Sunday, October 1, 2006

I know I know....

Hey all, Salaam, I know its been tooo long but I am still here! Its Ramadan here in Cairo and boy what a time indeed it is. You really feel the spirit of this month everywhere you go.

Like just today I walked to the store and saw a young guy sitting on the stairs reciting Quran in a high melodic voice, it was so beautiful! Like me, people were out buying foul (fava beans we eat before fasting for the day), yogurt, pita bread and cheeses and all kinds of sweets. Its so nice to see such an atmosphere of people sharing the same practises as you are.

When I was in the States, don't get me wrong, Ramadan too was nice, but you didn't "feel it" unless you gathered with Muslim friends or went to a mosque. Here its everywhere and what a nice feeling for me, i am really happy. I am wishing for peace in the world, clean water for those who do not have it, and peace within myself too.

We believe that this Holy Month has many blessings. We try to get closer to God by fasting, by offerinng extra prayers, by trying to give more to and help those less fortunate. Things we should do all year long of course, but especially pronounced in this Holy Month.

A few facts about Ramadan, in case ya want to know.....

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Month of Ramadan is also when it is believed the Holy Quran "was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation"

It is during this month that Muslims fast. It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation

During the Fast of Ramadan strict restraints are placed on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end of the day the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning.

It is common for Muslims to go to the Masjid (Mosque) and spend several hours praying and studying the Quran. In addition to the five daily prayers, during Ramadan Muslims recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh prayer (Night Prayer). The length of this prayer is usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers.

Some Muslims spend the entire night in prayer on the evening of the 27th day of the month, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr (the Night of Power). It is believed that on this night Muhammad first received the revelation of the Holy Quran. And according to the Quran, this is when God determines the course of the world for the following year.

When the fast ends (the first day of the month of Shawwal) it is celebrated for three days in a holiday called Id-al-Fitr (the Feast of Fast Breaking). Gifts are exchanged. Friends and family gather to pray in congregation and for large meals. In some cities fairs are held to celebrate the end of the Fast of Ramadan.

I promise to try to stay in touch more often....but it will be less during this month....Hope all is well for all you. I do have some new and tested recipes though and will post soon....xoxoxoxo

1 comment:

  1. W4O, i've missed you! Stay on, or leave email contact, in case you every suddenly disappear in the night!

    I look forward to your recipes. I cooked the stuffed cabbage again and again. I'm addicted. It's my favorite. I made it for my friends, and they loved it. It was actually the best turn out, yet! I had rolled it in advance and froze it, so i was a little worried that it would not defrost nicely. But it did. I also tried it with brown rice .... um, that's a no-no. But hey, it's good to know that. Actually, it wasnt so bad, but once you know how it's supposed to taste, you cant go down to brown rice!

    Anyway, i hope your prayers are answered (God willing!) and keep me in yours. Infertility is such a test because it forces you to acknowledge and realize and accept that the lasting relationships are not with our children, our spouses, our parents, or friends. It's with God. I feel the sooner one realizes it, the sooner the devastation of this loss begins to lose it's hold on one's heart because it wont matter anymore. What will it matter if you have kids, if you are one with God? And in the end, what will it matter if you had kids, when you are one with God?

    God bless :)


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