A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Ya Ramadhan, ya Ramdhan.... how I love thee! No seriously. For me, as a new convert back in '06, it was a magical time. I was able to see Muslims everyday. Can you imagine? :-) Now that I have a family full of Muslims it isn't quite to fairy-tale. lol
The Annoor Masjid in Knoxville is the best! OK so when I was there sometimes we would complain about the lack of facilities for women or the infernal heat but let's face it, these issues affect most communities.
What we did have in abundance, if not space and super-cooled air, was sisterhood. I loved those Ramadhan nights! Honestly my first 2 years were months I will never forget. After that, having a small child and being busy looking after her honestly took a lot away from my ibadah. You might have read my posts about it. Sorry too lazy to link just go to the search bar or look under "i blog about".
Anyway it was just so peaceful and exciting. I would go to the masjid and break my fast. Now on a few nights it was sooo crowded and maybe food got low so Sr. Lisa and I might sneak out and grab a quick bite at a fast-food place. However on the nights when the crowd was manageable or non-existant.... ahhhhhhhhhhh the peace!
I remember sitting there, hearing Hafiz Noman reciting Qur'an. To this day he remains one of my favorite reciters. Masha'Allah he just had his Khatm; he has now learned all 7 types of recitation and is able to instruct others in all the methods. He is truly a boon for our smallish community.
His voice is so beautiful, even without understanding Arabic, sometimes my eyes would fill with tears. And the dua' he always performs on the last night is absolutely amazing. These memories will stay with me for a loooooong time.
Those first Ramadhans were in the fall and the weather, ahhhh the weather. It too was beautiful, crisp nights and cool days. Perfect for someone new to fasting. The first year I didn't pray taraweeh; I honestly couldn't keep my mind focused enough but I honestly feel it was almost as essential, those relationships I forged during that time. Sisterhood sustains us.
So oftentimes, I would slip outside and gaze up at the stars. Often I would be thinking of Abu Aaminah, as we were newly married AND newly apart awaiting his arrivial in the US. I had no way of knowing it would take another year but alhamdulillah He gave me the sabr to endure.
Aaminah was my prize. :-)
Even my third Ramadhan, after Aaminah, was beautiful but in a different way. Subhanallah everytime she heard Qur'an she would sit soooo still and just listen. She was only a baby maybe 3 months old and she listened for Allah's words like no other thing. It was amazing to me and she inspired me.
The next Ramadhan she was mobile and the masjid was off limits. We had a tiny little area for sisters so we sat shoulder to shoulder, back to back. Miskeena little Aaminah couldn't even walk and the food was too spicy so that was the year I prayed taraweeh in my home. You can read, as I said above, about this on my blog. Plus laugh at the verrrry high standards I tried to set for myself that year. Yeah, I changed them.
Praying in my home brought a new dimension. :-)
Go on to the next year. Aaminahw as bigger, we attempted the masjid ocassionally. Not so much ibadah unfortunatley but I was a single mom and worked at the masjid and was responsible for signing up iftar sponsors, buying all the non-food supplies, etc. etc. It was a hectic Ramadhan but I felt in many ways I was probably more productive and did more good fi sabilillah.
Last year I was here, married. Talk about culture shock. lol I went from quiet little iftars with friends or Aaminah and I to being responsible for cooking for a family of 6, shopping for Eid clothes, cleaning, and being uber sick. It was hard. I felt like I did absolutely NO ibadah last year. I guess I should re-read last Ramadhan to see what really happened as my memory is soo spotty.
Are ya'll still here? Good, I know I'm rambling a bit. Anyway we tried to go to the masjid a few times but the fitnah, sisters! People literally FIGHTING over food, complaining it wasn't "insert your ethnic group here" enough. It was so disheartening.
Aaminah was too young to be able to stay beside me while I prayed. Our masjid has huge marble, hard marble, staircases that are unprotected. :-( I pray in the women's balcony which had it's own stairs. So last year, no so much.
This year... well we'll see. Insha'Allah khair... Aaminah is older, maybe old enough to go to babysitting but I am afraid of the poor supervision, afraid she'll get scared or will go to find me. You know, the fears of a mama who stays home with her baby all the time.
Since this last incident at the masjid involving FOOD of all things! I am pretty sure I don't wanna go for iftar. I would rather cook myself and see if we can make it in time for taraweeh. This could be the year, sisters, this could be the year. :-)
Let's all make du'a that Allah swt blesses us and helps us to make the most of this coming time. Amin!