Tag Archives: Ramadan

Ramadan

A happy Ramadan Mubarak to those who are fasting.

Made samosas for Son. They are yet to be fried.

Ramadan is here once again. Every year it moves by ten days ahead. Monday was our first fast. Actually I’m not fasting this year (Son is the one who is fasting), because I’m not well. I had a minor stroke, and was hospitalized.

I have some questions. Why do the nurses extract so much blood from patients in the name of tests? And why do they put a cannula in a place on your arms making it impossible to move your hands. I couldn’t use my right hand. I’m a right handed person. There was one in the crook of my arm making me unable to do eat, and brush my teeth even. I must say it was totally uncomfortable. Oil had splashed on the back of my left hand a day earlier while I was frying something, or the other, forming blisters. The nurses used the back of my left hand to draw out more blood for God knows more testing. So that hand was a painful mess too. Every three hours I would be stoically looking the other way to bear the painful jabs.

My husband passed away almost seven years ago. In August it will be his seventh death anniversary. Before any illness he is there sitting near my head. All this long he never spoke to me directly in my dreams, except for once. The night before I fell sick, he was there holding me, telling me to go to sleep. I was like saying, “No, no I can’t sleep. I have to do this, and I have to do that……”

I’m left wondering if I had gone to sleep, would I have woken up again?

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Neighbors

My condo in Charlottesville was on first floor. Directly below me lived Mia. Her parents had shifted from Malaysia. Mia had married a white American, and had two adorable twin boys, who were two years old. I could see the two boys racing their cars on the sidewalk from my sitting area. They would be watched either by their father, or mother.

Mia’s mother still dressed in a Malaysian dress when she would come to call. She would be talking loudly in her native tongue. In those days I wasn’t friends with Mia, so I was quite confused as to whether the people down below could speak English. That cleared up when I met Mia in the local mosque. Her husband had converted to Islam from Christianity. Mia came regularly to the mosque, and when I would climb the stairs to my condo, I could hear the Quranic verses being played in her home.

During the Ramadan period I had there, she sent me a couple of times a Malay dish for Iftari. The filling was mouth watering. It was chicken, and vegetables. I loved it, and wanted to know the recipe. There never came a time when I could learn it from her. When Son came for me after his divorce, and asked me to shift back to Houston to live with him, I said good bye to my neighborhood.

Yesterday it was quite by chance, I came upon the recipe, and learnt the name (I didn’t even know the name) of the dish I liked. It’s Chinese by origin. The different countries around China have adapted it to their own liking. My Afghan neighbors next door in home country had their own version which was uncooked. I never liked it, but never had the gumption to admit. It would have been terribly rude, and I can never be a rude person. Every time they sent me, I was forced to sing platitudes.

Insha’Allah I will be trying my new found recipe after a day, or two. Let’s see how my version comes out.

Fasting

As Muslims, we are getting much nearer to the end of our thirty days fasting period — the month which is known as Ramadan. When God decreed it centuries ago for believers, many didn’t know how beneficial it was to health, but now fasting has been proven through scientific knowledge, of utmost value to our health.

One thing I can vouch for is shinning white teeth. Normally I brush my teeth thrice a day minimally, but in Ramadan probably I do more. Once I’m in the bathroom, I reach for the toothpaste almost reflexively— forgetting I’ve not eaten anything since Sehr timings. The result is that teeth shine like pearls — Masha’Allah!

When my late husband was alive, and I lived in Pakistan, every Ramadan started with Dora Quran. It was held at a friend’s house where like minded ladies gathered every Thursday to read, and gain more insight into Quran, and Islam. With the beginning of Ramadan the meeting was held every day, and we women had Dora Quran which meant a quick reading of one Sipara (one part of the Quran– there are thirty parts) each day. It used to be quite comprehensive, as it entailed various aspects of our religion.

Then dear husband died, and I got permanently shifted to the US. It has been five years now, and I missed the valuable lessons about being a better human than I initially was, and doing charity work which I learnt through our weekly meetings.

This year I got lucky that my daughter visited me just before the beginning of Ramadan. Daughter was getting audio recordings daily from her neighbor in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Her neighbor held Dora Quran. My daughter asked that I should be included in getting the audio recordings daily. Jazak’Allah Khair to the lady for including me. It’s really inspiring.

It’s told that Angels are present when the Quran is read in the mornings. Normally I read two pages every morning after Fajr Prayers, and again when I’m having breakfast I read, and listen to it on my iPad.

It was a revelation to read Chapter 19, Surah Shuarah, Ayat 196 that Quran is the same book which earlier generations received from Torah to the Bible. Basically the teachings are the same except for the parts where they slung mud at the prophets, and distorted the fact that God is One only, and no other exists beside Him. Those books got muddled, and distorted through the hands of misguided zealots.

