FeaturedRamadan 2024

Iftar cannon: A time-honored tradition in Kuwait for 117 years

The tradition of the Iftar cannon in Kuwait dates back to 1907 during the reign of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, the seventh ruler of the State of Kuwait. Ali bin Aqab bin Ali Al-Khazraji is credited as the first individual to launch the Ramadan cannon in Kuwait.

The holy month of Ramadan is synonymous with timeless rituals, among which the “Iftar Cannon” stands out. All eyes eagerly await its launch, signaling the end of fasting hours and the call to Maghrib prayer. Its booming sound brings joy and happiness to both children and adults alike. This cherished tradition has graced the country for approximately 117 years.

When the words “Ready… Throw” echo, the Iftar cannon is fired at Naif Palace, drawing eager crowds of families who flock to witness and capture this iconic moment. The event, broadcasted on Kuwait’s official television for years, fosters a beloved traditional atmosphere as Iftar time approaches.

As the month of Ramadan begins, inquiries arise regarding the origins of the Iftar cannon. Delving into historical memory reveals that coincidence played a significant role in the establishment of this distinctive ritual during the holy month.

The inception of the tradition dates back to the year 865 AH in Mamluk Cairo. Historical sources indicate that the first firing of the Iftar cannon occurred by chance. Sultan Khashkadam intended to test a new cannon, and the shots coincidentally commenced at the moment of the sunset call to prayer.

Mistakenly perceived as a deliberate tradition to signal the end of fasting, people began to express gratitude to the Sultan for the new custom, which eventually became a regular occurrence at both Iftar and Suhoor.

This renowned tale runs parallel to another narrative that traces the origin of the iftar cannon back to the era of Khedive Ismail. According to this account, Fatima, the daughter of the Khedive, issued a decree to use the cannon to signal the moment of breaking the fast throughout the month of Ramadan. Consequently, Egyptians began referring to it as “the Hajja Fatima cannon.”

The concept was adopted by numerous Arab and Islamic nations, Kuwait among them. The tradition of the Iftar cannon in Kuwait dates back to 1907 during the reign of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, the seventh ruler of the State of Kuwait. Ali bin Aqab bin Ali Al-Khazraji is credited as the first individual to launch the Ramadan cannon in Kuwait. This tradition enabled Kuwaitis to determine the times for breaking their fasts and beginning Suhoor. The Ramadan cannon, initially a gift from the British government, became synonymous with this practice in Kuwait.

The Ramadan Cannon in Kuwait was initially launched from the Seif Palace. It was later relocated to its current location in the Naif Palace in the early 1950s. The Naif Palace was constructed in 1920 during the reign of Sheikh Salem Al-Mubarak.



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