By Reem Sharaf

With the sound of prayer filling the air and smell of freshly cooked meals, family and friends start taking their seats at the dinner table. Ramadan is the month of spirituality, communal love, and support. In the month of Ramadan, Muslims all around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is not just about abstaining from food and drink, but abstaining from all things that take people away from humbleness and goodness. In the Quran, God says “O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint” (2:183). To learn more about how Arab Americans celebrate Ramadan in America, we interviewed three families of different origin.

Egypt

Mrs. Wafaa Mohamed is an Egyptian American wife, mom, and retired physician. Upon arriving to the United States 30 years ago she began establishing roots for herself and her family. Although they say time heals, Mrs. Wafaa misses her life back in Egypt more in the Months of Ramadan than any other month. 

“Ramadan is the happiest month of the year. It brings people together and brings the best in everything. It brings people closer to God and closer to each other.” It is at these times that she reminisces about growing up surrounded by many people celebrating Ramadan in Egypt. The lights that fill the streets, the classic dishes, the family gatherings, and close knit feel of a whole country celebrating the same holiday.

To create a celebratory feel during the month of Ramadan, Mrs. Wafaa and her family decorate their home with traditional touches of musical lanterns and lights, cook traditional meals, and bake syrupy sweets. “In Ramadan we do special recipes like Molokhayah (green stew made with Jews mellow leaves), stuffed Grape leaves, and Roqaq (meat stuffed pastry pie).  Also, special drinks like Qamardeen (apricot juice) and milk with crushed Dates. Soups are a big thing in Ramadan; either, for Iftar (dinner) or in Suhoor (breakfast). For suhoor, (breakfast) we have yogurt, dates, pastries and Fava Beans.” Although the dishes sound complex, Mrs. Wafaa narrates memories of her childhood standing by her grandmother and learning to fold mini triangular pockets of pastry. It is as if she inherited these dishes and traditions, passed on from generation to generation.   

When asked what the purpose of Ramadan is and how others should spread its message she replies, “to be generous and share some plates of food with neighbors and friends. It brings a nice spirit and makes them ask and learn more about the goodness of Ramadan”.        

Jordan

Mr. Sameer Qorom, of Gaithersburg, Maryland is a Jordanian American from Ar-Ramtha, Jordan, on the border of Syria. A father of three boys, he moved to Maryland from Jordan in the 2000s. Although the move was a risk for him, leaving behind a life of stability. The move was made easier to handle with the loving support of his sister, who has been a resident of the United States for over 30 years.

“Ramadan is a month of many blessing. Ramadan is family time. In Jordan, families gather together to break their fast and afterwards everyone goes to the mosque to pray. The mosques are beautifully packed”.         

When asked to compare Ramadan in Jordan to Ramadan in the United States, Mr. Samer says, “unlike all the other months, in America, people start coming to the mosques more in the month of Ramadan. People of different Arab backgrounds. God distinguished Ramadan, by bringing down the Quran this month. It is first rahma (mercy), then maghfera (forgiveness), and then protection from hellfire.  Everyone who knows God, should practice it diligently. The God of Ramadan is the same God of every other month. But out of his mercy, God made us feel the sufferings of others by having us fast”. 

His fondest memories of Ramadan are from his days of bachelorhood. His mom would prepare for him and his two brothers their favorite meals and dishes. Listening to him talk, it is obvious his mom was a lady of strength and kindness. These days, mansaf, the classic meat and rice dish of Jordan, is made on the special nights of Ramadan. For suhoor, breakfast before sunrise, Mr. Sameer prefers having yogurt, cheeses, and bread with small dishes. His boys on the other hand tend to reach for the cereals and pancakes. 

As we drew to the end of our conversation, he told me, “I will tell you the secret to success. Always keep your mom content with you and maintain good relations with her”.    

Libya

Mrs. Layla Baryoun, from Tarablous, Libya is a mom to three girls. To her, “Ramadan is the month of patience. Fasting is obligatory but it makes you feel how those who are hungry feel. Out of his mercy, God makes us fast for a couple hours but there are people who starve for multiple days without food. This makes you feel how other people feel”.

