I greet you all with the universal greeting of Peace!
Hope that your week is treating you fairly, and that you can smell the weekend as it fast approaches. On Tuesday, 07th June 2016, we commenced with the holy month of Ramadaan, a global phenomenon in the Islamic faith that signifies a period of spiritual upliftment, sacrifice and charity. It also involves a period of abstaining from eating, drinking, and intimacy from sunrise to sunset; with the goal of allowing one to understand the plight of those who are less fortunate.
Worldwide Ramadaan is celebrated with festivities, decorations are put up, gifts are given, carnivals are setup, restaurants arrange immense buffets for iftaar (the period when ones fast is broken) all to celebrate this special occasion. In Cape Town however, we celebrate things a little differently, I remember when we were little, my grandmother would make different treats for us to break our fast with, like pumpkin fritters, bollas, samoosas, or yummy falooda scented with rose water. We would then put on our scarves as my granny would put them in little plates, and we would dart out the front door to share these snacks with our neighbors, who would then in turn sometimes share some of their snacks with us. I really loved this tradition as it really created a sense of unity, and even prior to getting married, I would still take to our neighbors , Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
Unfortunately, as time has carried on, walls have gotten higher, and the most of your neighbors aren’t even aware that you are neighbors, but, I am hoping to open the doors of true neighborhood pretty soon (fingers crossed).
As this is the 3rd day of Ramadaan, I feel a sense of humility, which is the true inspiration behind my post today, as free as we are to freely be able to practice our religion in our country, there are some who don’t have the same privilege. Many people are struggling to put food on their tables, living in poor conditions, suffering in war torn countries under horrible rulers, and even though we have this period of abstaining, we are still fortunate to have tables decked with goodies.
Many nights the variety is able to surpass the need and many of these treats go to waste, which completely negates the lesson behind the month of Ramadaan. So here’s my challenge to you, oh? you didn’t think I wouldn’t challenge you? Come on now, lol.
I challenge each and every one of you to go out and do something good for a stranger, buy an extra loaf of bread at the shop after work and give it a neighbor, or hold the door open for someone while you walking through it, better yet, take a moment to truly look at what you have and think, somewhere, there is someone wishing for the life that you have, and be thankful.
We live in an era that is so intent on fear-mongering us into fearing for our children’s safety because of child abductions, fear because of the chemicals in our foods, fear because of the medicines we take, fear for the inability to put food on the table as the prices sky rocket, but I urge you to fight that fear. Let’s create an environment of love and giving for our children, lets teach our children the joy of giving and the understanding of not having, because the truth, is that even in not having, we teach humility.
I would like to take this moment to wish every single reader of mine a blessed month of Ramadaan, may it bring tranquility to your life, may it uplift you spirituality, and may you come out of this month, freer and happier.
To my non-Muslim readers, please do not be alarmed by us fasting, we are not suffering (even though our stomach growls say otherwise), and no, you do not have to hide away if you have to eat in front of us or feel forced to fast too. Although, we would appreciate it if you feel that you would like to reap the benefits from it as well. But truly, no pressure, and who knows, I’m pretty sure your Muslim colleague will bring you lots of goodies to share in the iftar bounties, hehe…
Always with Love & Peace