Doha, Qatar: With Ramadan in full swing, the Old Doha Port is once again embracing a cherished tradition: the Musaher. These drummers, known as Musaher or Musaheratis, are reviving the age-old custom of waking sleepers for Suhoor, ensuring the community observes the pre-dawn meal before the day’s fasting begins.

From 10pm to 11pm every night, a group of five men, accompanied by two drummers, stroll through the port area, chanting and drumming to announce the approaching Suhoor time. Port management stressed their commitment to preserving cultural heritage during this sacred month, ensuring traditional activities take precedence.

The Musaher tradition, akin to a neighbourhood wake-up call before dawn, enables individuals to partake in Suhoor before commencing their fast for the day.

Visitors to the port area have lauded the Musaheratis, also known as “Ramadan Drummers,” for reviving this aspect of heritage. Tatiana from Spain shared her delight at witnessing the Musaheratis for the first time, commending port management for their dedication to preserving such traditions. “I am mostly fond of the Musaheratis because this is the first time I am witnessing it, and kudos to the management of the port for reviving this tradition.”

Ian from Rome echoed thes same sentiments, noting the vibrancy of Doha during Ramadan nights. He highlighted the Musaher tradition as particularly significant, underscoring the importance of safeguarding cultural practices for future generations. “It’s the act that truly matters, the tradition that they have been preserving and doing, so generations like us, even though we are not Qataris, are being introduced to this kind of custom.”

In an age dominated by modern conveniences, such as alarm clocks and digital entertainment, the Musaher tradition faces challenges. Yet, its revival serves as a nostalgic reminder of bygone times.

During the old times, the Musaher roams the streets during Ramadan, drumming and singing a religious chant to remind residents to partake in Suhoor. Ramadan, characterised by fasting from dawn to dusk, tests the faith and discipline of the faithful.

His duties commence an hour before daybreak, dressed in a traditional attire and equipped with drum and stick. His rhythmic chant resonates through the night, urging sleepers to awaken and welcome the blessed month of Ramadan. As he traverses the streets, he calls out to each resident by name, ensuring none miss the pre-dawn meal.

The Musaher’s drumming echoes in all directions, fulfilling his duty to awaken the community. Following Suhoor, men and women traditionally gather at the mosque for morning prayers, marking the beginning of another day of fasting and spiritual reflection.

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