Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

I recently went to Douala, the Cameroon. On my way here my flight took me via Casablanca, and with the timings of my arrival in Casablanca and the departure for Douala I had about 20 hours. So, I booked myself into a hotel for (part of) the night, and in a very tired state the following morning tried to explore a bit of this magical city.

I had been to Morocco before, to Marrakesh. I have to say though, I found Marrakesh a bit of a disappointment, I don’t really know why but I did. What little I saw of Casablanca during the 4-5 hours I had led me to conclude that it is a more interesting city than Marrakesh, and being close to the sea is always a bonus in my opinion.

The first thing I decided to walk to see was the Hassan II mosque, and I was not disappointed. This spectacular mosque is in a spectacular location, it sits on a promontory overlooking the Atlantic ocean. Here is a map of (the central part of) Casablanca showing where it is.


The Hassan II mosque is on the Atlantic shore of Casablanca.

This next photograph shows essentially the first view that I got of the mosque as I approached it from the East. It was about 10:30am but already over 30C, so lots of children were jumping into the se off the rocks around the mosque.

The mosque was only completed in 1993, so is pretty modern. It is the largest mosque in Morocco, and has the tallest minaret, at 210 metres, of any mosque in the world. The designs on the facades of the building are exquisite, it really is a beautiful building, and its location near the sea only adds to its beauty in my opinion. I only wish my schedule had been there to take photographs near sunset, it would look spectacular as the late afternoon sun lit up its marble walls.


The Hassan II mosque is on the seashore of Casablanca. It was completed in 1993 and is the largest mosque in Morocco.

If you are ever in Casablanca I would definitely include this near the top of your sight-seeing list. It is well worth it. Just try to go on a cooler day than I did!

UPDATE: Unfortunately, to reduce my use of the allocated storage space for images, I have had to reduce the size of the original images.





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When does Ramadan begin? Well, it all depends on when the New Moon is first sighted. We know exactly when the New Moon happened, it was at 05:25 UT (Universal Time, essentially the same at Greenwich Mean Time) on Thursday the 22nd this month.

The Moon phases this month. As can be seen, the New Moon happened this month at 05:25 UT (Universal Time) on Thursday the 19th of July.

But, that is not when Ramadan traditionally begins. Ramadan begins at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in fact the month of fasting is named after the month. Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. Unlike the calendars used in the Gregorian calendar, in the Islamic calendar, the months traditionally start at the first sighting of the New Moon. Not when the New Moon happens, but the first sighting of the New Moon (or, strictly speaking, a crescent Moon).

Of course, by definition, you cannot see the New Moon, because the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun (not directly in line with it unless there is an Eclipse), so in fact to see the “New Moon” you have to wait until the Moon has passed this point by a certain amount, whereupon you can see a Crescent Moon.

A diagram showing where one can expect to see the first sign of New Moon in the month of Ramadan. Apparently, it was first seen on July 20th from the Fiji Islands.

So, as the first sighting of the Moon after the New Moon on Thursday the 19th appears to have been on Friday the 20th, that is when Ramadan began this year. Of course, next year, we know it will move forward by between 10 and 11 days, as I explained in this blog.

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