The last few days of Ramzan are on. It was almost like yesterday, that it began. As usual there were great expectations, resolutions and apprehensions. “How will I fast for sixteen hours in 43 degrees centigrade? Will I lose some weight?” The few walks I had can’t possibly make up for the feasting!
It is now 2.30 a.m. I’m rather spoilt. After a lifetime of preparing Sehris myself, I have domestic help who brings in the Sehri or breakfast. I’ve just messaged him my requirements on my mobile. ‘Fried egg, toast, tea and melons.’ (I’ve already feasted on a mango!) Here comes my daughter with her home delivery of my favorite burgers. Excuse me please. There is no question of losing weight of course.
One has to remember to take eight glasses of water within the eight hours between Iftari and Sehri. Most of us aren’t sleeping during the night, only after Sehri around 4.00 a.m. So, one sleeps in bits and pieces.
This time, I’ve been lazy. Following just the basics of praying. I’ve known that only the compulsory or ‘farz’ prayers are necessary, so, just prayed those. Then, knew that the ‘taraviya’ prayers are optional, so mostly didn’t . On top of it, I had just completed the Holy Quran during the first week of Ramzan, and had given sadqa or charity, so the urgency of that too was missing. Previously, I’d be hurriedly praying the long prayers, trying to say all of them, now I read with great ease and lack of guilt. I’ve realized, our religion is so easily ‘do-able’, and our ‘scholars’ have made it so difficult that people start running away from it altogether.
Like the syllabus of a school. I’ve seen during my twenty five years in this field, every conference, ended up adding more to the already heavy syllabi. Same was the case for teacher’s and administrators’ duties. Instead of focusing on the important materials for teachers, too much focus was done on unnecessary and topics and duties.
Do I have to say more?
I often wondered how the early Muslims achieved so much, where-as the latter ones’ didn’t achieve that much in the fields of science, astrology, mathematics and physiology to name a few. I guess, so many rituals were added to the ‘religion’ that it became almost impossible to achieve either the religion or the other jobs of living.
Still, I cannot get over the magical element in this month. When a person like me who always sits sipping water at all times, goes without water for so many hours. I don’t feel thirsty. It is a miracle. Then other miracles also happened.
Magic, my Labrador got a heat stroke. Also, he got his intestines twisted because he is too boisterous. He got admitted in Pet Vets clinic of Dr. Faisal. There were times when we thought we had lost him. (Yes, I said special prayers for his life.) My daughter would spend hours with him there, and I’d visit too. He would welcome me with a wag of his tail. He even had a major surgery. Thank God, within ten days the doctors had him out of the clinic. God bless them.
This heat has caused another thing too, the lowering of the water level in Islamabad. The water pumps have stopped working and we need water tankers for the house requirements. The new motor I’d got about three months ago is no longer functional due to the water level and is stuck in mud about hundred and forty feet below. Only some parts of Islamabad are affected, including mine. In the beginning, my neighbors would fill up my water tank through hose pipes, till theirs dried up also. We all have to get water tankers now. So, I’d be up till all odd hours getting the tanker over… last time it came at 1.30 a.m. as too many people were in line for it. Lots of prayers are needed and rainfall too.
Today, a gift arrived for me from my very dear friend, who is nothing short of a Fairy for me. Yes, my birthday is coming. My friends truly spoil me too. God bless them. All these friends (too) are blessings of my God.
During Ramzan, many evenings I’d be sending trays full of goodies to my neighbors and friends in my area. Many days goodies arrived at my doorstep right at the time of Iftari. Love the thrill of it. Usually, I avoid inviting people for Iftar parties, as I feel it is not fair to the domestic help.
However, I enjoyed inviting an American re-converted Aisha Mustafa, her neice Misbah and Khalida Babri my friend. Anything we would talk about, Aisha would know more about! She said, the word is not ‘converted’ it is ‘re-converted’, as all humans are basically born Muslims. True. -People of the books, and the children of Adam and all that, you know. Yes, we had sat across from each other on that PANA meeting, and we both wanted to meet up again. So, Aisha took the initiative, and came over with Misbah and Khalida, so sweet of her. We had such a lovely time.
Next, I had to invite over my aunt Chachi Jan Shahnaz, cousin Hasan, Amina and their lovely daughters Mariam and Mishal- family of my uncle Jafar whom we all are missing so much. Then of course the usual sessions with Haroon, Uzma and Daniyal our family members and close friends.
I’ve been asked to teach art to the children attending Summer School at Sarah’s Day Care.
Today was the second class, and I was thrilled to see the work of the 27 children.
I’m also introducing Pakistani artists along with international ones to them.
So, on my birthday, I thought I’ll do something special. I’ll gather the courage to go and give Iftari to cancer patients in the Nori Hosptial in Islamabad. I took along Waliya with me to go and find out how many patients there will be. I felt we would celebrate our birthday with them. But it seems it was not to be. The admin officer told me that a gentleman named Saifullah has already booked all Iftaris for entire Ramzan! On Eid, there are no patients, as they usually go home. The others are shifted to PIMS, and the hospital is thoroughly cleaned and fumigated during the three-day holidays. I felt so happy and so proud of my countrymen.
To top it all, the cricket match took place on the 22nd of Ramzan, what a match it was! Even I watched it. I’m not much of a cricket fan, but this one had to be watched. The greater joy was to see all Pakistanis being happy at the same time.
Sharing my birthday with the best birthday gift of my life: my daughter Waliya, is something to look forward to.
Life is beautiful. God has been more than kind to me. All I can do is to humbly thank Him who has blessed us all so much. He is truly the Magnificent and the most Beneficent.
Stay blessed, I just pray for a life which is useful to others, to the last breath.