Ramadan Kareem from Egypt!!!
I can't tell you guys how excited I was to spend Ramadan in Egypt...and now that its finally here I'm super giddy. I've never spent this sacred month of self-discipline and reflection anywhere other than the US, let alone a Muslim country. The first source of excitement were all the lanterns, lights, and decorations strung up around the entire city. All the Masajid (mosques) have lights around them...its gorgeous!
So let me tell you guys how it all goes down. During Ramadan Egypt turns back time one hour for the month which is awesome because we get an extra hour of sleep. We eat at 3:30 in the morning and pray Fajr (the morning prayer) then sleep. The day goes by with classes and running errands. Then around Iftaar time (time to break fast) the streets get filled with people passing out dates and juice, especially around the masjid. There's even special tents every few streets called "Ma'idat ar-Rahman" which are places that serve food to anyone who can't afford it. It's amazing!
Night is my favorite part of Ramadan here. We go to Masjid Bilal for the night prayer. People come all over the city just to come to Masjid Bilal even though there's a masjid at every corner. Ok so Masjid Bilal is huge, four levels and it has a HUGE garden around it. Because the masjid gets overflowed with people in it they lay out tarp on the garden for us to pray on. I've never prayed taraweeh (extra night prayers) outside before. Imagine straight lines and lines of hundreds of people
with the beautiful voice of Shaikh Rida riveting the entire city with his Quran recitation while the wind is billowing amongst the trees. Sigh. I've never enjoyed two hours of prayer so much. Then at the end of the prayer he makes a long dua (prayer) before finishing off. I just realized there's like 3 different words for prayer in Arabic and they all translate to prayer in English... maybe I should do a post on the language comparison sometime soon inshaAllah?
This is a video of one of the dua that Sheikh Rida made at the end of the night prayers.
This is a clip of his recitation. He's reciting the set of ayaat in the Quran about fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Man I'm really going to miss Egypt when I come back home. Note to all my friends... just be cautious of my mood! =D I have only exactly a week left. I miss my family a lot though so its a bittersweet feeling.
Anyhow I pray that all of you guys have an amazing month this Ramadan, that your prayers are answered, and that you all find contentment in your lives. Ameen.