Religious fanatics against Islam are trying their best to do the same thing to Quran, but it’s almost impossible, as there are many Muslims who memorize each and every word. Even if distortions occur no one can put false interpretations in each, and every copy. A true version will be always be there till the end of time.

Thin

Ramadan Mubarak to all those who have started fasting.

Sorry to say (it feels sacrilegious) when Ramadan begins, I dread the day long fasting. I feel fearful as to how I’m going to fast, and how I’m going to last? My face goes thin, and gaunt. As days go by I start loving Ramadan, and feels nostalgic at its end. I want it to go on, and on.

There is no frantic worry, that if Son came home in the middle of the day as to what will I give him to eat? I’m serene in the knowledge I have ample time to make something for the evening Iftari (breaking of fast).

Today I got up at three in the morning to say Tahajjud Prayer first, and then hurried to the kitchen to get myself whatever I usually have for breakfast. I just add a daily serving of yogurt to my menu as it helps in fasting, but I didn’t have any, because I forgot.

I was alone in fasting as Son left for Hartford, Connecticut yesterday evening. He had a case there. I had to prepare sandwiches for him to take with him for his fast. Hotels don’t serve breakfast before seven in the morning.

At the muezzin call to Fajr (morning) prayer at 3.51 AM, my fast began. It will end at 7.57 PM with the call to Maghreb (evening) prayer. The time starts varying. It gradually lengthens. On the last day (thirty days period) the fast will start at 3.27 AM, and end at 8.20 PM.

Blessings, and Peace on everyone.

Thin

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Local


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My second visit to Hartford,CT started on 21st of June. I came to spend Eid with daughter. Yesterday we celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr after our month long fasting of Ramadan. Son had arrived for a three day visit, while I will be staying till 18th of July. Daughter, and son-in-law are plotting together to extend it to August, or to some distant day in the future. 

The day began with the visit to the local mosque at eight in the morning. We said our Eid prayer, and then listened to the ensuing sermon. After that, breakfast was served. We collected grand daughter M1 from Bradley Airport, and then drove to Bridgeport to catch the ferry to Port Jefferson, New York.

Nola and family thought all the fun was spending time on the top deck. I couldn’t sit alone in the cabin, I had to unwillingly join them. They thoroughly enjoyed the terrifying gusts of wind, which I liked only for a space of few moments, and then hated for the rest of time.

Son-in-law took pictures. I was in two of them, and in one I look hideous enough where my short hair stand up in the wind, and eyes are shut close. Son in law gleefully showed it to me as one of his masterpieces though I would have liked it to be deleted. I like pretty photos where relatives in the future will look at them without seeing terrible mug shots.

My sister who lives in Long Island, NY had filled the huge island in her kitchen with trays of various food from one end to the other in preparation for our arrival. I had trouble deciding what to put on my plate.

Our return journey by road took longer hours to come back to Hartford.  Friends of son in law were waiting for us to join them for dinner. I think I had more food in one day than throughout the rest of the previous month. 

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Local

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Complicated

Back in Charlottesville one lady had invited me for meals a couple of time. When I wanted to return the favor, she wouldn’t be available, or she would have one issue or the other. To confess I can be lazy at times too. One morning I decided to do the needful. It was Ramadan. I prepared three items. I knew she would be at home around four, so I gave her a ring.

She gave me a complicated story about something, and told me to come after an hour. I waited for an hour, and after that I loaded the food into my car, and drove to her home. She was busy cooking. She was providing the food that day at the mosque for Iftari. Although I protested against it, she put some for me into two small containers. She could have easily put them into my dishes, but probably felt embarrassed at the small offerings.

Those containers are still with me, because soon after I met with an accident, and wasn’t able to return them. I had told her I would be leaving, but she didn’t come herself. She created a complication for me — how to return her items. At the moment I am trying to think of some suitable gift for her, so that I can post it together with her things.

……

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Complicated

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Empty

I will be moving Insha’Allah (if so God wills) tomorrow on way back to Houston. My son arrived last evening. He came at the right time for Iftar (to break his fast). It’s Ramadan, and we are fasting from Fajr to Maghreb. In between bouts of packing, I managed to make Chat, Pakoras, Mint Chutney, Kung Pao and baked chicken pieces for him. He kept on saying that he was having a home cooked meal after three months. I wish he wasn’t going through this rough period in his life, but we are helpless against fate.

My home will be empty, and I will move on. At the moment I am having a heartbreak. It’s not easy to say good bye to one’s home. It has been my home for three months. I never realized that my stay here will be so short. One never knows what the future holds. When I moved here, I thought I will be staying here till the day I die.

………..

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Empty

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