Although in Libya, the focus during Ramadan is on eating and having social gatherings, Mrs. Layla believes it should be the month of increased spirituality. In her opinion, it’s difficult for people to have that same level of festivity here in the United States because people are in school and work all day. Her recommendation is to try and make the day special by making the classic celebratory dishes of Ramadan. “In Libya, Kushaf, a dried fruit and raisin drink is a must have during Ramadan. We have this drink both Iftar (breaking of the fast) and suhoor (breakfast). Another must have is soup. I make a traditional red broth soup with orzo and meat. My girls call it the ‘Ramadan soup’. It is a necessity every night. Although people get bored of it by the end of Ramadan, we still have it because it is a staple and goes well with finger foods, instead of eating heavy foods.

Mrs. Layla remembers fondly how her father used to eat white rice and mahalabeya, milk pudding for breakfast every day. When I asked her what her favorite moment of Ramadan is, she quickly answers “the breaking of the fast”. The moment when she is surrounded by her family and everyone is ready to break their fast, an environment of love and happiness is created. With every unique spice and dish described by Mrs. Layla, the aroma of Ramadan comes through.

Listening to these Ramadan stories, I am transferred through time, space, and tradition. I am engulfed in the arms of family, my stomach temporarily empty, but my heart very full. In the United States or in the Middle East, Ramadan without a doubt is the month of spiritual high and communal love. It is the month where discipline is established and self-restraint is learned.

  ‬بقلم‭ ‬ريم‭ ‬شرف

يبدأ‭ ‬أعضاء‭ ‬العائلة‭ ‬والأصدقاء‭ ‬في‭ ‬الجلوس‭ ‬على‭ ‬مقاعدهم‭ ‬حول‭ ‬طاولة‭ ‬الإفطار‭ ‬مع‭ ‬أصوات‭ ‬الصلوات‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تملأ‭ ‬الأجواء،‭ ‬ورائحة‭ ‬الوجبات‭ ‬الشهيّة‭ ‬الطازجة،‭. ‬رمضان‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬الروحانيات،‭ ‬والحب‭ ‬والعطاء‭ ‬للجميع‭. ‬يصوم‭ ‬المسلمون‭ ‬في‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬في‭ ‬شتى‭ ‬بقاع‭ ‬الأرض‭ ‬من‭ ‬شروق‭ ‬الشمس‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬غروبها‭. ‬لا‭ ‬يدور‭ ‬الصيام‭ ‬فقط‭ ‬حول‭ ‬الامتناع‭ ‬عن‭ ‬الأكل‭ ‬والشرب،‭ ‬بل‭ ‬يدور‭ ‬حول‭ ‬الامتناع‭ ‬عن‭ ‬جميع‭ ‬الأشياء‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تبعد‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬عن‭ ‬التواضع‭ ‬وفعل‭ ‬الخير‭. ‬في‭ ‬القرآن‭ ‬يقول‭ ‬الله‭ ‬تعالي‭ :‬‮»‬يَاأَيُّهَاالَّذِينَ‭ ‬آمَنُواكُتِبَ‭ ‬عَلَيْكُمُ‭ ‬الصِّيَامُ‭ ‬كَمَاكُتِبَ‭ ‬عَلَى‭ ‬الَّذِينَ‭ ‬مِن‭ ‬قَبْلِكُم‭ ‬ْلَعَلَّكُمْ‭ ‬تَتَّقُونَ‮»‬‭(‬183:2‭) ‬ولكي‭ ‬نعرف‭ ‬المزيد‭ ‬حول‭ ‬كيفية‭ ‬احتفال‭ ‬الأمريكين‭ ‬العرب‭ ‬بشهر‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬في‭ ‬أمريكا؛‭ ‬قمنا‭ ‬بمقابلة‭ ‬ثلاث‭ ‬عائلات‭ ‬من‭ ‬أصولٍ‭ ‬مُختلفة‭. ‬

مصر

السيدة‭ ‬وفاء‭ ‬مُحمد،‭ ‬زوجة‭ ‬مصريّة‭ ‬أمريكية،‭ ‬أم،‭ ‬وطبيب‭ ‬مُتقاعد‭. ‬بمجرد‭ ‬وصولها‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬أمريكا‭ ‬منذ‭ ‬30‭ ‬عامًا‭ ‬بدأت‭ ‬في‭ ‬تأسيس‭ ‬جذورٍ‭ ‬لها‭ ‬ولعائلتها‭. ‬وعلى‭ ‬الرغم‭ ‬من‭ ‬أنّهم‭ ‬يقولون‭ ‬أن‭ ‬‮«‬الوقت‭ ‬يشفى‮»‬‭ ‬إلا‭ ‬أنّ‭ ‬السيدة‭ ‬وفاء‭ ‬ما‭ ‬تزال‭ ‬تشتاق‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬مصر‭ ‬في‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬أكثر‭ ‬من‭ ‬أي‭ ‬وقت‭ ‬أخر‭.‬

