The First Fajr Prayer in Ramadan by Karim Shabaan
Karim Shabaan is a young film maker from Egypt. I first came across his work last Ramadan when he started his Ramadan 29 series, a daily series of short films documenting the different traditions of Ramadan across Egypt. I thought it was a great series, but unfortunately, I can't find any of them online now.
But the good news is that Karim Shabaan is back again this year with a new season and since this is The Culturist's first Ramadan, I will share some of his new short films here.
The first episode is about the Fajr prayer (dawn prayer), the first of the five daily prayers recited by practicing Muslims.
We went to a very special place called Al-Rifa'i Mosque, located in Cairo, Egypt, in Midan al-Qal'a, adjacent to the Cairo Citadel. The building is located opposite the Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, which dates back to around 1361, and was architecturally built to complement the older structure.
This was part of a vast campaign by the 19th century rulers of Egypt to both associate themselves with the perceived glory of earlier periods in Egypt's Islamic history and modernize the city. The mosque was constructed next to two large public squares and off of several European style boulevards constructed around the same time.
The Al-Rifa'i Mosque was constructed in two phases over the period between 1869 and 1912, when it was finally completed.