Half-World Away


I have always wondered what people meant when saying, “you don’t feel Ramadan unless you spend it with your loved ones back home.”  I never understood this concept until we moved abroad for some time now. The experience of fasting takes precedence at the same time each day and represents an important aspect of belief for every Muslims be it living locally or in their native country.  People respond to the call for prayer each day by the local athan, wherever they may be. I have witnessed seeing a policeman that may be praying under the shade of a tree or a taxi cab driver that just pulled over to the nearest mosque to follow-up his duty to pray. The rush to get home to break the fast is also evident as drivers become careless of pedestrians and traffic appears unbearable as it marks yet another end of the day. My experience looking out of the window after breaking my fast is a view of empty streets and complete stillness each day I spend fasting from abroad. I may not be a native to this country but as a foreigner I have truly felt what another foreigner living in the states means about spending Ramadan abroad. It has left me with a feeling of understanding, acceptance, lessons and blessed moments that fasting has taught me while living away. My next experience was my first attendance to a Taraweeh evening at the mosque. I have attended them back home but while living abroad it has been my first time. Truly, we stand shoulder to shoulder, prostrate in the same direction and concentrate with all our senses.  However, as I was about to prostrate there were two things that just happened to stand out. First, the running of children and second the sound of a cell phone. My thoughts and heart were with following the imam at the moment but thoughts of my local mosque back home just flashed back to my mind. The same concept of trying to control children and turning off those cell phones to avoid interruptions is still the same. As we ended the Taraweh prayer and walked over to get our shoes, I felt content that I was able to attend this evening of unity. As I saw somse brothers ride their bikes home or groups of families getting into their cars a couple of motorbikes speeding out to beat traffic all of this will be a memory. I walked back with my sister-in-law with all the rest of the neighborhood Muslim folks and as I walked past people speaking their native language I felt a sense of renewed spirituality that half-world away would still may have felt the same. The imam’s recitations, standing shoulder to shoulder and feeling the presence of being in a physical setting unlike what I have been used to will always resonate with me. Children have an important place in the mosque being that the effort is made to reinforce their role but cell phones need to stay at home. Overall, being a half-world away Ramadan is a month of many reflections.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by blissful happiness on September 23, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    may all the greatness of your hearts desires come true and they do..

    May love and happiness radiate from you and return back to you multiplied…

    more bliss to you ….

    here is a beautiful website of one of my friends… Enjoy!


    more bliss to you
    love from


  2. Yes, that’s interesting. I used to be very busy and alone during ramadan for 7 years ago, yet this year i am with family. That’s great experiance to be with them, waking up for suhur, saying prayers together, time of iftar. And about that policeman who says prayer under shelter, i’ve seen same in Iran.. Was interesting.. 🙂


  3. Posted by adikbongsu on September 23, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh UmmAbdurrahman,

    I love your new blog’s look 🙂

    and jazakillah sister for the interesting post *hugs*


  4. Assalaamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sister,

    Mash’Allah thanks for sharing your experience! I love reading about Ramadan in different cultures. It’s true, cell phones are a big headache during Jumah and Taraweeh prayers. At least people could set them on vibrate or better yet TURN THEM OFF. Surely, it’s not as if someone would be so crass as to answer a cell phone in the middle of a prayer or the khutbah anyway. Right? At least I like to think they wouldn’t. I can see Dr.’s and emergency workers needing to leave their pagers on but at least turn them on vibrate. That’s all I’m saying.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: