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BrKhalid
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« on: Aug 07, 2011 01:13 AM »

Asalaamu  Alaikum  bro

Article from an American Muslim experiencing Ramadan in the Middle East for the first time.


http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Ramadan-in-Riyadh-Missing-the-US-Hadi-YazdanPanah-08-05-2011.html
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Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 07, 2011 01:57 AM »

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At every turn on the streets of Riyadh, they yell out, "Look Baba, it says Ramadan Kareem!" And if I do not acknowledge the radiant beauty of that particular sign, I am chastised with, "You didn't look. That's not very nice; you're not in the Ramadan Spirit."

That is certainly different!

Quote
The spiritual awakening that we so desperately seek in Ramadan comes to each of us at different stages, and with a different pace. Some of us are spiritual sprinters, and others are spiritual marathoners. Admittedly, it is early in Ramadan for me in Riyadh, but there is something missing here compared to my experience in the United States. I seek something more than just tasting hunger. I seek a taste of home.

I felt sad reading that part! Is it because its taken for granted? Whereas in non-Muslim countries there is sense of community - one Umma - where both male and female attend Salah at the Masjids, especially on Fridays and during Ramadan.

It will be interesting to read the 3 parts remaining, Insha-Allah.
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The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira

akhan
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 07, 2011 02:33 AM »

I certainly feel there is more spirituality in the air in Saudi than here. I don't know why, but that is just how I feel. With prayers being observed on time, there is certainly a lot of difference. And it's not just spirituality, there is also that sense of brotherhood and hospitality that one cannot find here. People are plain selfish. The concept of sharing and caring does not exist.

Disclaimer - I am talking about my city. I don't have any clue how spiritual US/UK/elsewhere is.

PS - That guy wrote about boxes and boxes of dates. Such a place is definitely my dream destination Wink
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BrKhalid
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 07, 2011 06:19 AM »

Asalaamu  Alaikum bro

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I felt sad reading that part! Is it because its taken for granted? Whereas in non-Muslim countries there is sense of community - one Umma - where both male and female attend Salah at the Masjids, especially on Fridays and during Ramadan.

It is a common theme sometimes when living in a Muslim country as to the extent worship is more 'cultural' or 'ritual' as opposed to having an element of struggle or hardship and being appreciative of what Allah has given.

We must realise, however, that people differ with some faring better when amongst a multitude whilst others shine and excel when living within a minority.

Ultimately, one's attitude to Ramadhan should not be determined by the external environment but by an internal willingness to make the most of the month whatever circumstances one finds oneself in.
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Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]

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« Reply #4 on: Aug 07, 2011 06:43 AM »

Subhannallah. I loved that story.   I have never been to another country for any reason than USA. But, I can relate to times I have been involved in community and times I simply stayed home and keep my children home. They enjoyed the involved times so much more.    I do believe we in USA have to do a bit more to keep our children satisfied without christmas. 

And because Islam is not everywhere here as in Saudia going to musjid with the children is almost a must.

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« Reply #5 on: Aug 07, 2011 07:06 AM »

wsalam,

It's actually very interesting experiencing Ramadan in a Muslim country versus a non-Muslim country. We go to Muslim countries thinking we will have Islam surrounding us like the 5 daily prayers, the athan, everyone wearing hijab and so on. And everyone will be great Muslims and we'll find so much Islam there. But the #1 problem/complaint from students of knowledge is that it is so hard to find a sense a spirituality there. It's just so dry and formulaic. No doubt we are foreigners living there so it's different for us, but somehow it's just very hard to find because Islam is part of the established society and culture, and ritualized as mentioned. On the other hand, in the US and westernized countries it can be hard for us to practice because all those cultural things are not surrounding us.

