Ra-MAD-aners

Ramadan Kareem y’all!! It’s mid-Ramadan now and although Ramadan is said to be the month of quran and patience, I am having a real hard time keeping my patience.Nope, its not coz of the hunger pangs. Its coz of certain people.

  1. The Snapchatter : This is the person that literally snaps each and every moment of Ramadan from suhoor to iftaar to taraweeh to “feeling blessed and holy”. We all know you be stuffing pakoras everyday for iftaar mate. And we all know you attend the 20 rakah taraweeh instead of the 8 rakah that mere mortals go to.
  2. The Instagrammer : This person posts iftaar pics everyday like literally everyday. Its the same iftaar with same pakoras and same samosas and same roohafza drink and the same caption of yummmmm and the same hashtags. The only difference is the seating positions on the table.
  3. The Temporary Haram Police : This person is typically the one who smokes shisha during the non-Ramadan period but as soon as the Ramadan moon is sighted, he is seen distributing dates and Noman Ali Khan lectures CDs outside the masjid. Another distinguishing characteristic is the replacement of swear language with masha Allahs  and subhan Allahs. because-ramadan_o_1819477
  4. Moon Fighters : Australia might be dubbed the city of beaches and sunshine but there ain’t no sun shining at us folks here in Melbourne. Hence, the Board of Imams seek the scientific calculations of astronomers on the likelihood of the appearance of crescent moon. The Hilal Committee on the other hand try to physically sight the hilal through telescopes. Obviously there is always a contest since never the twain meet. Every year, the moon fighters (or loony moonies a.k.a people who follow the Hilal Committee) will debate with the astronomical – culators (people who follow the Board of Imams) on the correct ruling and which day the “actual” Eid actually is? The reason I find these conversations annoying is because they happen literally every year like they DO NOT learn their lesson. Its like someone presses the repeat button. Last year we were the moon fighters, this year we decided to go with the astronomical-culators, since people keep sprouting myriad hadeeth citations.
  5. The Cute Monsters : At the start of the taraweeh, these are the tiny toddlers who are lying on the masjid carpet,looking innocently at you, making it harder for you to focus on the quran that the imam is praying because you get so lost in those big baby boo eyes of theirs. Four rakahs in and its even more harder for you to concentrate because the imam’s voice is lost in the wailing and screaming of that same baby who was innocent a few moments ago. While the mum of the baby concerned should be concerned, she clearly isn’t as she is seen humming along to the tune of the imam. Meanwhile us other ladies are trying to calm the baby down during prayer by showering angry faces for it to stop which only results in the wails getting louder like seriously baby SHOOOOSH!!! And as soon as we finish our prayer by doing the tahiyyat and shaking heads right and left by assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah, the baby is as quiet as an unplugged vaccum cleaner. You stare at the baby and ask what the hell baby and it just hypnotizes you with its eyes by saying that aint me, nuh-uh!
  6. The Mums of Cute Monsters : Sisters, please for the love of Allah, I am not going to sugar coat or humorify this paragraph because wallahi that baby of yours, masha Allah and subhan Allah so so cute but during taraweeh are all tauba tauba and astaghfirullah. Sisters, I wish I could quote the hadeeth now but I am too lazy to go research it, but I do know for a fact that you get the same amount of ajr and sawaab and rewards if you prayed at home then if you came to the masjid. Allah allows this because masha Allah you are making effort and coming to mosque, changing the clothes of your baby and yourself and praying among the din din of your baby noise but sister, pray at home so the only person suffering is just you and not us.  We wish the enjoy to imam’s qiraat and the quran recitation and the not having cute but annoying babies phase. Jazakallahu khairan.
  7. The Annoying Azz Toddlers : It is mentioned in a hadeeth that during the holy month of Ramadan, the shaytaan (satan) is locked up for ease of the Muslims to abstain from the whisperings and evil sins. So imagine my surprise when I rocked up on the first night of taraweeh and saw mini devils running around the mosque. Those cute monsters mentioned above are not alone, oh no, they have older baby brothers and sisters, who have spawned into halal shayateen. The characteristics of these munchkins is that they will either be running around the legs of the taraweehers or crying for an iPad or iPhone that one out of the 15 have. They will come and grab your water bottle from your purse and chug it down with their saliva splatters on the rim of your drink or take a shower with it, or take your iPhone and try unlocking it so many times that the next time you can unlock it is in 367 years. All this right in front of your eyes and you helplessly watch them unable to do anything because a) you are in prayer and b) their mum is nearby so you can’t thwack them. Sometimes they grab the chairs off those who pray with them resulting in a couple of ladies falling while seating for sujood which is horrifying really.
  8. The Mums of Annoying Azz Toddlers : Sisters, please don’t create these munchkins. Just kidding, they make taraweeh fun. But seriously, teach them etiquette of the mosque especially to not play with chairs of those who pray with them.  It can seriously injure the ladies. Aand again, pray at home. PLEEEEASE!! I get very thirsty because your Abdullah drank all my water. Waaaaaah!!!
  9. Huffaz : When the imam is praying quran taraweeh and you are a hafiz yourself, it is tempting to read along with him. I totally understand. I am a hafiz myself. And I do read along. Just not aloud. I neither whisper, nor hum, nor mutter, nor mumble. I neither read the faa nor the seen or the sheen aloud. Infact my lips are closed as I pray along in my mind. Why am I quoting what I do? Its because other taraweehers, including myself find it irksome to hear someone two rows behind going haaaaaaa aloud when the imam recites haa meem. We get it masha Allah, you are a hafiz. May Allah grant you jannah. But sister, Allah knows what is in your heart. Pray in your heart and Allah will reward you. You can even dance a bit on your spot if that’s how excited listening to imam read what you know makes you. That’s not allowed but you do you. Just do it silently. Thank you.

