With approximately 1.9 billion Muslims around the world, it’s no surprise that Ramadhan is an experience that is celebrated differently in each part of the globe. In our special Ramadhan Around the World series, we share the Ramadhan experiences of Muslims worldwide and hear how the blessed month is celebrated in their countries.
Ustazah Nazeerah Shaik Alwie is a Singaporean who is currently living in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, accompanying her husband who is working there. She will be spending her Ramadhan there this year.
Ramadhan here is like Ramadhan everywhere. Wherever you are, I believe the Ramadhan vibes will always be there, however faint it is. In Madinah, starting from the night of 15th Sya'ban, we have already started wishing and making dua for one another, i.e. when we meet at the lift, supermarket, and take taxis. Then we have full-on Ramadhan decorations everywhere, malls, hotels, lobbies, houses.
My day in Ramadhan starts earlier because of sahur. Preparing food for the family, then afterwards we will do our Fajr jemaah in our Compound Musholla. School and work starts later than usual, nothing before 10am and it finishes earlier as well, say 2pm latest for school.
My mornings would be focused on carrying out household chores and prepping for Iftar. Yes, i start my kitchen early, because I don’t like to spend 15 mins before iftar stressing in the kitchen frying curry puffs!
Kids will come home by 2pm, we will wash up, finish the homework and take a short nap.
I alternate between Iftar at Nabawi and home. So on days we iftar at Nabawi, we will leave home by 5pm due to the traffic and crowd. While waiting, we distribute tamar, sweets, etc. We also share stories, reflections, and focus on dua. We have our Iftar, then perform Maghrib, Isya’ and Taraweeh, and lastly, we leave for home.
Usually for Sahur, we have oats and cereals. While for Iftar, we have tamar, juice and fruits.
We have heavy food in between Maghrib and Isya’. In Madinah, Isya’ starts at 9pm. So till then, we will eat dinner. Depending on my menu, I try to alternate the cuisines between Middle Eastern, Indian, and Malay.
The mosques here are like any mosque around the world. They ensure the best is experienced by the congregation. But we are talking about Nabawi which can easily accommodate hundreds of thousands of jemaah. Cleaners are everywhere all the time and are cleaning the areas frequently. Volunteers are ever ready to render assistance to whoever might need it. Everybody is excited to share whatever they bring from home. Children are the happiest, because they usually bring home a bag full of sweets!
I miss my family the most. I have my small little family of 5 here, but it would be nice to have my parents and siblings around.