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Origin of Rampies cutting during Rabi ul Awwal

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With wafts of water and lemon oil and the sound of women cutting lemon leaves filling our masajid, we are reminded of the beauty of commemorating the birth of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

The gathering, traditionally referred to as Moulood An-Nabi, also known as “Rampies Sny” is a hallowed cultural tradition amongst the Muslim community.
Muslims in various parts of the world celebrate the birth of their Prophet SAW in different ways. Muhammad was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on the 12th day of the Islamic month in the year 571, Rabi Ul-Awal.

Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi Al-Madani, who has a Masters degree in Islamic Studies from UWC, said ‘rampies sny’ refers to a cultural tradition.

“Women would gather at Mosques and cut lemon scented leaves, fold them into a special paper or material and gift it to men,” he said.
Al-Madani said the concept was initially for hygienic purposes, as the Prophet SAW stressed how cleanliness is next to Godliness, however over the years the lemon scented gift has been used to fragrance any area.
“Initially men would use the gift to smell fresh and clean, however with the invention of perfume and body spray, the gift has been used in cars, living spaces etc,” he said.

Rampies sny is both Malay and Afrikaans, which is a clear indication of the cultural Cape heritage where language and culture have come together.

While cutting the leaves, women recite Arabic praises for the Prophet SAW and remember Allah. After the leaves are cut, it is placed in a basket where it undergoes the ‘oeker’, which means that it is being prayed over, in Arabic, asking for God’s blessings.

This celebration also sees men gathering at the mosque, after women have cut the rampies, to recite ‘riwaayat’, which is Arabic poetry honouring the Noble Prophet. Women also gather in groups to recite ‘riwaayat’, although women and men do not gather at the same time.

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