I was worried about the itinerary of our current group. We were scheduled to spend just two days in Jerusalem and those days corresponded with the start of the Islamic month of Ramadan.
Getting to walk on the Haram es-Sharif (or Temple Mount) to observe the Dome of the Rock can be a little tricky during the start-up and shut-down of Ramadan.
Fortunately, the moon was hidden.
What's the connection?
The beginning of Ramadan corresponds with the appearance of the new crescent moon. Visibility is contingent upon many factors including atmospheric conditions, cloudiness, and the distance between the sun and the moon on the horizon.
As it turned out, the moon was not sighted the night before our first day in Jerusalem. This pushed the start of Ramadan back and we were able to visit the Haram without a wrinkle. Yay!
In case you are wondering, Ramadan is a month-long period on the Islamic calendar dedicated to self-reflection and self-control. Observant Muslims abstain from all food, drink, and sexual activity during the daylight hours for this entire month.
Dr. Mark Ziese, Dean of the School of Bible and Theology at Johnson University, manages the website Bible Land Explorer and teaches regularly in the Biblical heartland. You are invited to join Mark and Vicki for a Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Celebrity Reflection in October, 2018. Onboard lectures will focus on Paul's fourth missionary journey. See the link here for details.