Ramadan- Experiences of a 14 year old girl
Hi! My name is Sehreen . I am 14 years old. I live in Birmingham in an area called Sparkbrook. I live with my family. I am 5 feet 2inch and a medium built. I have dark brown hair and brown eyes. The school I go to is Selly Park Technology College For Girls. I would like to tell you a bit about Ramadan and then briefly about the festival which happens after Ramadan. This festival is called Eid- Ul- Fitr.
Ramadan is the month of fasting, all Muslims fast during this month. It happens on the ninth month of Islamic calendar. Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam, it is known as ‘As -Sawm’ (fasting during Ramadan.) We must fast to go in Allah’s favour and keep ourselves away from greed and selfishness. In Ramadan, people feel the thirst and hunger of the poor Muslims. Ramadan is also a time of thanksgiving and helping the poor. During Ramadan many Muslims send zakat to those in need, especially to the people in Bosnia, Somalia, Ethiopia and Afghanistan.
What I do in Ramadan
First I wake up just before dawn (sunrise), around 2 hours earlier. My mother makes delicious food for us to eat, such as curry, chapatti and much more. This time of Ramadan is called ‘Sehri’. There is no limit on how much you eat, but it is better not to eat too much because you can’t feel the thirst and hunger of the Muslim’s in need. I don’t like to eat much at this time because it is too early and I don’t have much of an appetite to eat much, so I eat corn flakes.
I then brush my teeth and say a ‘D’ua’ (a prayer) to close my fast. Then I prepare for the morning prayer known as ‘Fajr’. This prayer is quite short and takes me only 5 minutes to read. I have to read my prayer before Dawn.
There are 5 prayers which Muslims have to read in each day. These prayers are not just for Ramadan, it is essential for all Muslims to read their prayer throughout the whole year, but it is even more essential to pray in Ramadan and be a good Muslim.
I usually go to sleep for an hour after the prayer, before I got dressed for school. But if I don’t go to sleep I usually read the Quran ( the Muslims holy book). The Quran had to be read before the end of the month.
The fast lasts during the hours of daylight from Dawn until Dusk. Nobody is allowed to eat anything during the hours of daylight. If you eat anything by accident, because you forget you are fasting, your fast does not break, but if you eat anything intentionally your fast is broken. There are strict rules about keeping a fast. These rules are:
You are not allowed to swear.
You are not allowed to smoke during fasting.
You must not be selfish and greedy.
Remember Allah at all times, and thank him for what he has given you.
I open my fast at dusk by eating a date. Then I read my Fourth prayer at the day known as ‘Maghrib’. After Maghrib I eat the delicious food which my mum has prepared for us, but just before eating my mother gives me some somosa’s and kebab’s to share amongst the neighbours. I then eat my dinner. This is my favourite part of the day. I eat Somosa’s, Kebab’s, Pokaras, salad curry, chappatis, and much more food- my favourite food is samosa. This part of the day is called ‘Iftar’ (opening of the fast). I open my fast by saying a prayer- ‘Du’a’. then I usually do a bit of my homework.
Around 7 p.m. I get ready for the 5th and final prayer which is called ‘Isha’. Along with this ‘Isha’ we read another prayer called ‘Trawih’. this is the special prayer of Ramadan. Isha is the longest prayer of the day and there are 17 Rikkat to read- Rikkats are the amount of bows you have to perform as you read the prayer. Trawih is 20 Rikkat long so altogether we have to read 37 Rikkat. This takes an awful long time and it is very tiring. I usually go to the mosque with my father. An Imam lead the Isha prayer. An iman is a person who knows the Qur’an and he leads the prayers). After the Isha prayer a Hafeez (a person who knows the Qur’an by heart ) reads the Trawih prayer. In the Tarawih prayer the Hafeez reads bits of the Qur’an and by the end of Ramadan the Qur’an should be finished. If people can not make it to the mosque they should read the Qur’an at home.
In the month of Ramadan there is a night called ‘Lailatul Qadr’ (Night of Power). It falls within the last ten days of the month of Ramadan. We should pray as much as we can on this night. Lailatul Qadr is the night when the prophet Muhammed first received his revelation from the angel Gabriel. Thi night is better than a thousand months. It is very hard for me to stay up all night, but last time I managed to say up half the night and then my father took me home.
After Ramadan a festival follows which is known as ‘Idul Fitr’ (Eid ul-Fitr). This day is the day of thanksgiving to Allah. It is a happy occasion for Muslims. On this day my Mum prepares delicious food such as sweet rice and roast chicken. We wear our new made clothes and receive lots of money from parents and relatives.
What I think of Ramadan
I really enjoy Ramadan, it is my favourite part of the year because in Ramadan we don’t just think about ourselves but about others. I realise what is happening in other parts of the world. I also like sending Zakat (charity money). by doing this I feel good and happy about the way I have helped someone.
I also enjoy going to the mosque, even though it is tiring and hard work. I like opening and closing my fast. Ramadan is a change from the rest of the year- everybody is nice to each other! Most of all I enjoy Eid ul-Fitr because the family get together, everybody is happy, we all have a lot of fun. I can’t wait until next Ramadan!