Image 1 of 12: Haifa Wehbe has adored Ramadan since childhood: She professes her love for this memory-filled holy season. She
has refused to sing in tents for the holy month out of respect: "During Ramadan I pray & read the Koran,
I dress modestly & fast. It is the time of year that I chose to abide by the religious teachings."
Image 1 of 12: Love for Lanterns: Haifa elaborates on Ramadan. Despite the absence of the holy lantern in Lebanon,
in contrast to Egypt, where it's considered the center-piece of Ramadan, she has childhood memories
of roaming Egyptian-lit streets at night. She is reliving those, now married to Egyptian husband.
Image 1 of 12: Amr Diab lays it on large for Ramadan in Cairo's traditional street, public feast - called the 'Rahman Tables'. Diab calls
for donations to set up these yearly 'tables', though his fans see fit for him to foot the
bill personally. He wrote on his FB Wall one Ramadan, 'Allah calls for our return to Islam this month'.
Image 1 of 12: Amr Diab: The Egyptian face of modern Arabic pop music has declared his desire to perform Omrah rituals (a visit to the Holy
sites of Mecca & Medinah any
time of year, not designated as 'Hajj' season) at Ramadan time. He is reported to have 'made' Omrah during or just after
the holiest of months, in past years.
Image 1 of 12: Partner in Omrah: Yusra - famous Egyptian diva-actress in her 50s- is also inspired to perform Omrah at Ramadan, and is
known for these Holy Month pilgrimages.
Image 1 of 12: Ghada Abdel Razek plans a Omrah this Ramadan after shooting her Ramadan-aired TV series,
"Samara" which sparked furor for her belly-dancing role. This Egyptian actress has attracted controversy for her
dancing, her choice of film roles, and for her supposed opposition to the Jan 25 movement.
Image 1 of 12: Ramadan Kareem ('is generous'): Celebrities in the Muslim world, notoriously in Egypt, like to donate to charity at Ramadan,
whilst in turn spending a lot on those
public extravagant displays of their bounty. Some spend extortionately in laying on their "Rahman tables" for instance.
Image 1 of 12: Celebrities out of the region, (as well as the religion) have also been drawn into Ramadan fever: Barack
Hussein Obama (perhaps showing his true inner 'Muslim' colors!) was attacked this month for not issuing a
"proclamation" for Easter, while he issued one for Ramadan, the "Shariah Easter"!
Image 1 of 12: Angelina Jolie, 'Mother Teressa' to World Refugees, spent time in Ramadan, 2010, in a Pakistan refugee camp - donating
generously to refugees. While she would have donned the traditional head scarf any time of
year, she took extra care to veil her whole head during this symbolically Muslim month.
Image 1 of 12: Holy Shakira! While in the region in a June tour, she has only just significantly released, early this Ramadan, a video
featuring herself veiled in Morocco. She is captured shopping for sweets in a market, sporting traditional clothes,
including the 'hijab 'during the Mawazeen Music festival.
Image 1 of 12: Teetotaler Ramadan: Nightclub-party districts in some alcohol-offering Mid-east countries tend to slow
down, even to desertion, in majority Muslim countries - some officially shutting shop for the month. Reveling Muslims often
forgo alcohol, as they enjoy their faith for the month.
Image 1 of 12: Christmas v Ramadan: Born Christians will often embrace or indeed remember their Christianity at Christmas,
the season of good will (and commerce). Such 'holy' times, including Ramadan, do tend to
attract seasonal followers of religion, who use the holidays as a time for family and love.
Come Ramadan time and we have hordes of what could be considered seasonal followers of the Faith, or Muslims observant for just one month.
There is a large population of Muslims who Remember their faith at Ramadan - like those Christians for Christmas who celebrate the holidays, or even attend Christmas Mass, having not stepped into church or uttered a Hail Mary all year round. This month throws a glaring light over the people who drink and don't pray all year but nevertheless are happy to join in the Ramadan season and quit alcohol for a month, or what have you. For some, it's a cultural habit or practice they've known all their life- while for others, it's practiced as for adults in the Western (or Eastern) sense of a Detox diet and cleansing. If done properly, the fast is of body and mind. But often it is less tied into the true doctrine of Islam that requires Daily Prayers, Zakkah (or alms), Hajj and the Shahada or oath. This yearly membership of the Faith however is acceptable for many, since the month of Ramadan is considered obligatory to any person of adult age deemed fit to fast.
Some take the opportunity to show their charitable sides during Ramadan: Some announce their religious acts, such as Omrah, (a pilgramage to the Holy Sites at Mecca made any time of the year, bar Hajj season). Some consider religion to be a private act anyway, but celebrities, who lead less than private lives, often come into the fore. Some wish to expose their generosity and largesse at the time of Ramadan (which is generous, or "Kareem") in line with their PR as celebrities or because they simply have a place in their celebrity-sized hearts for Ramadan.
Like the Christian holidays, this holy season has a tendency to catch or reel in the ordinarily unobservant followers of religion. Muslims tend to remember their faith at Ramadan, just like Christians do with Christmas.
We wanted to take a brief tour of how some of our regional or out-of-regional celebrities are handling the holy month and marking it. What habits or customs do they display at this time or have they been known to display in past Ramadans? A tour of Ramadan's compelling charm to all and sundry follows.