MY BEST RAMANDHAN EXPERIENCES:
I've been fasting for years, yet my "best" Ramadan didn't happen when I was single, not a dad, healthier, not working, not in school, when the fasts were easier, days were shorter, etc, but it happened during my childhood in Bugerere, and in the last three years here in the UK.
During Ramadan, Muslims all over the globe observe a month of daily fasting. The observance of Ramadan allows Muslims to increase their faith and become closer to God.As an adult, I have felt more closer to Allah only the last three Ramandans. You, only yourself, can know and feel this- if you think you are fasting with passion, you feel the need to being closer to your creator, you feel nothing or nobody is pushing you to fast, apart from your innerself-- and that feeling could lead you to do a lot of good things, like: reading the quran often, do dhikir, being kind to others,isolating yourself just to worship Allah a bit more, e.t.c.
In the past,I've fasted because I thought,' it's Ramandan, and that is what every Muslim is doing, so, why not me?';I've fasted, because i thought,' how could people see me not to be fasting?'.... I'm sure a lot of people are still in that 'darkness', which all become self-fulfilling prophecies that end up squandering the joy of the month. In much of Uganda today fasting has been reduced to a mere ritual, and the month of Ramadan has become a time of celebration and festivities instead of religious contemplation and abstinence. In many places, suhoor (the night meal) which is supposed to be taken prior the dawn becomes an opportunity for people to eat a lot, and as a result, most people are putting on weight in Ramandan.
Its important that Muslims do a lot of dua asking Allah to open their minds up to fasting out of passion,and out of pleasing Allah. Its only Allah who can bring you closer to him during Ramadan. When Allah tells us, "I am in the opinion of My servant," we have to understand the implications of such a profound statement. We have to understand that our attitude, our mindset, our outlook from the onset has to be positive in order for us to have a positive experience.
Ramadan is a holy month for many Ugandan Muslim, but what was it like at Kisega, Kangulumira in Bugerere? I can only speak about it in how we experienced it at my late grandfather's home as kids. Hajji Hassan Kibirige, inalilahi wahina ilayihi Rajiuna, made everybody inside his home feel Ramadan. He made the neighbours(Muslims and non-Muslims) feel it-- he invited some for iftar; meat and fish was supplied almost daily by one of his mini-buses(Kigege),and this made kids look forward to both iftar and suhoor; Adhan was done loudly outside the house, the masjid at Kangulumira had a speaker- so, one could hear Adhan from a distance. One of my childhood friends, Nafi Musitwa(now a headmaster), used to do Ramadan at the main mosque(Kangulumira) but we could compete to do it at home. He had such a beautiful voice ma sha allah, and I learned a lot from him.Basically, the coming of Ramadan was one of the most thrilling experiences of my childhood.
The nights prior to the sighting of the moon our grandmother,Hajjati Mai Nabagereka, would be preparing for Ramadan with an enthusiastic different kinds of foods in storage. Cooking during Ramadan was unlike any other kind of cooking, Ramadan food was special. There was a special iftar we only ate during the holy month until the next Ramadan. Cooking always commenced at four o’clock until just before we were about to break fast - Cooking so many various foods took time and much preparation. Even the aroma in the home during Ramadan was specific to that month, making the atmosphere even more special. The whole home was buzzing,and, somehow, everyone looked happy.
Most of the farm workers ended up embracing Islam to join in the good feeling. For instance, I remember our farm manager, Mwiddu(mugeri by tribe), and his relative from Busoga whom we called 'munna'- all ended up embracing Islam.Two of the female maids did revert too, and are now part of the family--atleast i'm still in contact with one of them whom they later helped to become a teacher.
We entered the month of ibadah (devotion), the beloved guest was in our midst.Taraweh prayers were conducted at home,and we loved the songs in between--'muwada, muwada, ya ramandhan'. I loved the buzz in the house. As a child, I wasn’t expected to take part in much of the rituals – be it the cooking or the sunnah [non compulsory] prayers, nevertheless I was as much part of Ramadan as everyone else in the home.
May Allah guide us to have the best Ramadan this year and every year.Ameen!
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