Monday, September 15, 2008

Ramadan Days 10-15

Wow. I apologize. I didn't realize nearly six days I have passed that I didn't journal about my fasting days. What caught my attention is that Google alerted me of some link love by fellow colleague writer Amel Abdullah at http://muslimwriters.blogspot.com/. Thanks Amel, that is a good reminder of to continue blogging about my days of Ramadan. :)

Day 15

Often words are not enough to describe the feelings of Ramadan because what the heart feels can't always be expressed in words. (Maybe that is why love is a complicated subject to many?)

Now we are in the second set of 10 days of Ramadan. See, some people say that Ramadan is divided into three parts. The first 10 days of Ramadan are of mercy. Second 10 days of Ramadan are of forgiveness and the third 10 days are of freedom from hellfire. I haven't verified this yet. As soon as I find out, I will you my dear readers know. However, I do know that the last 10 days of Ramadan is considered highly blessed, and many Muslims will try practice more acts of worship than the other days of Ramadan. But more about that as we get into the last 10 days.

Days 10-12, DH, DS, and myself broke our fast at my parents' home. Traditionally, when we break our fast, we break it by drinking water or eating some fresh dates because that is what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do. Today, studies show that eating dates offer many benefits such as being rich in vitamins and minerals. We usually buy fresh dates from Chicago or get it sent from Michigan or California. After we break our fast with dates or water, Muslims then go pray Salatul Maghrib (Maghrib Prayer). Then they come together and eat a meal.

DS is so cute. (Remember he is only five and he is not fasting). He would be playing outside with his friends, and when it is time to eat. He tells them, "I have to go break my 'fast' with my family." He will then wash his hands, and he then sits patiently at the table waiting until everyone can eat.

Day 13

The entire family (on my side) came together to break our fast at my parents' home--the central meeting place. My brothers came Chicago and "College town" and my other sister and her family. This was the first Iftar that we had together. Sad, I know, but that is how life is. We have our work, school, even family (I am a new aunt...I LOVE it)schedules. It was nice. We caught up on each others lives. We probably won't get together until a couple weeks later.

Day 14

DH and I took DS to Sunday School (Islamic style). When we dropped him off, we went to visit some friends who live in that same town. We hung out with them. Like DH and I, our friends were fasting as well. The time flew by quickly because we conversed on all sorts of topic--including Islam and work. We then prayed as a group Salatul Asr (Asr Prayer or the late afternoon prayer). That was nice. Once we finished, then we hung out for another hour, and then all of us, including our friends went back to Sunday School to break our fast there. Was it awesome. DS was sitting in the gym with his class until parents came.

The place was PACKED. There were smiles and greetings. Women hugged and kissed me. Some asked me how I was doing, and how was my mother doing. People were in a cheerful mood. Even my former Sunday school teacher and mentor asked me how I was doing. He also said that I was like his daughter. The atmosphere at the Muslim Community Center was very touching, DH and I agreed. We all picked up a plateful of dates, fruit and chicken noodle soup and sat at lunchroom tables. We waited for about five minutes when the Athan, call to prayer sounded by a young man in the gym. This is how it went, it is translated then Arabic is below. A reminder Allah is the Arabic word for God:

Allah is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.
Allah is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.
I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah.
I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah.
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.
Come to prayer. Come to prayer.
Come to Success. Come to Success.
Allah is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.
There is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah.

Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.
Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.
Ash-hadu an la ilaha ill-Allah.
Ash-hadu an la ilaha ill-Allah.
Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ar-Rasoolullah.
Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ar-Rasoolullah.
Hayya 'alas-Salah. Hayya 'alas-Salah.
Hayya 'alal-falah. Hayya 'alal-falah.
Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.
La ilaha ill-Allah.

We broke our fast. Then we got up to go prayer. The rooms were packed. Shoulder connected with other shoulders, meaning our shoulders literally touched our neighbor's shoulder. The Imam, religious or spiritual Muslim leader equivalent to a Rabbi (Jew), or Priest, Pastor, or Father (Christians) led everyone in pray. I guesstimated there were over 200 people in attendance. After we finished our prayer, we went back to the gym, and stood in line for food. As stated in another post, community iftars are sponsored by families Fridays through Sundays. Up to four families sponsor each of those days. We had four different kinds of ethnic foods because we had a Hispanic family who made Hispanic food, I believe it was rice; Indonesian family made noodles with chicken and vegetables; Pakistani family made Biryani, spicy rice with chicken; and I believe there was either an Albanian or Bosnian family made a type of pasta dish. They coordinated together the menus. Talk about team work and coordination. That is one of the beauties of Islam is that ethnic groups get along beautifully with each other despite language or culture differences.

After the meal, you had the option of hanging at the community center to pray Taraweeh (extra prayers performed in Ramadan) or go home. My friend and I opted to go home because we had young children with us, we figured we would let them play at her house while DH and friend would perform parts of the Taraweeh. At my friend's home, we drank coffee and chitchatted while our kids played together. DH and friend came after about one hour later. We all sat together and talked politics and social issues (where ever I go, I always seem to stat deep talks lol).

We left their home about 11 p.m. last night. It is an exception because DS is mostly asleep by 8:30 p.m.

However, it is Ramadan, the blessed month. I always make an exception for Ramadan.

2 comments:

Humanity said...

That is awesome! Thanks for sharing this post. I have learned a lot.

FA said...

No problem, humanity. Thanks for reading!