‮«‬رمضان‭ ‬هو‭ ‬أسعد‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬في‭ ‬السنة‭. ‬إنّه‭ ‬يجمع‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬سويًة،‭ ‬ويأتي‭ ‬بالأفضل‭ ‬من‭ ‬كل‭ ‬شيء‭. ‬إنّه‭ ‬يجعل‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬قريبين‭ ‬من‭ ‬ربهم،‭ ‬وقريبين‭ ‬من‭ ‬بعضهم‭ ‬البعض‭.‬‮»‬‭  ‬إنّها‭ ‬تلك‭ ‬الأوقات‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تتذكر‭ ‬فيه‭ ‬كيف‭ ‬نشأت‭ ‬مُحاطةَ‭ ‬بالعديد‭ ‬من‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬الذين‭ ‬يحتفلون‭ ‬برمضان‭ ‬في‭ ‬مصر‭. ‬الأضواء‭ ‬التي‭ ‬كانت‭ ‬تملأ‭ ‬الشوارع،‭ ‬الأطباق‭ ‬التقليديّة،‭ ‬التجمعات‭ ‬العائليّة،‭ ‬والشعور‭ ‬بالوحدة‭ ‬والتكامل‭ ‬حين‭ ‬تحتفل‭ ‬الدولة‭ ‬بأكملها‭ ‬بالعيد‭.‬

ولكي‭ ‬يخلقوا‭ ‬أجواءًا‭ ‬احتفاليةَ‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬رمضان،‭ ‬تقوم‭ ‬السيدة‭ ‬وفاء‭ ‬وعائلتها‭ ‬بتزيين‭ ‬البيت‭ ‬باللمسات‭ ‬التقليديّة‭ ‬من‭ ‬الفوانيس‭ ‬المُوسيقيّة‭ ‬والأضواء،‭ ‬طهي‭ ‬الوجبات‭ ‬التقليديّة،‭ ‬وخبز‭ ‬الحلويات‭ ‬الرمضانيّة‭. ‬‮«‬نقوم‭ ‬بطهي‭ ‬أكلاتٍ‭ ‬مُحددة‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬،‭ ‬مثل‭ ‬الملوخية‭ (‬حساء‭ ‬أخضر‭ ‬مصنوع‭ ‬من‭ ‬أوراق‭ ‬نبات‭ ‬المُلوخيىة‭)‬،‭ ‬ومحشي‭ ‬ورق‭ ‬العنب،‭ ‬والرقاق‭ (‬فطائر‭ ‬محشوة‭ ‬باللحم‭). ‬وأيضًا‭ ‬مشروبات‭ ‬خاصة‭ ‬مثل‭: ‬قمر‭ ‬الدين‭ (‬عصير‭ ‬المشمش‭)‬،‭ ‬واللبن‭ ‬بقطع‭ ‬التمر‭. ‬الحساء‭ ‬أمرٌ‭ ‬مهم‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان،‭ ‬سواء‭ ‬كان‭ ‬في‭ ‬الإفطار‭ ‬أو‭ ‬في‭ ‬السحور‭. ‬بالنسبة‭ ‬للسحور،‭ ‬نحن‭ ‬نتناول‭ ‬الزبادي‭ ‬والتمر‭ ‬والمخبوزات‭ ‬وفول‭ ‬الصويا‭.‬‮»‬‭ ‬وعلى‭ ‬الرغم‭ ‬من‭ ‬أن‭ ‬الأطباق‭ ‬تبدو‭ ‬مُعقدةً‭ ‬إلا‭ ‬السيدة‭ ‬وفاء‭ ‬تروى‭ ‬ذكريات‭ ‬طفولتها‭ ‬حيث‭ ‬كانت‭ ‬تقف‭ ‬بجوار‭ ‬جدتها‭ ‬وتتعلم‭ ‬كيفية‭ ‬عمل‭ ‬قطع‭ ‬المخبوزات‭ ‬المكونّة‭ ‬على‭ ‬شكل‭ ‬مثلثات‭. ‬كما‭ ‬لو‭ ‬أنّها‭ ‬قد‭ ‬ورثت‭ ‬تلك‭ ‬الأطباق‭ ‬والعادات،‭ ‬فإنّها‭ ‬تمر‭ ‬من‭ ‬جيل‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬جيل‭.‬

