote in his book, al-Fahrisit, about various religious sects in the Middle East. He says in the month in which the Harranians fasted for thirty days, they honored the god Sin, which is the moon. Al-Nadim described the feasts they celebrated and the sacrifices they presented to the moon.[iv][4] Another historian, Ibn Abi Zinad also speaks about the Harranians, saying that they fast for thirty days, they look toward Yemen when they fast, and they pray five times a day.[v][5] We know that Muslims also pray five times a day. Harranian fasting is also similar to that of Ramadan in Islam in the fact that they fast from before the sun rises until the sunset, just as the Muslims do during the days of Ramadan.[vi][6] Still another historian, Ibn al-Juzi, described the Harranian fasting during this month. He said they concluded their fasting by sacrificing animals and presenting alms to the poor.[vii][7] We also find these things in Islamic fasting today.

Mythological roots concerning Harran’s celebration of the moon explained the disappearance of the moon after it joined with the star cluster, Pleiades, in the constellation of Taurus. It occurred during the third week of March. The people prayed to the moon, pleading for its return to the city of Harran, but the moon refused to return. This is thought to be the explanation for why they fasted during this month. The moon did not promise to return to Harran, but it did promise to return to Deyr Kadi, a sanctuary near one of the gates of Harran. So after this month, the worshippers of Sin, the moon, went to Deyr Kadi to celebrate and to welcome the return of the moon.[viii][8] According to Ibn al-Nadim, the historian mentioned earlier, the Harranians called the feast al-Feter عيد الفطر , the same name by which the feast of Ramadan is named[ix][9]"

http://religionresearchinstitute.org/ramadan/roots.htm

Here's a book named "The Development of Islamic Ritual" which appears to be discussing "Ramadan" and "Fasting in Pre-Islamic Arabia"!

http://books.google.com/books?id=oCvf76uT3wMC&pg=PA153&lpg=PA153&dq=fasting...


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