RAMADAN IN ISTANBUL
By Shaykh Abdal Hakim MuradRamadan brings to the surface some of Istanbul?s deepest human secrets. The great City resembles the improbable arm of the sea that cuts it in half, cheerfully consistent on the surface, yet churned by strange currents known only to veteran fishermen. The fasting month, in spite of its private nature (?Fasting is Mine?, as the hadith insists), is more of a public affair than any of the other rites of religion, perhaps because of its elemental quality; and in this city it forces each citizen to decide how he stands with God. No-one is surprised to see the men in green caps crouched behind the wheels of their old Shahins, weaving through the traffic ten minutes before sundown. More interesting are the fashionable young men with pigtails and goatees (the current fad), discreetly accepting glasses of tea as the adhan divides the City into the grateful and the guilty. The first useful lesson that Istanbul provides is never to judge by appearances.