عندما‭ ‬سألناها‭ ‬عن‭ ‬الهدف‭ ‬من‭ ‬رمضان،‭ ‬وكيف‭ ‬يجب‭ ‬على‭ ‬الأخرين‭ ‬نشر‭ ‬تلك‭ ‬الرسالة،‭ ‬أجابت‭ ‬‮«‬أن‭ ‬تكون‭ ‬كريمًا،‭ ‬وأن‭ ‬تشارك‭ ‬بعض‭ ‬الأطباق‭ ‬مع‭ ‬الجيران‭ ‬والأصدقاء‭. ‬إنّه‭ ‬يجلب‭ ‬روحًا‭ ‬طيبةً،‭ ‬ويجعلهم‭ ‬يسألون‭ ‬ويعرفون‭ ‬المزيد‭ ‬عن‭ ‬عظمة‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬رمضان‮»‬‭.‬

الأردن

السيد‭ ‬سمير‭ ‬كُرم،‭ ‬من‭ ‬غيتسبيرج،‭ ‬ميرلاند،‭ ‬هو‭ ‬أردنيّ‭ ‬أمريكيّ‭ ‬من‭  ‬الرمثا،‭ ‬الأدرن‭ ‬على‭ ‬حدود‭ ‬سوريا‭. ‬والدٌ‭ ‬لثلاثة‭ ‬أولاد،‭ ‬انتقل‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬المريلاند‭ ‬من‭ ‬الأردن‭ ‬في‭ ‬عام‭ ‬2000‭ , ‬على‭ ‬الرغم‭ ‬من‭ ‬ان‭ ‬انتقاله‭ ‬كان‭ ‬مُخاطرةً‭ ‬بالنسبة‭ ‬له،‭ ‬تاركًا‭ ‬وراءه‭ ‬حياة‭ ‬مُستقرة،‭ ‬إلا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬ما‭ ‬جعل‭ ‬الامر‭ ‬سهلًا‭ ‬هو‭ ‬دعم‭ ‬اخته‭ ‬المُحبةـ‭ ‬والتي‭ ‬تعيش‭ ‬في‭ ‬أمريكا‭ ‬لأكثر‭ ‬من‭ ‬30‭ ‬عامًا‭.‬ويقول‭:‬

‮«‬رمضان‭ ‬هو‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬النعم‭ ‬الكثيرة‭. ‬رمضان‭ ‬هو‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬العائلة‭. ‬في‭ ‬الأردن،‭ ‬تجتمع‭ ‬العائلات‭ ‬سويًا‭ ‬لكي‭ ‬يتناولوا‭ ‬الإفطار،‭ ‬وبعد‭ ‬ذلك‭ ‬يذهب‭ ‬الجميع‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬المسجد‭ ‬للصلاة‭. ‬وتكون‭ ‬المساجد‭ ‬مُهيئةَ‭ ‬ومُزيّنة‮»‬

عندما‭ ‬طلبنا‭ ‬منه‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يُقارن‭ ‬بين‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬في‭ ‬الأردن‭ ‬ورمضان‭ ‬في‭ ‬الولايات‭ ‬المُتحدة،‭ ‬قال‭ ‬سمير‭: ‬‮«‬‭ ‬على‭ ‬عكس‭ ‬جميع‭ ‬الأشهر‭ ‬الأخرى،‭ ‬يبدأ‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬في‭ ‬أمريكا‭ ‬بالتوافد‭ ‬على‭ ‬المساجد‭ ‬أكثر‭ ‬في‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬رمضان‭. ‬أشخاص‭ ‬من‭ ‬مُختلف‭ ‬الثقافات‭ ‬العربيّة‭. ‬لقد‭ ‬ميّز‭ ‬الله‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬بإنزال‭ ‬القرآن‭ ‬الكريم‭ ‬في‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬الشهر‭. ‬أوله‭ ‬رحمة،‭ ‬وسطه‭ ‬مغفرة،‭ ‬وآخره‭ ‬عتقٌ‭ ‬من‭ ‬النار‭. ‬يجب‭ ‬على‭ ‬كل‭ ‬من‭ ‬يعرف‭ ‬الله،‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يتعبد‭ ‬فيه‭ ‬بجد‭. ‬فرب‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬هو‭ ‬رب‭ ‬باقي‭ ‬الأشهر‭. ‬ولكن‭ ‬من‭ ‬رحمة‭ ‬الله،‭ ‬فإنّه‭ ‬يجعلنا‭ ‬نجرب‭ ‬الشعور‭ ‬بالجوع‭ ‬وبآلام‭ ‬الأخرين‭ ‬من‭ ‬خلال‭ ‬الصيام‮»‬‭.‬