In Syria, Ramadan is very much a family experience. Families have iftar together at home and they have Ramadan musalsalls and men and women go to the mosque for taraweeh. There's not much 'community' type things going on. Ppl don't even dress up or go out on Eid. The funniest thing is that everyone that was out and dressed up were westerners!! lol

Anyways advantages and disadvantages, and regardless of country iA we will all benefit from our Ramadan wherever we are!!
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akhan
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« Reply #6 on: Aug 07, 2011 08:31 AM »

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Islam is part of the established society and culture
That's exactly what makes me like it there.
I guess, in the west, since communities are so small there is a lot of brotherhood and spirituality within that group. Problem here is, Muslims and non-muslims are half and half. So, Islam is supposed to be at least part of the culture, right? But that is not the case, people are Muslim yet not Muslim and same applies to culture. More of it has Hindu influences rather than Islamic. People slide in and out of the religion very easily. In Saudi, I find that the culture acts as a safety net. You can't really slide out because there is nothing to slide out into.
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 07, 2011 07:15 PM »

I live in a Muslim country after having been in the States and I really agree that here the fasting etc is ritualistic. There's no fun in it, no community like I remember back in the US. This is also very influenced by the culture which is very laid-back. In the US we had such a nice Eid program! We'd wake up as kids and find our new clothes and toys waiting, everyone would dress up and the house would be decorated and we'd go out and everyone was happy! Whereas here there is this horrible "ugh" feeling that I have to battle. I don't really see many people, there is nothing nice to buy so no presents, nobody is really elated, especially at Eid al Adha, in which basically people say, "Uff, Eid al shughl!" or "The Eid of work!" because the women have to do all the dabiha...from scratch.

There is no positive attitude, just a shrug...
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 07, 2011 08:05 PM »

salam,

to be fair many ppl here go to school and work on Eid !! it's like no big deal to them. the most they might do is go to the mosque to pray and according to surveys that is only a percentage of our true community!! (only 10% of muslims go to jumah btw!) also everyone's always like what should we do on Eid??? I dunno, whadda you wanna do... etc etc lol We would go out to eat after prayer and then go home and do nothing and maybe go out to a party or dinner in the evening. with kids it's a lot more fun... u buy gifts or take them somewhere and a lot of communities do try to have some type of eid fair for them on a weekend. but y'ani i really believe it's what u make of it... it can be remarkable or not depending on how much effort/planning you put into it.

ok 3pmm. do the hours slow down in ramadan or what?  Lips Sealed ok going to go watch that Koran by Heart show on youtube to pass some time Smiley

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Fozia
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« Reply #9 on: Aug 07, 2011 09:15 PM »

salam

Are you kidding, I adore eid, I always make a point to take eid off work on my annual leave quota.


We all go to my mums house, then we do gifts, I do gifts actually most of my family give money. Then the kids play with gifts, we all get together and catch up on gossip and people drop by our house all day, and there is food to feed an army of thousands.... mum aways packs us huge boxes of leftovers when we leave, so we dont cook for at least two days after! Non Muslim friends are jealous of our eids!!!!

This year I'm also baking a Princess cake for Eid, you know one of those standing doll shaped ones, at the request of my youngest? And everyone's gift requests are all in!


Make dua for my bank balance Inshallah!!!!!


Wassalaam
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« Reply #10 on: Aug 07, 2011 09:56 PM »

Assalamu Alaiykum,

I absolutely love love Eid! It's like the kid in me comes out. I'm travelling 200 miles to be with my family for Eid, so are some of my other sisters. We like Sr Fozia, get together at my parent's house and it's absolutely fantastic. We all go to Eid Jamat together, come back & do breakfast (or before masjid, depends which Eid it is) and then it's presents. I mean for absolutely everyone in the family who's present. We are talking at least 9 kids & 12 adults! Just opening presents sometimes goes until the afternoon sometimes. Then it's lunch @ family home. Then it's going to all my siblings houses which are near by and we eat loads again.. My sister in laws would be very upset if we don't eat! So it's somosa's, kebabs, korma, pilau & 2/3 curries at the ready.. This year I have four sister in laws! Feel full just thinking about how much I'll have to eat! Then we all do something in the evening as a family, a huge family I might add (although some of my brothers have to go to work if it's a weekend).

I cannot imagine Eid being boring at all. We have guests coming in the evening. Phone calls all day from relatives & friends that live far away & can't make it.

To top it off, I have an annual Eid party for Mums & kids at my own house when I get back home. This year I'm expecting around 65 guests. Every year, the guest list  increases. We're playing games with kids, prizes & loadsa food!

