My favorite Ramadan greeting -- the crescent moon and a bright star from the night sky. I didn't filch it, I got permission from the Wisconsin astronomer.
Click image to enlarge.
The magazine Sky & Telescope is peppered with scholarly and scientific articles about the origin of Islam's symbol, the crescent moon near a bright star. Clearly such a sign must have been in the night sky at a historically significant event -- probably a battle triumph for early Islam. But so far, it's all guesswork -- even Muslim experts, astronomers and historians, haven't a clue.
Above -- and probably the mysterious original crescent moon and star -- the bright star isn't a star, but a planet. The frequency of such "bright stars" suggests Venus, but a few other pre-telescope naked-eye planets can shine brightly under common conditions. (Had it been Mars, observers would have noted its red tinge and immortalized the color in all subsequent depictions -- several national flags, e.g.)
If you know, or think you know, what (i.e., when) the origin of the crescent moon and bright star symbol is, please Leave A Comment.
Within a day the lunar month Ramadan will begin. Worldwide, the time is not precise. Many belief groups of Islam have their own set of rules to time Ramadan's start.
But none of the 1,600,000,000 Muslims on Earth will be more than a few hours behind or ahead of the others.
Last year VleeptronZ did not -- as it has without fail for a long bunch of years -- wish our world Ramadan Kareem. And Ramadan Mubarak. A Generous Ramadan, a Blessed Ramadan.
(((Vleeptron Dude))), who is almost always Perfect in all things Intellectual & Spiritual, screwed the pooch bigtime last Ramadan.
I once read that Roman Catholics recognize only one Unforgiveable Sin: Despair.
Because it is a clear, direct insult to God that you do not believe God will make even the most bleak, dark situation better.
And last Ramadan (((Vleeptron Dude))) finally succumbed to Despair.
We have a TV. I am an obsessive reader of Google News. I watch BBC, I used to watch al-Jazeera America until they pulled the plug (new Emir). Sometimes as an emetic I turn on Fox News. I love Inside Edition.
The best IMHO: Reuters. But AP grabs the Excellence & Trust prize from them now and then.
And (((I))) just couldn't take it anymore. BBC wins the prize every day for coating the world with a patina of dignity. The babies in the bombed MSF hospital are still dead and smoldering, but you don't feel as ashamed of being a human being when BBC polishes and presents it for you. (And almost every ghastly story at least ends up with a one-sentence dash of Hope for a Less Horrible Future.)
Of course there is still Hope for the World. Any adult in reasonably good health, or well-maintained on an SSRI, knows there is Hope. Even Hope that will turn out to have been True, to have been Real Hope to cure and end a terrible and shameful and public human-caused festering plague.
Last Ramadan I succumbed to Accidie. It is the way Satan -- or Dark Guy, or Slenderman, whatever you call him -- sneaks up on your soul / spirit and fills it with Despair, Hopelessness.
The protracted 19th Crusade finally got to me.
Rather than Richard Lionheart, it has been to this point led by The Stupidest Jerks in the Occident, and now, just as Ramadan is about to begin, the Stupid Jerks in the Occident have nominated Donald Trump to take over as Full-Time Top Crusade Commander.
Onward Christian Soldiers
Marching as to War
With the Cross of Jesus
Going on before
He promises to Make America Great Again, and ban all Muslims from entering the United States, and kill the families of Muslim terrorists, and Bring Back Torture -- mostly for Muslims, but I think this guy will torture Girl Scouts or Nuns or Julie Andrews, and charge people to see it live on Pay Cable.
He lives in one of many gold skyscrapers he owns. You can spot all of them because they have TRUMP screaming off them in 37,000-point type.
This is not the Main Point of this post, but as long as I got you on the line, do whatever you can, donate, demonstrate non-violently, to prevent Donald Trump from raping the USA presidential election and becoming the 45th President of the United States.
The Point of this post is to wish all (((my))) neighbors Ramadan Kareem.
I have adjusted my medication and have lifted myself a few centimeters above the Slough of Despond.
But as the 19th Crusade slogs ever onward with no light to be seen at the end of the tunnel, as Trump nears the Presidency, and as Bashar al-Assad remains the Hereditary Tyrant of Syria (he's also an ophthalmologist), keeping myself above the Slough is going to get harder and harder.
Wish (((Vleeptron Dude))) luck, strength, and improvements in Happy Pills.
There follows a Guide to Ramadan by Aftab Ali in The Independent (UK) which seems competent and authoritative about the Holy Month in which Allah communicated the Quran to Muhammed in Arabic. (Aftad Ali sure knows a lot more about Islam and Ramadan than (((Vleeptron Dude))) does.)
CAUTION: Read the entire Independent Ramadan article closely.
But you might be wise to send the kids out of the room and fasten your seatbelt before reading the Readers' Comments that follow.
The Comments will show you why (((Vleeptron Dude))) succumbed to despair last Ramadan. A cloud of ignorance and hatred has descended on my planet.
(((Vleeptron Dude))) supports Free Speech. Free Speech is not always pretty. Everything you hear in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is pretty.
While we welcome Ramadan and learn about the holy month, put on the headphones and listen to THIS.
Ramadan 2016: When does Islam's holy month start? What are the rules of fasting? Everything you need to know