Algamdulillah, we have reached the 15th Ramadan and time is going soooo fast! I feel like this month has just started and now it is almost done. In my last post I said I would update you all about Ramadan here in France.
So I set my alarm for 3:30 to prepare for Suhoor, make Fajr, recite and then sleeeeeeep. Algamdulillah, we able to get another two hours sleep before everyone needs to get up for school and work. The days are long but nicely spaced out so that there is no rush. We fast close to 17 hours Algamdulillah which is an extra 4 hours compared to Cape Town. At first I was worried about the children and whether they would manage or get sick or that I would get sick but Algamdulillah Allah is Al Mujeeb – The Responsive One and Ar-Rahmaan – The Most Merciful – He heard my silent prayers and concerns Algamdulillah! We all managing the long hours and the weather is also on our side because we have had some nice cool, wet rainy days.
Our first day of Ramadan I started prepping early for Iftar as I still needed to get into the rhythm of prepping so by 5:30pm I was done with making my dhaltjie mix, took samoosas out of freezer to thaw, flapjacks batter was made and was in the fridge and table was set. So I felt ready for when I actually had to fry off everything. I went to lay on the bed and told kids I am only going to close my eyes for a few minutes as I was feeling drained from waking up early and going to bed late the previous night, Algamdulillah. After falling asleep for a “few minutes” I woke up from my nap and was totally disorientated!? Everyone fell asleep and the house was completely silent. At first I thought ‘WHAT THE HELL!?’ did we oversleep for Suhoor or Iftar or was it the next morning??!! I jumped up and saw that it was 8:15pm – screamed like a mad person at everyone to wake up!! We had at least 30 minutes to fry off dhaltjies, samoosas, flapjacks and heat up soup! Algamdulillah we managed as everyone pulled it together so that we all could eat lekker! The second night I decided to set alarms to wake me up just in case I fall asleep again! So my first one goes off 6:55pm and second one goes off at 7pm. *rolling eyes*
So after the first nights craziness I managed to stay awake and not nap! I decided to make extra dhaltjies and build up the courage to take it myself to my neighbours upstairs. It is an elderly couple that stays alone and the lady is very sweet – she will always greet and make conversation in English. Her english is not perfect but enough for me to understand her and have brief conversations. So I took the dhaltjies to her and told her that I would be sending my girls over to her every night with something sweet or savoury. She was so sweet and immediately gave kids chocolates. The next day I sent the girls up with some treats and sent along this note as well. So every night since then my kids have had the feel of sending away treats – a Cape Town tradition I am very happy to bring to France! And even though I have told the lady not to send anything and that we expect nothing in return she still sends back treats for kids to enjoy, Algamdulillah. She told me one day when I got her downstairs that she feels she wants to give us something because we giving them – Algamdulillah.
On the 15th Ramadan I managed to make our traditional boeber and it tasted just like home! I found something similar to sago and got vermicelli as well – kids loved it Algamdulillah I even sent some to the neighbours – I hope they liked it!
The Prophet (SAW) said: “Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures (moments of happiness or joys) for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord.” (Bukhari)
Ramadan in France is nothing like Cape Town – hands down! Yes, it is different here and yes you do not feel the same energy of Ramadan that we use to but it is still tranquil, beautiful and amazing that we get to experience some similarities here, Algamdulillah. Taraweeh is different in a sense that they only perform eight rakaats compared to Cape Town but with no poedjies at all. However, you get beautiful melodious recitation of the Quran and if you close your eyes you would think you back in Cape Town! It just shows that whether you in Cape Town or France or wherever in the world – our religion is beautiful, Algamdulillah. The mosque has a tent set up every night where you can break your fast with others which creates some sense of togetherness. Families meeting new people is pretty amazing especially if you have no family here. At least you get to break your fast with your brothers and sisters in Islam which is more than enough. Numerous organisations do Iftar programs for everyone to attend as well as humanitarian relief for the people of Palestine – amazing work Algamdulillah.
So no matter where in the world you are – the beautiful spirit of Ramadan is evident everywhere through Quran recitation, through giving to the less fortunate, through salah and remembrance of our creator.
May we make the most of the last fifteen days of Ramadan and may Allah forgive our shortcomings, accept our sacrifices, grant the sick shifa, grant the deceased a high place in Jannah, protect our children and protect us from the fire of Jahannam. May we be from those who see the next Ramadan – Ameen!