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Relish Ramadaan

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Relish Ramadaan by Ml Muhammad Badsha

Ramadaan brings out the best in Muslims the world over as they celebrate the worship of the Creator of the worlds.

Customs abound as an air of joy pervades Muslim homes. One of the customs in Egypt is to nickname dates after celebrities. The year of the Arab Spring overthrow of Mubarak, the least desirable dates were called ‘Hosni Mubarak’. Lanterns are also traditionally hung up all over the city, in houses, shops and on the streets, before Ramadaan.

When Ramadaan starts in Malaysia, local authorities sprinkle streets with water, clean public squares and hang electric lamps in the main streets. Tanzania starts the Ramadaan welcome two weeks in advance as streets are decked with decorations and electric lights, and Masjids and neighbouring shops beautified. The first few days of Ramadaan see Chilean Muslims making family visits while children enjoy new toys and sweets. In Dubai, children celebrate the coming of Ramadaan on the 15th night of Shabaan, two weeks before Ramadaan. They dress up and go in groups to houses, reciting Nasheeds. People give them sweets and money.

In Sudan, young men beat drums to wake people for Sehri. Cairo reverberates to the sound of a canon fired every dawn and sunset, declaring the time for breaking the fast (Iftar) and Sehri. In Pakistan fast is broken with Iftar sirens and Adhan. Tradition of another type is that in Jeddah shopping malls operate 5pm-2am and in the last 10 days of Ramadaan until 4am!

 

Ramadaan being attached to the lunar calendar sees it rotate through the seasons allowing people to experience the fast in different ways. The northern hemisphere is now experiencing longer days. Londoners start fasting at 3:25am and end at 9:21pm, a total of almost 18 hours. In Port Elizabeth, South Africa the first fast starts at 5:53am and ends at 5:20pm, a mere 11 and a half hours.

Arguably the happiest time for a fasting Muslim is Iftar. This brings out the best in communities worldwide. After the Sunnah dates and water, people indulge in an amazing variety: Traditional Iftar foods in Saudi Arabia are Harees: meat and wheat puree and Thareed: meat stew poured over a bowl of thin wafer bread. Bangladeshis partake of such delicacies as w (made of brinjal and pulse powder), Chhola boot (fried and spiced chickpeas), and Piyaju (made with finely chopped onion with lentil paste).

 

Traffic jams often occur leading up to Maghrib time in Indonesia and people invite orphans to eat with them. Burmese Muslims break their fast with dates and water accompanied with poetry reading and foods like Lury fera, a dish of bread, rice and chicken.

Whatever the regional differences, all Muslims revel in coming closer to Allah in Ramadaan.

All this is just the setting for the ultimate worship of Allah and the scene of wonderful lessons.

As Mufti Ismail Menk so succinctly puts it:

“We break the fast the moment we are instructed to eat and we start the fast each morning the moment we should stop eating! If we applied that to all the instructions of the Almighty we would achieve true piety. Whenever we want to do something He has prohibited, we stop immediately and whenever we find an instruction of His, we engage immediately.
Surprising how we can fast so well bearing every second in mind but we tend to ignore the same Creator when it comes to other matters!”

Moulana Yunus Patel rahimahullah sums up the main lesson of the month:
“In Ramadan, at the end of a very hot and long summer’s day, a person is sitting with his food, close to the time of Iftaar, waiting patiently to open his fast. There’s just 3 minutes left for the setting of the sun when he is told: ‘Eat! What difference will it make if you break your fast now? What is another 2 or 3 minutes? You’ve already stayed away from food and drink for almost 15-16 hours.’

Even if this happens to be the weakest Muslim, he will respond: ‘It is the ruling of Islam that I break my fast after sunset and not before. It is the command of Allah and I cannot disobey Him.’ His Imaan (faith) becomes so strong that he will not break his fast. We should question ourselves: Is it not the command of that same Allah to perform Salaah five times a day? Is it not the command of that same Allah to correctly discharge our Zakaah, treat our parents with love, treat our wives with compassion, etc?”

Afterall, the objective of Ramadaan is to attain piety and a heightened awareness of Allah . All the added stuff serves to propel us to that aim.





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