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Ramdhan: A testimonial

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With Ramadhan in it’s final lap, we thought it fitting to let you in on our personal experiences, what the month means to us, what we love about it and why we we look forward to it every year

Pochi

Before its arrival, I looked forward to seeing it. And come it did. I did not expect to feel the awe that its days brought. I know I haven’t given its days justice for I could have done better. As they pass, with nights shorter than days, reflection and taraweeh become paramount to perform. In their most diligent manner one ponders on their past actions and repents sincerely for, what is the use if one chooses to go back to their sins as soon as the month departs?

Taraweeh tends to thereafter, feel not like a ritual but a needed repetition of movements as you complete every fast. Standing in congregation gets you feeling the unity, the importance as you enjoy the prayer in silence with the absence of Shaytaan’s unneeded and distracting whispers. The veil seems to be the thinnest in this month as you ask Allah for everything and anything, you feel your khushu stronger than never before. Performing nawafil prayers feels even more rewarding as you do them for various reasons though mostly considering the thawaab one acquires in this month for performing them.

It thus goes without saying that this deed in this holy month is the most beloved to me. Although one could say doing good feats or giving charity during Ramadhan is best for them and I feel they are not in any way less rewarding but the link to my Creator is most solid as I lower my forehead on the surface of the ground, seeking for help, cleansing my conscious and most of all strengthening my love for my Rabb in my heart. That, dear Readers, makes seeing Ramadhan worth the wait!

Nasra

Ramadhan is a month where my heart feels at ease and peace; I guess this applies to all of us. It’s like the streets seem safer somehow! So I honestly can’t choose, for when it comes to Ramadhan every time is my favourite.  I do however have least favourite, which is waking up for Suhoor! Total nightmare, I just can’t bring myself out of bed for a sip of water but if I do wake up it’s a feast! I eat the proper heavy African way (rice, chicken, banana, beans….) as a family, on a mat, which is just amazing.

The Eid shopping, Taraweeh with Baba and the constant complaining from your younger sibling about how difficult it is, they are all just wonderful memories. One thing though I learnt about Ramadhan once I left to study abroad even though it seems different and difficult far from home, you will still form new beautiful memories wherever you are because Ramadhan is that special .

Mi hi

I love the preps first before Ramadhan, when my mum and I, make little cards consisting of the whole months food menu. Arguing over why mchuzi wa kuku (Chicken stew) is better than mchuzi wa samaki (Fish stew). Lying to ourselves that we will start eating healthy, and make less food (it never happens, Allah forgive us)… And then arranging the kitchen appliances  -the Ramadhan way. Eating outside, early at dinner, everyone gathered together. I love how anyone can pop in at anytime, and 12:30 am feels like 7: 30 pm. It’s all in the little things. It’s funny how we can live with watching such minimal TV in this particular month, and still be able to breathe.

Ramadhan humbles us, I feel. It brings families together, and it destroys barriers. We pray together, we eat together, we laugh together. Without worrying about ‘what to eat for lunch’ you realise you have a lot of other things to think and ponder on.

My best memories of Ramadhan are of my family and friends, being together more than any other time of the month. But this Ramadhan especially, made me realise how time flies by right in front of you, and you can’t ever catch it, just by telling yourself that you can do it tomorrow.

Ramadhan is a beautiful month. All people see are hungry individuals, but we know that there is more to that. And I keep wishing every time that I could do better. I ask for strength in Allah, in this Ramadhan that I would still have hope of bettering myself.

Ramadhan is hope, it’s a chance that we’re given. It’s a gift to our souls. Ramadhan is love, togetherness and family. Ramadhan is a smile, which eventually turns into a straight face. Ramadhan is memories of remembering Allah, and realising what you have is never less, and that we have more than we think.

Ramadhan is a seasonal friend, here to remind us to remember all our bounties.

Ramadhan is a blessing.

Miskellaneous

We’re in the sacred last days of Ramadhan, and all I can ask myself is “where has the time gone?” It was only yesterday I was trying to figure out what to have for my first Suhoor, now I’m trying to fit in all that extra dhikr before the month ends. Ramadhan for me is that opportunity to start a new- a clean slate. A chance to try and be the kind of Muslim I’ve always aspired to be. Whilst you shouldn’t have to wait for Ramadhan to change,  maybe it’s the Shaitan being locked up, but this month just gives me so much strength, no joke. I’m sure this is the case for many Muslims, you’re just happier, starving, but happier. Where this happiness and strength comes from I’m not certain, it could be because God has set aside one whole month for us to get closer to him and earn his forgiveness, that this is month where our final book of instructions was sent to us on a night better than a thousand nights, or just perhaps simple knowing that you together with the entire Muslim ummah are unitedly embarking on a spiritual journey together. Whatever the reasoning, it’s without a doubt a time any Muslim to use to achieve that turn about they’ve always wanted, this time you can’t blame it on the Shaitan.

 Spending Ramadhan with family is the dream for us all, but that isn’t always the case. A couple of years ago I would have told you family time is my favourite about Ramadhan, being away from home has forced me to find a different reasoning. Everyone loves those big iftar spreads, staying up late with the siblings to wait for Suhoor (what’s the point of sleep) and most importantly Suhoor, the best meal of Ramadhan for me. The last couple of years. I’ve been faced without the fancy iftar spreads, denied the company of my family, and have had to wait up alone for a lonely Suhoor meal. Moping and being gloomy about wouldn’t change the fact that I was miles away from mi familia, and it doesn’t change the fact that this is Allah’s month. So I’ve been substituting Family time with Me time, which is really Me and Allah’s time. I decided to embrace the supplication part of Ramadhan, pray more (Taraweeh, tahajjud, witr), read the Quran more, and get in touch with my deen. Without having to worry about cooking an amazing Iftar, help with the washing afterwards, there’s so much time more for all that AND sleep. Connecting with Allah and bettering myself that’s what I’ve made my Ramadhan to, hopefully once I get to spend Ramadhan with my family again I’ll be able to balance it all out, EAT( Mama’s pasta) Pray (to the almighty) and Love (the company of my family and strengthen my love for the almighty)

Here’s to everlasting change after the departure of this month, and hoping we’ll be around for the next one. Let us know what’s special for you during Ramadhan.