Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan – a little bit different than recent years where we normally indulged in lavish iftar dinners in perfumed tents with all the frills that make the arabian nights magical and different each night. Thanks to COVID-19, we had a low key iftar at home after prayers.
It was however not very different than what I was used to as I grew up in Fiji Islands. During Ramadan, our days remained the same as everyone else but in the evenings we made special dishes we loved to break fast with.
Our schedule remained consistent for 30 days. Once the food was ready, we used to do wudhu (ablution), read the Quran until it was time to break fast with dates juices and snacks, pray Maghreb, eat dinner, rest and straight to Tarawih prayers. We slept early at 10pm as we woke up at 4.30 to 5am to prepare yummy breakfast and pray Fajr. Most of us went to sleep afterwards while my mum preferred to stay up.
In UAE, we end up breaking fast normally in a different hotel or tent with colleagues, friends etc. As a journalist, I do iftar previews well before ramadan even starts and try out different dishes and often even late night suhurs in Ramadan tents. This meant I missed the family time often cherished during Ramadan as well as the spiritual uplifting we get this time of the year on most evenings.
If there is one thing I am grateful for right now because of COVID-19, it is the fact that I am able to spend ramadan the old fashioned way and the way our prophet (SAW) meant us to.
My daughter is back in UAE and has not returned to the UK for the Forensic Science degree as all her classes are online now. It is a blessing indeed that she is able to spend ramadan here with us in the UAE and is able to help out with cooking and baking and brightens up the house with her antics.
The universe evolves continuously so change is inevitable. This is my time to evolve and get back to my roots – get more grounded and I look forward to the rest of Ramadan being the month of spiritual awakening and blessings. Ramadan Kareem to everyone.