The legacy of the cannon announcing happiness to millions

Added on May 13, 2018

The iftar canon “Midfaa Al Iftar – in Arabic”, an Egyptian old story related to the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims are obligated to fast according to Islamic moral, from the break of the dawn till sunset.

As fasting is one of Islamic five main pillars, it has been always related to millions gathering on having their breakfast meal just after the sunset, in harmony and happiness performing their duty.

The old story of the advent of iftar canon said to be coincidental, during the Islamic Mamluk dynasty reign over Egypt, on the first day of Ramadan 859 AH-1455 AD, after the Egyptian Mamluk governor Khoshkadam received a canon as a gift from a German factory owner.

As the first trial shot of the canon encountered sunset time, Cairo inhabitants were thrilled, thought that was an announcement for breakfast.

On the next day people, Sheikhs of neighborhoods and sects thronged to the governor’s palace thanking him for his gift to the residents, the sultan was pleased with the idea, and accordingly ordered the canon to fire every day of Ramadan at sunset announcing breakfast time.

The story continues with the canon nickname “Haja Fatima”, as the canon stopped to fire accidentally for some days, notables delegation went again to the governor`s palace where they met his wife “Fatima” this time, and she conveyed the message to her husband.

The canon started to work again, and named after the governor’s wife name, and up to this moment, a cannon is placed on the plateau of Muqatam near Cairo citadel to announce iftar.

The tradition spread out from Egypt to the whole Muslim world, starting with the Levant region having the same iconic nickname, with the canon still resounds with the live tradition and survived custom.

So, if you are a visitor to Cairo in Ramadan and suddenly heard to a canon booming at sunset, don’t worry, it is breakfast time.