Al-Mussahirati Posted by aziza on Jun 21, 2015 in Culture
Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims. It is the month of worship and spirituality. Muslims give up food and drink all day long in Ramadan (from dawn till sunset). Usually in Ramadan, people eat two meals only. At sunset, Muslims eat the breakfast mean (الإفطار), and between mid-night and dawn, Muslims eat another meal called sohoor (السحور). In the Middle East, there is a special job during the month of Ramadan called Al-Mussahirati (المسحراتي) or Al-Mussahir (المسحر).
Al-Mussahirati (المسحراتي) or Al-Mussahir (المسحر) is a person or a group of people who wake people up before dawn to eat their sohoor. You can find Al-Mussahirati in countries like Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Kuwait, etc.
Al-Mussahirati is not a formal job. It is usually undertaken by elderly people or Sufis. People who undertake it are not paid a salary by a certain institution, but instead they get presents and tips from the people. When I was young, I remember that Al-Mussahirati used to visit the houses before Ramadan and writes down the names of young children who fast for the first time to call their names every night to wake them up and encourage them to eat their sohoor and fast the following day. Al-Mussahirati receives presents from people which can include money or goods. Some people give him tea, sugar, rice, lentil, sweets, desserts, etc.
Al-Mussahirati usually uses a small drum and a stick to knock on the small drum and wake people up. The Sufis go in small parades with some instruments like drums, flutes, etc. They sometimes have al-tannura dancers with them and perform songs and dances along the streets as they wake people up. Al-Mussahirati has traditional chants that invite people to be generous and to enjoy the blessings of the holy month of Ramadan, e.g.
اصحي يا نايم
وقول نويت بكرة إن حييت
Wake up you sleepy head
Wake up and pray to God
Get your intention to fast tomorrow
And the whole month
And to pray the fajr (dawn) prayer
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