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A Muslim's Ramadan Dinner

It was one of those moments when you truly felt the awe and beauty of the power of God, His will, and His creations.

A moment of pure content and happiness, where everything seemed right in its place and that the hope for the future was a bright clear light leading towards unknown doors.

My mother had put her hand on my shoulder, smiling to say, “You look happy.”

And I smiled again, nodding as I placed the white gleaming plate on the table.

“Jesam.” “I am.”

The house was brightly lit and murmurs seemed to spiral from all corners, ranging from small giggling gurgles of the 7 month baby to the boisterous conversation of the adults standing around the doorway, waiting for the call to prayer, or Adhan.

I stepped lively, making a note to myself that if most of my friends were to see me at this point, they would probably smirk and laugh; and yet, that didn’t matter. Oddly, I really had not been hungry, even though the beckoning smells of fresh grilled chicken and beef filled the air, as I stood next to my aunt while she passed the bowls of bread and salad to be put on the table.

It was not so much for the food or hunger that I began to thank and happily commend our hosts: it was more the understanding that we were part of a family and that we were all together to break our fast in unison.

As we finished setting the table, my cousin and brother ran up on the balcony, watching for the cannon to be fired that would signal the Adhan to begin. They stood for several minutes, side by side, squinting at the distant tall minarets probing into the light blue sky that covered the lush green grounds spread over the city. At times, the cannon would not be heard or seen according to the light: but tonight, we could at last hear the cannon booming from the distance.

My brother ran down the stairs again to join us in the ‘nevni boravak’, the main living room, as the television began to depict the live streaming of the Adhan by two older men standing at the top of the medieval minaret and looking downwards to the streams of people. Our family quietly watched and listened as the men’s voices joined in unison as if two notes intertwining with each other, calling “Allahu Akbar!” The men stood seemingly at the top of the city, holding their hands close to their ears as the notes became louder and quieter in differentiating pitches as if drawing forth a rainbow across the valley of Sarajevo.

All at once, dates were passed and the clinking of glasses pleasantly sounded as we poured the drinks into each cup, oldest first to the youngest. Each broke their fast, silently chewing the dried date as the Adhan continued to ring forwards. After the breaking of fast, the family rose their hands to prayer, each making their ‘dua’ or individual prayer to God to accept their fast and bless their families. As I held my own hands in prayer, I felt an utmost feeling of not just satisfaction, but truly pure happiness. I was sitting with a group of loved ones, each smiling at each other and respectfully helping one another. I thought of all those that within a few hours would also break their fast and sit together with families. Other dear loved ones came to mind, and I realized all at once: it did not matter where we were, what language we spoke, or what were the dishes that stood patiently at our tables: it was the fact that we were all Muslims and united by that same cause. It was the rare time we could set aside our differences and our ethnicities to realize the fact that we are all one Ummah, fasting side by side.



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