I'm getting excited just at the prospect. I think I may go & wrap a few presents right now. Smiley

Ma'Salam,
Cinders


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« Reply #11 on: Aug 08, 2011 01:18 AM »

whoaa..you guys are making me jealous Smiley
For me, Eid used to a fun affair when I was younger, a lot younger. Extended family would gather in my grandma's house and we would have a blast. But now, everyone's grown up, gotten busy with work(back then, all the cousins were students, now it's just a few), some left the country for greener pastures...gradually, it all died down. To top that off, my secluded side and introversion is taking over by leaps and bounds everyday(mum hates it) so even though my siblings sometimes visit people, I seldom do. My cousin tells me - tum, tumari tanhayi aur computer (you, your isolation and your computer)...lol
 
So basically, Eid is just another holiday - i.e catching up with lost schedule, assignments..etc etc Smiley
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JustOne
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 08, 2011 09:55 AM »

I'm of the opinion that you have to work HARDER in Riyadh to have a spiritually elevated Ramadan. It's easy to fall into a trap of thinking that ur maximizing it when even the bebzi cans say Ramadan Mubarak. But fasting is very much an individual act of ibadah - you are the only one who can improve your fasting experience.

There are other types of restrictions here unique to Riyadh- the city is so huge
and local communities so reserved. it takes us a 40 minute drive to get anywhere in Ramadan traffic. You either accept iftaar invites and miss your local taraweeh.. Or vice versa. Can't feed the needy since it's illegal. Can't put your kids in a craft class - unless you organize it yourself. Can't do dawah unless you want to get kicked off the compound for promoting something non-western in nature. Can't get kicked off the compound unless you never want to see daylight again. I know this sounds like an exaggerration - but it's not. A friend of mine gave me a tour of her house and when she got to a particular spot in her house, she goes, this is my favorite window, I can see the sun for 10 minutes in the day if I stand here.  I was so depressed after hearing that. The number of kids with vitamin D deficiencies in this country is really pathetic considering how much sunlight they get.

Anyway, back to the point.  Ramadan is an ocean of an experience. It's difficult to achieve that When you live in a fishbowl, and don't even know it. It's easy to forget about the world and the afterworld when you get a wok for 3 pots of oil!!!!

I think I need a vacation. 

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Jamalledine
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 08, 2011 11:48 AM »

Assalamu Alaykum!!

I think one thing that uphold one’s event spirit is the MOTIVATION from your environment...that thing lacks in Riyadh w/c most Muslims need. One example: Sermons are very rare here if there is its in Arabic language but only people who can understand Arabic benefited from it. 

Completely agree and witness what JUSTOne had said…

About Eid, here in saudi you have so much activities you can do w/ this one week holiday... Smiley 
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Halima
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 08, 2011 01:51 PM »

A friend of mine gave me a tour of her house and when she got to a particular spot in her house, she goes, this is my favorite window, I can see the sun for 10 minutes in the day if I stand here.  I was so depressed after hearing that. The number of kids with vitamin D deficiencies in this country is really pathetic considering how much sunlight they get.

And I thought reading this: "The spiritual awakening that we so desperately seek in Ramadan comes to each of us at different stages, and with a different pace. Some of us are spiritual sprinters, and others are spiritual marathoners. Admittedly, it is early in Ramadan for me in Riyadh, but there is something missing here compared to my experience in the United States. I seek something more than just tasting hunger. I seek a taste of home.", was sad!!! But reading the above made me even more sad!  

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It's easy to forget about the world and the afterworld when you get a wok for 3 pots of oil!!!!

3 pots of oil?

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I think I need a vacation.

If you are still in Saudi Arabia, then you do!
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The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira

akhan
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 09, 2011 03:36 PM »

I guess it's the way we were brought up in different cultures that makes us like and not like the same thing.
I could live in Saudi my entire life and still be excited each day Smiley Depends on each one's perspective.

btw, I could use a vacation too - to Jeddah Wink
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Halima
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 24, 2011 06:43 PM »

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Editor's Note: This is the first in a four-part series following Hadi and his family's Ramadan experiences in a Muslim country, comparing it to their Ramadan experiences U.S.

I was looking forward to reading the rest of it by now but nothing!
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The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira

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