أحب‭ ‬ذكريات‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬إليه‭ ‬كانت‭ ‬أيام‭ ‬الدراسة‭. ‬فكانت‭ ‬أمّه‭ ‬تُعد‭ ‬له‭ ‬ولإخوته‭ ‬وجباتهم‭ ‬المُفضلة‭. ‬وحين‭ ‬تستمع‭ ‬إليه‭ ‬وهو‭ ‬يتحدث،‭ ‬تُدرك‭ ‬أنّ‭ ‬أمه‭ ‬كانت‭ ‬امرأةً‭ ‬قويةً‭ ‬وطيبةً‭. ‬هذه‭ ‬الأيام،‭ ‬المَنسف،‭ ‬الطبق‭ ‬التقليديّ‭ ‬من‭ ‬الأرز‭ ‬واللحم،‭ ‬يُصنع‭ ‬فقط‭ ‬من‭ ‬أجل‭ ‬رمضان‭. ‬أما‭ ‬بالنسبة‭ ‬للسحور،‭ ‬الأكل‭ ‬قبل‭ ‬شروق‭ ‬الشمس،‭ ‬يُفضل‭ ‬سمير‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يتناول‭ ‬الزبادي‭ ‬والجبن‭ ‬والخبز‭ ‬بوجبةٍ‭ ‬صغيرة‭. ‬أولاده‭ ‬على‭ ‬الجانب‭ ‬الأخر‭ ‬يفضلون‭ ‬تناول‭ ‬القمحيات‭ ‬والكعك‭.‬

وحين‭ ‬وصلنا‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬نهاية‭ ‬مُحادثتنا،‭ ‬أخبرني‭ ‬‮«‬‭ ‬سوف‭ ‬أخبرك‭ ‬سر‭ ‬النجاح‭. ‬دائمًا‭ ‬اجعل‭ ‬والدتك‭ ‬في‭ ‬ذهنك،‭ ‬وحافظ‭ ‬على‭ ‬علاقةٍ‭ ‬طيبةٍ‭ ‬معها‮»‬‭.‬

ليبيا

السيدة‭ ‬ليلى‭ ‬باريون‭ ‬من‭ ‬طرابلس،‭ ‬ليبيا،‭ ‬أمُ‭ ‬لثلاث‭ ‬بنات‭. ‬بالنسبة‭ ‬لها‭ : ‬رمضان‭ ‬هو‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬الصبر‭. ‬الصيام‭ ‬فرضٌ‭ ‬ولكنّه‭ ‬يجعلك‭ ‬تشعر‭ ‬بهؤلاء‭ ‬الذين‭ ‬يُعانون‭ ‬من‭ ‬الجوع‭. ‬ومن‭ ‬رحمة‭ ‬الله،‭ ‬أنّه‭ ‬جعلنا‭ ‬نصوم‭ ‬عدة‭ ‬ساعات‭ ‬فقط،‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬هناك‭ ‬من‭ ‬يتضورون‭ ‬جوعًا‭ ‬لأيام‭ ‬وأيام‭ ‬بدون‭ ‬طعام‭. ‬فالله‭ ‬يجعلك‭ ‬تشعر‭ ‬بما‭ ‬يشعر‭ ‬به‭ ‬الأخرين‮»‬‭.‬

