Garowe, May 31, 2019
Ramadan fasting for this year is done. Tomorrow is a holiday and celebrations for the faithful. On the one hand, it was a blessing from Almighty to show-case his divine powers that all are created equal before Him. Kings, queens, Heads of State and Government, the wealthy and the well off have to go hungry as the ordinary and the poor do in the month of Ramadan. No favor or privilege exists equally for anybody. No dictator or powerful has the ability to issue orders to compel billions of people around the world to fast from food and drinks for a whole day every day for thirty days. It is the divine powers of the True King of the Universe that has those unmatched and enormous powers. That is why He is the supernatural whether you deny Him or wise up to his miracles in owe of His ways and wonders.
On the other hand, it was taugh for everybody to suffer hunger and deprivation for an entire month. Life almost ceases to exist in Muslim countries in the month of Ramadan. Food businesses are shut down and closed to everyone during the daylight, regardless of whether one is sick, too old, too young or travelimg, to fast during the daytime, irrespective of the allowance and exemptions made to them by Allah. This looks like unnecessary burden created by administrations in the name of Ramadan. Muslim religion differs from others in the fact that there is no middle holy man or priest to stand between the faithful and God, unlike the practice of Catholic church.
On personal experience, two stories about Ramadan still stick out in my memory. I was a little boy accompanying my late father (RIP), when a colleague of his invited us one evening to break fastening with him at his home in the city of Galkayo, Puntland State, Somalia. Muslims usually start breaking fasting with fruit dates first. Our host had had only a few pieces of dates available on the dinner table. He also made the conversation savour by re-telling one man’s story, who, once upon a time, was not satisfied with a small amount of dates he was offered to break fasting. The story went on to the extent that the unsatisfied man with the small quantity of dates eaten had the fruits expanding abnormally in his stomach at night, and eventually died of it. My father didn’t appreciate our host’s story and asked him “Why didn’t you ask us to bring along with us more dates?”
Another memorable story on Ramadan in 1996 is about me being invited to the household of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Nahyan of UAE, the former minister of Internal Affairs and his two sons, one being the UAE minister of higher education and science, the other the Director of Abu Dhabi Aviation Department, to break fasting with them, together with a colleague of mine, who introduced me to them, for about a week.
In attendance with us, besides the Sheikhs, were different high ranking figures of mostly from Muslim and Arab countries, including ambassadors, businessmen and officials of the Emirates. We started breaking fasting at big dinner table of about fifteen meters long and a few meters wide, stuffed with all sorts of food imaginable, obviously imported from all over the world as this couldn’t be available as UAE produce only.
Here is what you may find interesting. We sat at table, broke fasting, continued eating our dinner until late in the evening, stood up to move to a bigger sitting hall to be served with a chain of coffee drinks by bare-footed Arab looking servants. The large sitting room with easy chairs and comfortable cushions was blown and circulated with aromatic air coming from candle-like devices being continuously shaken by these servants. They looked like Christian priests doing their stuff in churches.
By this time, it was around 10 PM and nobody among us had prayed neither Magrib nor Ishaa prayers. It is always the religious rule to pray the Maqrib prayer shortly after breaking fasting. In this case, nobody dared to pray as the protocols didn’t allow to do so in the Sheikhs’ Royal Courts.
The Italian saying of “He, who commands, makes the rules” is quite applicable in the Sheikh’s household.