Ramadan celebrations around the world
Allah's Messenger said, "Ramadan, a blessed month, has come to you during which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast. In it the gates of Heaven are opened, the gates of al-Jahim are locked, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good has indeed suffered deprivation."
This verse we live by and hope by in all foreign countries and at home. Fasting the blessed month, as our most beloved Prophet Mohammad taught us, in hopes of pleasing Allah. Then seeking for laylat al-qadr to gain the reward of 1000 months. A hadith that spells everything that we feel, that we hope for and that we seek. Celebrations around the world are each different, but all have one thing in common, monotheism or belief in one God.
Who will go to heaven? Those who submit? What does submit mean? Doing what Allah and our messenger has prescribed for us. So fasting is prescribed for us, so we must submit so we can all go to heaven.
Being overseas during Ramadan can be a blessing in so many ways, as many who are overseas are in Islamic countries. In Arab countries they celebrate much the way as do American and Britain's, but with more intensity. The celebrations are more traditional overseas and more family oriented. Much emphasis is placed on charity and good will.
No family will ever go hungry during Ramadan as it is just not possible. The pleasure of Allah is sought every single day.
Sahih Bukhari Hadith 1.5
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: Allah's Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur'an. Allah's Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds).
So the pleasure of Allah entails us being generous to our neighbors and the ones that have needs.
Ramadan around the world is a fabulous topic as it allows us to think about the people in Morocco, as they sit down to eat their regular Harira Soup. This soup is eaten every single day. It is made from lentils, meat of some kind with celery, tomatoes, onions (lots of them), hot spices such as paprika and saffron and some parsley and cilantro. From there we could go to Pakistan and India where we see the people seated on the floor, using their three fingers to eat some delicious "maglooba." A meal of rice, meat and potatoes. From there we could come down to Iraq, where the children are in the streets before the "suhoor" meal (morning meal before the sunrise) beating on their drums to wake everyone up.
As we travel around the world from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and see the different cultures and the different treats, we are reminded of one common thread. That is the thread of Allah. They all celebrate different, but each one runs to the Mosque to pray, to read Quran and to give very much charity. The smiles are on all the faces and everyone is happier than they ever were. There is merriment as they prepare the Arabic coffee to serve to all the guest and preparations to make the "Cake de Eid" (sweets made with dates). All of the people striving to out do the others.
We laugh much, pray more and become so devout in our late night devotion. What is the difference all over the world, many, but we all come together with one deity in the end and one love of our most beloved Prophet. May each one of you know the love of Allah and have Angel Gabriel shake your hands, congratulating you on a job well done on laylat al-qadr.
As EID and Ramadan passes by, we are now preparing for our next festival and all praying that we live to see another Ramadan. We pray that Allah accepts our good deeds and forgives our past. We pray that all Muslims have freedom, and they are warm this winter. Let us not forget the lessons learned in Ramadan and let us all join hands and hope for freedom for all.
After my husband died, I started studying Islam thoroughly and I studied so hard that even the teachers said I knew more than them. I wanted to know my lord better than anything on this earth. He grew closer to me and I to him. As the hadith says:
Allah Almighty says in a hadith qudsi, "O My servant! If you take one step toward Me, I am taking ten towards you."
Oh how true that was and I was indeed closer. So, as I fasted each day and went to the Mosque to pray taraweeh prayer (late night prayers after Isha), I would rush home to watch the Medina salat and prayers. I watched how many people prayed to Allah and how many loved him so much. I so wanted to be one of them. Then after watching the prayers, I would read my Quran and do some zikr (praising of Allah). I could not sleep as this was a time to be close to Allah. At 2 am, I would pray again and do my dua (supplication) for everything I wanted and needed. The things I pray for in Ramadan is simple. Nothing for this life, nothing of financial gain, I pray for just one thing. I always ask Allah, that I wanted Angel Gabriel to come to me on Laylat Al-Qadr and shake my hands and he always does. I guess many may laugh, but I am serious.
So with my request in hand and believing very seriously that Allah will grant my dua, I go outside each morning to wait for the sun to rise. The true sign of Laylat Al-Qadr is when the sun rises with no rays. It will be like the shape of the moon and you can look directly at the sun. There are many old "wives tales", but you should not listen to them. Such as the dogs will not be barking, but you should only listen to the hadiths.
Abu Dharr reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: On the morning following Laylat al-Qadr, the sun rises without rays, resembling a dish, until it becomes high. [Saheeh
Muslim] Also, a report from Ibn Abbas (radiyallahu-anhu) informs that it is a moderate night, neither hot nor cold. [(hasan) Ibn Khuzaimah]
I sit in a chair outside the house and wait. I wait to see if the trees do indeed bow down to Allah and I wait to talk to the Angels. Each night I go and wave to all the Angels, looking for people who love Allah the most and each night I thank Allah for his mercy and blessings. Each night I ask Allah to bless my friends, to help the weak and the sick, to help our brothers in Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya and Afghanistan and each night I cry. I cry so hard as it can only be seen by Allah.
A sure sign that it is Laylat Al-Qadr is that I cry so much, I cannot stop. The tears flow like fountains. Yes, and each night I pray that Angel Gabriel comes and shakes my hand. So my very first sighting, I am sitting outside and the sun starts to rise and I watch it, as the very tip of the sun comes up. Slowly it comes and comes and then suddenly I see the most beautiful sight in the whole world. I have seen Jannah, not literally, but I feel as I am in Allah's presence. The sky is painted with the clouds all stretched out, as if Allah had painted the sky for me.
I fall down on the ground and I cry and cry. I take my hands and put them up to my face in amazement and I just can't believe so many years, I have missed this beauty and this wonder. I look all around to all the homes below and everyone is asleep, everyone is missing what I had seen. I jump up and down and run all around the roof and then I run in to pray. Allah Akbar, I am so happy, my heart just won't stop beating. I fall down on the ground and I knew for sure Gabriel had shook my hand, well maybe, well maybe.
Here is the prayer that I pray each Laylat Al-Qadr, read it like I do and wish what I do too.