على‭ ‬الرغم‭ ‬منّ‭ ‬أنّ‭ ‬التركيز‭ ‬في‭ ‬ليبيا‭ ‬قائم‭ ‬على‭ ‬الطعام‭ ‬وعلى‭ ‬إقامة‭ ‬علاقات‭ ‬اجتماعية،‭ ‬فإنّ‭ ‬ليلي‭ ‬تُؤكد‭ ‬أنّه‭ ‬يجب‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يكون‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬الشهر‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬الروحانيات‭ ‬المُتسامية‭. ‬في‭ ‬رأيها،‭ ‬أنّه‭ ‬من‭ ‬الصعب‭ ‬على‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يُحافظوا‭ ‬على‭ ‬نفس‭ ‬درجة‭ ‬الاحتفالية‭ ‬في‭ ‬الولايات‭ ‬المُتحدة،‭ ‬لأن‭ ‬معظم‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬يكونوا‭ ‬في‭ ‬المدارس‭ ‬والعمل‭ ‬طوال‭ ‬اليوم‭. ‬تقترح‭ ‬أن‭ ‬نحاول‭ ‬جعل‭ ‬اليوم‭ ‬مُميزًا‭ ‬بإعداد‭ ‬الأطباق‭ ‬التقليديّة‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان‭. ‬‮«‬في‭ ‬ليبيا،‭ ‬الخشاف‭ ‬والفاكهة‭ ‬المُجففة‭ ‬ومشروب‭ ‬الزبييب،‭ ‬يجب‭ ‬تناوله‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬رمضان‭. ‬يجب‭ ‬تناوله‭ ‬أثناء‭ ‬الإفطار‭ ‬أو‭ ‬السحور‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬أقوم‭ ‬بإعداد‭ ‬حساء‭ ‬أحمر‭ ‬تقليديّ‭ ‬مع‭ ‬الأرز‭ ‬واللحم‭. ‬تُطلق‭ ‬عليه‭ ‬بناتي‭ ‬‮«‬حساء‭ ‬رمضان‮»‬‭. ‬إنّه‭ ‬أمر‭ ‬ضروريّ‭ ‬لكل‭ ‬ليلة‭. ‬على‭ ‬الرغم‭ ‬من‭ ‬أنّ‭ ‬الناس‭ ‬يشعرون‭ ‬بالملل‭ ‬منه‭ ‬بحلول‭ ‬نهاية‭ ‬رمضان،‭ ‬فإنّنا‭ ‬نحافظ‭ ‬عليه،‭ ‬لإنّه‭ ‬طعام‭ ‬مُتزن‭ ‬ومُستقر‭ ‬ويُعتبر‭ ‬بديلًا‭ ‬جيدًا‭ ‬لتناول‭ ‬الأطعمة‭ ‬الثقيلة‭.‬

السيدة‭ ‬ليلى‭ ‬تتذكر‭ ‬بحبٍ‭ ‬عميق‭ ‬أن‭ ‬والدها‭ ‬اعتاد‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يتناول‭ ‬الأرز‭ ‬والمهلبيّة‭ ‬والحليب‭ ‬للإفطار‭ ‬كل‭ ‬يوم‭. ‬وعندما‭ ‬سألتها‭ ‬ما‭ ‬هى‭ ‬لحظتها‭ ‬المُفضلة‭ ‬في‭ ‬رمضان،‭ ‬أجابت‭ ‬بسرعة‭ ‬‮«‬الإفطار‮»‬‭. ‬اللحظة‭ ‬التي‭ ‬تكون‭ ‬فيها‭ ‬مُحاطةً‭ ‬بعائلتها‭ ‬وبالجميع،‭ ‬وهم‭ ‬جميعًا‭ ‬يستعدون‭ ‬للإفطار،‭ ‬مناخٌ‭ ‬من‭ ‬الحب‭ ‬والسعادة‭. ‬مع‭ ‬كل‭ ‬وصفةٍ‭ ‬تقولها‭ ‬ليلي‭ ‬تقترب‭ ‬رائحة‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬أكثر‭ ‬فأكثر‭.‬

باستماعي‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬تلك‭ ‬القصص‭ ‬الرمضانيّة،‭ ‬كنت‭ ‬كأنّي‭ ‬أسافر‭ ‬عبر‭ ‬الزمن،‭ ‬الفضاء،‭ ‬والعادات‭. ‬أنا‭ ‬مغمورٌ‭ ‬في‭ ‬أذرع‭ ‬العائلة،‭ ‬معدتي‭ ‬فارغةٌ‭ ‬بشكل‭ ‬مُؤقت،‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬قلبي‭ ‬مُمتليء‭. ‬في‭ ‬الولايات‭ ‬المُتحدة،‭ ‬أو‭ ‬في‭ ‬الشرق‭ ‬الأوسط،‭ ‬رمضان‭ ‬بلا‭ ‬شك‭ ‬هو‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬الروحانيات‭ ‬العالية‭ ‬والحب‭ ‬الغامر‭. ‬إنّه‭ ‬شهر‭ ‬تعلّم‭ ‬الانضباط‭ ‬والتحكم‭ ‬في‭ ‬النفس‭.‬