I’ve been in the US for a few months now, and have been having an amazing time. The places I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had have been nothing short of wonderful. At the same time, it is sometimes very difficult to avoid being homesick, especially this week, when we are a mere hours away from the beginning of Ramadan.
This year, Ramadan will be testing me in new ways, and for the past few days I have found myself reflecting on what it will be like without my family, and without the sounds of the Maghreb Athan going off not so concurrently around Amman. Rather than being overcome with a complete feeling of loneliness, I find myself being extremely thankful for the new community I now see myself as being a part of. Many of my friends know that Ramadan is a very family-oriented month, and have even offered to try fasting with me (albeit mostly as a weight-loss strategy).
I’ve always been a fan of the month of Ramadan, and the idea behind it. Other than having a spiritual focus, to me, the very essence of Ramadan calls upon those fasting to count their blessings, and to realize how many things we take for granted. Going hungry and thirsty, even for a day helps us understand the plight of the poor and hungry, and we become more compassionate towards them, and understand, to some extent, the suffering they must endure on a daily basis. It is those things that make us remember God.
In a rare somewhat serious conversation I was having with one of my craziest friends Benjamin a few days ago, he pointed out something interesting to me. Ben began explaining that the idea of “fasting for worship” is shared in both Judaism and Christianity as well, and how he hopes that one day it is these commonalities that help us overcome ongoing issues, faced here in the US, and home in the Middle East. Excellent point Ben!
So yes, Ramadan is going to be different this year. I will miss waking up before dawn and sleep walking to the kitchen with the rest of my family to have suhoor. I will miss resisting the smell of mama’s wonderful cooking, but am looking forward to the challenge of resisting the smell of delicious pizza coming from next door. I will miss watching the Ramadan hit show on MBC, but am happy to say that this year the Olympic games will be filling in
Happy Ramadan to all! May this month bring us closer together.
I will leave you with one of my family’s favorite nokat (jokes), which is catered more towards Muslims. I attempted to translate it, but let me know if you need me to explain it further. This joke will guarantee you some laughs at the Iftar table.
Until next time..
طلاب عندهم إمتحان حفظ بعض من ايات القران. دخل عليهم المدرس زعلان
سأل الطالب الأول شو اسمك؟ حكى يوسف. اللو المدرس سمع سورة يوسف
سأل الطالب الثاني شو اسمك؟ حكى يونس. اللو المدرس سمع سورة يونس
!اجا عل ثالث سألو أو إنت شو اسمك؟ جاوب الطالب بشطارة أنا إسمي عمران، بس بدلعوني كوثر
An angry religion teacher walks into his classroom one morning and decides to test his students.
Teacher: What’s your name?
Student 1: Yousef
Teacher: Recite Suret Yousef from the Quran.
And he does.
The teacher points to another student, and again asks for his name.
Student 2: My name is Yunis.
As expected, the teacher asks Yunis to recite Suret Yunis from the Quran.
The teacher points to a third student, and asks for his name. Student3 cleverly responds:
My name is Imran, but all of my friends call me Kawthar!!