By Myra Ahmed
This week, we decided to change things up. Instead of focusing on the different elements that go into a typical Ramadan day, we're taking our readers on a journey through a typical day of a Pakistani Muslim during the Holy Month. Let's begin!
At around 3:30am each morning, fasting Muslims wake up and prepare for what is essentially their breakfast. The sweet smell of chai envelopes the entire house as people assemble in the dining room. The meal is followed by the Fajr prayer, after which many people spend time supplicating or reading the Qur'an before heading back to bed.
And it's daytime! Between these two hours, people will wake up and begin to go about their daily work. Whether that be office work, school work or work around the house - most people tend to make productive use of this time!
"When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained." - Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
At around midday, people flock to mosques for the Zuhr prayer. This is the second prayer of the day, after which people spend some time relaxing or taking a break from any work. Outside of Ramadan, this is lunchtime for most. The bright, shining sun makes Zuhr time extremely vibrant and energetic.
As the sun begins to set, people begin heading to the kitchen, preparing for the Iftar feast. Pakoras are set into basin, chopping for Chaats is completed and Rooh Afzah is whisked! As people complete the Asr prayer and prep for Iftar, the real Ramadan aura is formed. The warm feel of the setting sun, the hustle of family and the smell of cooking is what makes Ramadan so special.
FOOD! Everyone gathers around the table as dates are passed around. After making Du'a, everyone breaks their fast with a date before heading for Namaz. At Iftar, everyone is energised and the bustle is one of a kind. Many people often give their workers or those less fortunate homemade Iftar. We will be discussing the role of generosity and how closely linked this is with Pakistan in our next article!
"He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting persons reward." - Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
A must-have after Iftar is the traditional Chai. Warm, sweet and creamy, chai is an absolute necessity for any Pakistani. Around an hour after Iftar, the Isha Azaan echoes through cities. After having sipped their chai, people head to Masjids and get ready for prayer. Tarawih is a prayer that some Muslims perform after Isha which consists of 8 or 10 rakats. It is slightly longer to the normal prayer and unique to the Holy Month of Ramadan.
"If people knew the reward of the Isha and Fajr prayer, they would come (to the mosques) even if they had to crawl" - Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
We hope this article gave you an in-depth and realistic representation of what a typical Ramadan day consists of. Family, prayer and gratitude are the main aspects of the Holy Month that make it so, so special. In the final article of our Ramadan series next week, we will be discussing how Pakistan's concept of generosity and philanthropy links to the Month of Giving and its beauty.