Pilgrim in Jordan – Amman

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. – Khalil Gibran


You may wonder, what does a pilgrimage have to do with Jordan? To say that my trip was a journey undermines its purpose. A journey may have little or no motif that lays the foundation on which the traveler directs his step.

I traveled to Jordan on a pilgrimage; the reasons I shall keep to myself. Through this reading (and the following posts), I hope you understand the purpose of my travels.

My arrival in Amman has been greeted with frowns – which I expected – and a 20 minute “interview” at the airport, given I am the only Syrian on the plane who suspiciously arrived when a bomb blew off in Damascus that very day. I have been alerted that such things are standard procedures, but I did not expect that I had to narrate my life’s story to the head of security for entertainment in an attempt to convince him I came to Jordan for tourism and not running away from serving the Syrian military.


Amman is a beautiful city. Some of you might be raising eyebrows (I know some of my friends in Dubai did when I told them where I was going), but I am an honest person and I can honestly say I loved Amman.

I traveled more or less everywhere – from Jabal al Taj to Al Hussein Gardens. My soul, however, found its place in downtown Amman – specifically where Knafet 7abeeba is (yes yes I know, food!). The simplicity of the place won me over the snobbish Abdoun area (which I admit, is a great place, but I don’t like such “high class” regions in a city) and seeing 7afartal, kids running about, people selling all sorts of stuff and men group-hollering and whistling at ladies next to a mosque is something you can’t not be amused about.

Amman is much cleaner than Damascus – I admit – and is overall more “higher class” (arqa). However, the differences in social class is much more noticeable in Amman. Whereas in Damascus you could travel from the richest areas to the Old City without much of a change in scenery (bar the number of people per square meter and pollution), in Amman there is a stark contrast in the quality of the roads, houses (and number of houses) as well as the types of cafes and people – how they dress, act and live.

The constant factor in Amman though, is cabs :D Anything that can be physically or verbally done against someone’s genitals can be learned from cab drivers.


It felt great to smell clean air. Clean? Yes clean. No dust, no humidity… a chilling, crisp breeze with clouds hung low. I miss the clouds, the blue sky, the clean fresh air – especially after the rain. The smell of the grass and the trees, and the wind, even if it is in downtown mixed with car fumes.

Amman was the start of my pilgrimage. This is just a post of many to come – the Dead Sea, Amman again, and the grand finale of Petra and Rum. So stay tuned, and enjoy the Amman’s photos on my photo blog (I will upload the rest when the appropriate post is published!)

PS: for a brief cynical overview of the whole trip, check out Hamza’s post

The Sighting of the Moon?

Finally for once the whole Muslim world agreed that Ramadan starts September 1st (edit, Silent Reader pointed out Libya and Iran started differently).

Now I get an email stating that Eid will be “dependant on the sighting of the moon”.

My question is: WHY?!

Science has come a long way now and we can predict weather (which fall under Chaos Theory) so definitely we can predict something as systematic as the lunar cycle.

It pisses me off when for instance, Saudi Arabia says they saw the moon, so Ramadan starts, and Syria says they didn’t see anything and they delay Ramadan by one day. I thought the moon is a universal phenomena and won’t really change much if you go vertically up just a little in lattitude. If it appears in one place, it should appear pretty much everywhere in the region (poles excluded but will come to that later).

Which brings me to the point of Qadr. I am fine with not having the exact date revealed and that it is most likely 27. Now, aside from the fact that some people say “the night changes every year” *rolls eyes… I mean if the Quran was revealed on 27 then it is 27 on all Ramadans not 27 in one and 23 in another*… when we have different countries starting with different dates then which country is actually “correct” about the night (let us assume it is 27)?

A sheikh in one khutba said “but this is one of the great miracles!”. I am not going to that mosque again.

Now let’s assume I’m following the traditional way and I am living in Antarctica. I get 6 months plus worth of total darkness and a couple of months of total sunshie. Strictly speaking, then, a lunar month is 29-30 years there.

What if the moon flew off orbit or it exploded? Will Islam be doomed? Will we then resort to the scientific, calculated dates? We’re doing it for PRAYERS… I mean God forbid they said Iftar is at 6:23 and it is actually 6:24!

I can understand when 1400 years ago the sighting of the moon was the best if not only indication for the new lunar month. But now in 2008 things are different. Islam told us to embrace science, to seek it and make use of it. Why aren’t we? They’re predicting the exact timing of a prayer can’t they predict what stage the moon is in?!

Eid Mubarak :D I will be freezing in Jordan (it is 27C-31C at night here and 3C-7C at night there) starting from tomorrow LOL!

PS: You don’t need to call me a lying blaspheming infidel. Am a believer and like everyone else I just have questions and seek answers.