Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Summer Ramadan

This Ramadan has been strange.

On one hand, I miss the early days of my life in Canada, when Ramadan was in the winter, iftar was at 5 pm (I had to eat a date on my way back from school/work), and you were done Taraweeh at 9.30 pm.

Now, Taraweeh starts at 9.30 pm!

Ramadan signs at a local No Frills store.

On the other hand, the long day of fasting has proved to be a blessing in disguise. There's no mad rush to complete iftar on time. You have lot of time to get ready, read some Quran, do some gym on the way home from work (and be half dead!) and still be at the dinner table in time for iftar.

However, the late ends to Taraweehs does mean my sleep schedule is severely affected. At our mosque, Isha prayer starts around 9.30 pm and full Taraweeh ends around 11.15 pm. By the time you are done exiting the mosque, driving out through the mad hordes all getting away, and reach home for bed, its midnight.

And lo, one has to get up around 4.45 am for Sehri. I usually go straight back to bed after Fajr before waking up again around 8 to go to work. Somehow, the body has adjusted to all this.

I think Ramadan is just perfect at 30 days. If it was longer, we wouldn't have been able to give it the respect it deserves - it would cease to be special. If it was shorter, it would have been meaningless.

One thing I have noticed this Ramadan, especially at our mosque, are the effects of recession. First, the iftar has been of dubious to seriously low quality. This mosque used to set the standard, and now you get next to nothing. I attended a couple of iftars and the turnout was quite low. From reports from the ladies' side, the volunteers were rude, foods wasted, etc.

Second, the turnout at the prayers. Is it my imagination or are less people attending the night prayers? One reason could be the availability of many more mosques in the GTA, but still our mosque is nowhere as crowded as it should be. Again, it's a blessing in a way that parking is easier to find even if you go late.

This mosque has a school attached to it that appears to be doing very well. I wonder if that is the way of the future for mosques - have a viable commercial arm generating cash for much needed mosque expenditures to get away from the donation model.


TahaManiac said...

years ago, taraweeh prayers ended at 9:30pm...now they start at 9:30 pm....wow...big difference i didn't take heed of....

(sigh)....there's soo much i should've done this summer....IT FLEW BY TOO FAST!!! >-(

Sarah Alaoui said...

Happy Ramadan!

Anonymous said...

Ramadan Blues! Well everyone gets it,one way or the other :)

Yes,the mosque of today is designed to serve more than worship.Here they have classes,auditorium and galleries to facilitate in-coming non-muslim and tourist alike,for a more friendy approach.I kind of like this.Some new mosques do not even include the minaret!

mezba said...

Taha: time always flies fast when you are having fun, especially summer! This year, our summer was practically non-existent.

Sarah: same to you! hope you are having a good one.

Lat: Ramadan Blues? Bah, humbug! :-)

To be honest, so far since I am pacing myself, Ramadan is going along fine. It's just that I find myself sleeping whenever I have a spare moment!

Wow, a mosque without minaret! Nah, to me, all mosques should have SOME of the traditional designs (those that are made from scratch, that is).

nadia said...

Since you've lived here in the UAE, you know the timings: wake up at 4 am for sehri, sleep till 8 am, go to work, iftaar at 6:40, taraweeh ends at 9:15, sleep at 1 am :)

PS: I also think masjids should have minarets.

Farah said...

It seems some of the mosques have downgraded their iftars too. I go to the mosque in Thorncliffe and once I went for iftar it was half a banana and a few dates with some yoghurt drink. But at least they were super polite.

I went to Nugget mosque once and the volunteers were really rude. Half of them were Pakistani and obsessed with their own make up and lipgloss. They had packaged their own food (FULL) in containers and kept them separate. Attendees were given ONE SPOON of rice (I kid you not). And it wasn't that there was lots of people.

Someone spilled tea on the floor, I saw lots of food being wasted, yet the fat headmistress went after some people who were using two cups because the tea was so hot! Ridiculous I tell you.

Anonymous said...

This Ramadan has definitely been a different experience.

'liya said...

I remember short Ramadan in winters, wow, how quickly time goes by!

questfortherightone.blogspot.com said...

oh dear, 9:30pm! Where on earth are you, literally? I'm in the mid east and we break at 7pm now, sweet times. Also from Canada, where i came from to the mid east, they have it okay there too... i guess?

Happy iftar!

mezba said...

Nadia: forgot mostly about Ramadan in UAE, it's so long ago. All I remember are the shortened day timings for school!

Farah: Wow, didn't know it was that bad at the female section at Nugget!

Sunehra: you bet - and it's only going to get longer for the next few years.

Liya: definitely. And it wasn't too long ago!

Quest: 9.30 is time when taraweeh starts. We break fast around 8 pm.

Anonymous said...

To break fast around 8 is kind of late for me.Here we start gulping at 7.10 :)
What is it about fasting in winter?
Is the hrs shorter?

Muslim Girl said...

Ramadan Mubarak!

My friend leads taraweeh at your masjid. :)

mezba said...

Lat: in Canada the hours in winter are definitely shorter. We start around 7-8 am and break fast 4.30 - 5 pm! Right now we start 5 am-ish and break fast around 8 pm.

Muslim Girl: really? interesting! Does he know you have a blog?