Writing these down has calmed me considerably. You might have witnessed these people in your mosques or maybe you are one of them lol. If you know any other kind then vent down below. Just no swearing please. Shukran.

 

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Say No to Racism!!!

I was rushing to my class today morning when this dude just pops out of nowhere and hands me this pamphlet that screams : SAY NO TO RACISM!!! JOIN THE DISCUSSION 5:30 P.M TODAY AT THE STATE LIBRARY!! (I made up the venue). As always, I toss pamphlets into the next rubbish bin that I find and this was no exception. I threw it away but not before actually thinking about the impact the words had on me.

I recall the time when I was in the metro with my parents and we sat across a lady, who after a few minutes, excused herself, claiming to be claustrophobic. Bear in mind, it was peak hour, 5 in the evening and hence the train would be jam-packed with office-goers and students rushing home after a long day. If she truly felt claustrophobic, she would get out of the train and board the next to next one when the rush hour had died down. But instead she just sat behind us, right in the middle of where it was so crowded that people had to stand due to lack of seating spaces. I could only assume that she had incorrectly diagnosed herself of claustrophobia when in fact she was suffering from Islamophobia.

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Australia always has something or the other with different minority groups. Doesn’t help with the fact that Tony Abbott is only adding fuel to the fire. Then there are media people (Andrew Bolt of Herald Sun),handing out generalizations and incorrect knowledge to the masses who just chew up on it and sit in fear of any hijabis or extremists. Narrow minded bigots who yell at others to go back where they came from, could you kindly look back a couple of generations and see how your forefathers were shipped from Britain as convicts?

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Refugees , Muslims and Aboriginal people are all people. There are good and bad in each population group. If we are posting labels of terrorism on ALL Muslims, why don’t we label all white American males as shooters and British as looters (who plundered vast wealths from India and other colonies)?

Before I conclude my rant, I would like to clarify that I am not validating any shooting or terror attack, or supporting those who purport violence. I detest savage and brute attacks of power.I detest closed minds. I detest brainwashing masses of people with misguided information. What I especially detest is being placed in the same category as the people I detest.

*Side Note : Not all Australians are rednecks. That would just be generalizing them (and oh my,how I truly detest doing that!!). Some are truly the loveliest people I have known. Another blog post on that later.

***All images via Google Search.

Moon Sighting Confusion!!

Background : The Islamic calendar is based on the moon, unlike the Gregorian calendar that follows the sun. So for Muslims the beginning of the next day actually starts at sunset and not at 12 am midnight.Also since it’s a lunar calendar, each month of the Islamic calendar is of 29/30 days as opposed to 30/31 days.

Ramadan this year was quite uneventful. By uneventful I don’t mean that it wasn’t very spiritually enlightening, rather the Imam of my mosque slammed down all the commotion that occurs every year of when the Eid* will be by asking the mosque- goers that there wouldn’t be a single question or discussion on it. I came to Australia 5 years ago and there hasn’t been a single Ramadan that wasn’t fraught with debates on moon sighting and occurrence of Eid. People wish to know before-hand which day the festival falls on so they can take the day off work and kids can quit school for the day. By before-hand I mean like a month earlier. Now Eid and moon-sighting go hand in hand.If one can sight a sliver of the crescent moon on the 29th or 30th night of Ramadan,then Eid is declared the next day. How can anyone know when the moon will be spotted a month before-hand?

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Now get this : The board of Imams declared Eid to be on Friday, the 17th of July, 2015. They declared it on Tuesday the 16th of June ,2015, almost a month early to hush the persistent questioning of people whining about Eid, holidays, and problematic bosses. And thus Ramadan was quite peaceful.

On the 29th night, after breaking the fast, my older brother Khalid and me (and later the whole family) went out to sight the moon with our naked eye. It had always been the tradition of mum and me to eat Iftar** as quickly as we could and go for moon-sighting. Usually Melbourne sky is enveloped with clouds but that evening the sky was as clear as could be. And despite efforts put in by the whole family, the moon couldn’t be sighted. Next option : to rely on sighting from Hilal committee (Moon Sighting Committee), the experts with the big telescopes. And by Isha*** , it was declared that the moon was not sighted anywhere in Australia. The board of Imams, on the other hand, stuck to their decision of celebrating on Friday. Maybe it hurt their ego or maybe the wrath of thousands of Melburnians who had taken leave according to schedule would be overwhelming. My family decided to stick to moon-sighting and hence we would celebrate Eid on Saturday after observing the whole 30 day fast. We were in the minority but we were adamant. The majority were feeling a bit apprehensive but they justified with the hadeeth of following the Imam.

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We fasted the next day while our friends celebrated Eid. Eid was also declared in Saudi Arabia and so people celebrating got to validate their Eid. Of course we attended the parties throughout the day which were full of debates and exchange of views on who is right and who is not. We neither condoned nor condemned anyone. But all this left me feeling a bit nonplussed.

Two days ago, the Saudi government announced that the moon sighted on the Thursday evening was in fact incorrect as it was not the moon that was sighted, rather the planet Saturn. And hence Eid was actually meant to be on the Saturday.

The End.

*The Islamic festival of celebration that happens at the end of Ramadan.

**Breaking of fast.

*** The night prayer.

^The crescent image is via Freeimage while the Eid celebration is from Google Search