Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Ramadan Experiences


The fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islaam.  Millions of muslims all over the world worship Allaah in this manner from dawn to sunset for 29-30 days.  The manner in which the fast is broken and the food that is eaten after the fast are different from country to country.

When I first became muslim, I spent my first Ramadan in Seattle, Washington, USA.  Seattle is very multi-cultural.  The mosque I attended had people from all over the world.  I would go to the mosque at the time of Maghrib and break fast, pray and eat.   I loved the experience of socializing with muslims in this way.  I had never experienced this kind of unity and love before. Little did I know, that my travels in later years would give me a level of unity greater than this.

My first fast outside of America took place in Egypt.  One of the best feelings I have ever had is fasting in a small village in Egypt called Ash-Sheen.  I felt like the whole world was fasting. The nights were filled with the recitation of Quran.  Everyone knows that some of the best recitors in the world come from Egypt.  All of the mosques would have their loud speakers on during Taraaweeh.  It was so beautiful.  Many of my neighbors would send food over during Maghrib.  They were constantly expressing love to me and my family.

Allaah talks about small deeds in Surah Ma’un.  I have always loved this Surah.  Now, living in Sudan, I see these small kindnesses and deeds practiced on a daily basis.  We are blessed to be in the month of Ramadaan again.  I am constantly amazed by the dedication displayed during fasting hours.  The days here are long and hot.  But, I am always greeted with a smile and hospitality.  The later part of Asr, you can see tables being set up, chairs, blankets in some spots; preparations for Iftar.  Neighbors exchange dishes.  If you were to walk the streets after Salatul maghrib, you would see people sitting, laying, laughing together, some eating, some relaxing.  Knowing a person is not a requirement. The haves and the have nots come together. People sat and have true fellowship together. This is a beautiful way for the homeless to be able to break their fast and get a good meal during Ramadaan.  My experience here in Sudan has been one of constant family and unity: a level I have NEVER known.

The people of Sudan are full of traditions, many of which fall in line with the teachings of Islam. I will list some of these wonderful traditions that make the Sudanese people unique:

·         When a neighbor sends a dish; never send the dish back empty.

·         Never ask for anything, but always be very quick to give.

·         Never let your neighbor see you frown.

·         Always show your concern for others.

Although in my country the only thing I ever heard about Sudan was negative, my experiences definitely have been the opposite and the above stated traditions keeps me here.