Wondering why a cannon is fired to mark the end of fasting during Ramadan? We have the answers
12 May 2019| Last updated on 19 April 2020
Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
Many Arab nations have cannons that fire at the time of the maghrib prayer during Ramadan.
If you live close to City Walk or Madinat Jumeirah, you might be wondering why you hear the deafening boom of a cannon each day at sunset. But the Ramadan cannons are nothing to be concerned about - in fact, they're an important tradition during the Holy Month.
First used to mark the start of Ramadan, the cannons fire daily at five locations across Dubai at maghrib, followed by the sound of azan echoing from the nearby mosque.
For Muslims in the country, the sounds of the iftar cannons and prayers are closely associated with the ending of fasts each day throughout the Holy Month for most UAE residents. For non-Muslims and tourists, they're an attraction that shouldn't be missed during this special time.
We take a look at why cannons are fired, their history and their significance.
Why is a cannon fired during Ramdan?
Historically, every mosque in the UAE had muezzins - the person who calls to prayer - but they did not have loudspeakers until a few decades ago. As a result, firing a cannon was the best way to let people know that it was time to end their fasts - a tradition that has continued since the early 1960s.
How many iftar cannons are in Dubai?
There are six British-made 25 PDR MK1L artillery cannons; five are located across Dubai at the Burj Khalifa, the prayer grounds in Al Mankhool and Al Baraha and also in City Walk and Madinat Jumeirah. A sixth has been arranged as a spare should it be needed throughout the month.
The Ramadan cannons in Dubai have a sound range of 170 decibels! Which is 40 decibels louder than that of a military jet.
In Abu Dhabi, it is a tradition for a cannon to be fired at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to mark iftar each evening. There are almost a dozen located in Sharjah and when fired, the shots can be heard across the country.
How far back in history do the cannons go?
As per The National, the earliest use in this region is believed to trace back to the 19th Century when they were fired in Sharjah by Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi.