Ramadan has been the most looked forward month of my life since I remember it 🌟. Belonging from the Bohra community, it fills up your days☀️ and your nights 🌝 so much that you are all consumed. This month is so busy that most of the time you are just catching up, and so fulfilling.
Since before I was big enough to pray or fast, each day an hour before Maghreb, we were dressed up and taken to the Masjid 🕌 With my own small Janamaz , a bag with some water, some fried snacks 🥟and a tazbeeh. We were made to sit with my cousins and other small children under 12. Our time was spent chatting and laughing while taking care not to spoil our clean clothes, waiting patiently for the “Allah o Akbar” of the Maghreb azaan🔊. With the strong belief that there should be no talking during the azaan, silence fell in the children’s block. Once namaz started we pretended to pray, those who were still young enough to not know how to.
The real tradition began as soon as the Maghreb namaz finished. We solmenly opened our iftar boxes🍗 and passed around the fried kebabs while all the time tasting other peoples goodies🍡. Till it lasted. Every tiny morsel was consumed, the nice ones praised, the spicy ones critiqued. If you were looking for new friendships- now was the time, you got up from your place and offered your choicest kebab. Aage Allah ki marzi.
Chai ☕️ was served immediately afterwards, young boys who volunteered filled the halls, with the sounds of “beethi jao” (sit down in gujrati) since the tea was hot. It was the start to my long lasting love for masjid ki chai- slow cooked on a daigh. Once you gulped it down, it was almost time for Isha namaz and the moment it ended we would run out🏃🏻♀️ of the Masjid complex to the Jamaat khana (the community hall) where we sat in circles and waited for our moms.
While the moms prayed away, we played “Miss mary”, “I sent a letter” and “cham cham” amongst many other games passed on to us by older cousins who now had joined our moms for adult praying.
Dinner was a thaal ( a big round tray around which 8 people sit) full of yummy food, starting out with a halwa or a custard, followed by a baked savoury, naan gosht and biryani, soup and salad 🥗 . Once done, we washed our hands and walked back home. Hand in hand with our friends, excited to meet the next day.
All 30 days were filled with the same chitter chatter, traditions and Allah o Akbar till Eid arrived🎆. As I grew up, namaz times became a bit more solemn, chatter pre-namaz reduced due to parched tongues but the excitement and vigor was the same, till this day.
Things have changed a lot, now I have two kids 👶 to dress up before we leave, pack their bags with chips, water, coloring books & some toys. I have to make sure I look like an adult, all crisp and poised. And spend the chatter time reciting Quran. I miss my sisters and my cousins who were an integral part of my childhood Ramadan, but I have made some friends and we enjoy having adult discussions while the children tug at us.
That is what the blessed month embodies for me, Rozah, Namaz, Quran, Duas, meeting friends, giving out gifts and the lovely food in our community halls. I’m so grateful for all of it.
What is your #ramadanstory share it, lets know more about each other and spread love and tolerance this Ramadan.