Sunday, August 15, 2010

رمضان كريم

As you probably already know, Teta has returned to me to spend my last few weeks by my side. I can explain the happiness and gratitude that I felt when I got the news that she was returning. I love her very much and have realized that a large portion of my love and desire to return to Jordan was fed by my love for Teta. She is an extraordinary woman that has inspired me through her selflessness and quirkiness. One little shrug of the shoulders and a twitch of her nose and I can't help but smile.

Ramadan has started and this week has provided me with more exposure to some of the traditions of Ramadan than I have received in a lifetime. In the past week, I have learned how to make Qatayif, prepared for فطور at sunset and prepared for صحور at sunrise. I have listened to the people on the streets and watched the transformation as a loud smokey and colorful city has taken a more serious and reflective tone. The colors are still bright, but more people sit reading the Holy Quran, more women go without makeup and people sit more quietly. Not only is it a fast from food and water, but it is also a fast from evil words and daily sins. People tread a little lighter and act a little nicer.

I have never waited and watched for the maghrib call to prayer as intently as I do now. The words are more penetrating and sooth my hungry soul. While fasting, I had a hard time staying awake and the hunger made it difficult for me to concentrate on anything. My aunty told me that the way that I feel is how the poor feel daily. She told me to embrace the hunger because after the sun sets, I will be able to end my hunger, yet others are not. By fasting, I can feel greater empathy for those that are less fortunate, because I can experience a glimpse of their discomfort.

At night, the noise comes back with the sound rifles and fireworks. People regain their strength and celebrate their humanity and religion. This celebration occurs through a bounteous meal we share with relatives and those that we love.

Ramadan is also a time to give to those that are less fortunate. I have observed this as one aunty gave food to my neighbors. We share our humanity by giving of ourselves and of our wealth to sustain others that lack. There is such beauty in the principle of the fast and the ذكاة.

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