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Published On:27 July 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Ramadan Realization

By Mike Ghouse

DAY 4 - Madinah Masjid, Carrollton
Monday, July 23, 2012 | Ramadan 4, 1433
Iftaar Time: 8:36 PM CST
Madinah Masjid, 2180 Old Denton Road, Carrollton, TX 75006
Website: www.madinahmasjid.com

I was completely exhausted today, the fasting really got to me. I was hungry from Noon down. The only thing that came to my mind was hungry children and people around the world in Congo, Haiti, Somalia and Burma. The tragedy of Rohingi people in Burma shatters me… it is the identical humility that the Vietnamese suffered, and Darfurians and Palestinians are enduring. 

A sense of responsibility grips me and the only possible thing I can do is pray for them, and through fasting, in my own way, I express solidarity with them, and empathize with them. Taqwa or spirituality in simple terms is being in tune with the creation, created and the creator. We feel helpless, yet we feel part of the whole universe.

My biggest reference point is always Holocaust, the world did nothing while people were sent to gas chambers, and mercilessly shot into the ditches… the looks in their eyes was so overwhelming, friends turned their faces away from them; a sheer betrayal of humanity. That is one of the most dominating scenes in my life, when I hear the word helplessness, that is the scene for me and that means more of the Ramadan Realization for me, a month of connecting with humanity, a month of feeling empathy for others and a month of goodwill generation.

I was debating about breaking the fast in my office. But, decided to head out to Madinah Masjid. It is perhaps the only Mosque in the area with arrangement for Iftaar dinner every evening. 

My friend Javed Haider has been in-charge of Ramadan Iftaar along with Amin, Naushad and a few others for several years. I go to Madinah Masjid, at least twice during each Ramadan. The hospitality here is exemplary, a smaller but a friendly group of people.
Madina Masjid is a fully ethnic mosque, meaning the congregants are homogenous and predominantly Urdu Speaking. Most of them are from India and Pakistan. Other than the ritual prayers, all other talk is in Urdu. 

Those who come fresh from India or Pakistan may feel home at this Mosque, it is a continuation of every practice that is done back home. 

For instance, before breaking the fast, in most mosques the Adhan (prayer call) signifies the moment to break the fast, in Madinah Masjid, Imam Seraj Misbahi sits down with the group and recites the words slowly prior to breaking the fast, so others can repeat after him.

After the formal obligatory congregational prayers, most mosques conclude the prayers at the last act of the ritual - that is sending peace and blessings to the right and to the left with the head turning in both directions. In Madinah Masjid, the Imam goes for the duwa (supplication) after the end of the prayes, a common practice in the Subcontinent.

The Imam also keeps the recitations short; the prayers are supposed to be short during Ramadan. Imam Zia Shaikh of Irving and Imam Muhammad Shakoor of Dallas are sensitive to this need. However, when a guest imam leads the prayers in some Mosques, the Imams love their own voices so much that they take it for ever, and it is quite taxing during Ramadan. I wish everyone tells some of these Imams to keep it short and take all the time they want in the Taraweeh Prayers; that is the special nightly prayers during Ramadan, where one chapter of Quraan is completed each night in 29 to 30 days.

The food was great with Salad, lentil, rice, and grilled chicken. The dessert was kheer (rice pudding) with sliced almonds and possibly broken cashew. Loved it! 

Ah, our friend Marylou at the world Muslim congress forum, thought it was humorous that I had to wipe my fingers inside of my pant pockets as there was no napkin available yesterday or the other two days. Here at Madinah Masjid, thank God they had a good supply of them and I wiped my fingers with the napkin after breaking the fast.

I urge fellow Muslims to become a part of the whole and visit different Mosques for Iftaar with an open mind and respectful of other traditions. It takes you out of the narrow cubby and puts you out in a larger world. That is what Ramadan is supposed to make you, give you arms to embrace the whole humanity.

[Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on the topics of Pluralism, Coexistence, politics, interfaith, Islam and cohesive societies. He is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Foreign Editor. He can be contacted at mikeghouse@aol.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on July 27, 2012. Filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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