By Muneezah Jawad
Growing up in the Middle East, when times were different, Ramadan to me was the revered month. All the restaurants shut down during the day and people were not allowed to eat outsides till Iftar time and then it was a gastronomic delight for all.
It was a time when neighbours sent over trays laden with yummy treats and when I saw my parents make tremendous efforts to go for Taraweeh, read the Qu’ran and in general became extra devout. Then there were the Eid preparations, but if I travel down that memory lane, I could fill up a little book easily so I’ll just stick to Ramadan.
Children in Canada I feel have a totally different experience and it’s up to us as parents and also as a community to make sure that they appreciate and understand the importance of this blessed month. You can read more about this in my article Ramadan for Children in Canada.
So I thought the best thing to do it to ask children of all ages and walks of life ‘What does Ramadan mean to you?’
Here are the very sweet, unedited responses:
1. ‘I can’t wait to have that red drink you always make Mama! And I am going to fast like you every day!’
Mariam Age 4
2. ‘This year I am going to fast every day and you can’t stop me. I love it when we all have iftar together and you make us those potato chips and spring rolls’
Azam Age 11
3. ‘Ramadan is when the gates of hell are closed and when our Holy Quran was sent to us. People try to give as much charity and do as many good deeds as they can. We go for Taraweeh and lots of iftaars too. In the last 10 nights we also sometimes spend the night at the mosque praying special prayers.
Imaan Age 13
4. ‘It means you cannot wear shorts and you have to wake up early for fasting and prayers at suhoor. You cannot eat the whole day, if you are thirsty in school you can’t eat or drink. You eat at the end of the day at Iftar time’
Daliyah Age 9
5. ‘Ramadan means being thankful to Allah for all his blessings. We fast in Ramadan to show Him our thankfulness’
Haiqa Age 9
6. ‘Ramadan is when people fast. People are poor so we have to be like them, to be like equal’
Afrah Age 9
7.‘Ramadan means we don’t eat and when Adhan goes off then we eat ‘
Ibrahim Age 5
8.‘We fast and pray because it’s nice. We can pray in the masjid and we can’t eat. We go to Eid parties and we can play for a long time in the house.
Rahmeen Age 6
9.‘Ramadan means to fast and remember what Allah has blessed us with that others don’t have. We read more Quran, pray and go to Taraveh. We give charity and try not to do or say bad things.
AbdulNafea Age 14
10. ‘We must complete Quran at least once. We must fast, pray and go for Taraveh’
Noufel Age 11
11. ‘We fast, pray salat, read the Quran and make sure we talk to others properly.’
Rahman Age 8
12.‘Ramadan is when we get lots of samosas, fruit chaat and meet with family at iftar time. I love going to going the masjid for iftar and taraweh so she I can make new friends.’
Aaliya Age 4
13.‘Ramadan means fun for me. It’s fun because you get to fast. I get to stay up all night and eat Sehri in the morning and then sleep late. Ramadan is also exciting because I buy toys for my baby brother and cousins and the poor people. I also help my mom in Ramadan to give treats to our neighbors and friends’
Ruqayyah Age 7
14.‘Ramadan is when you don’t eat food to learn how poor people live. We keep fast, do suhoor, have iftar feast. We should be thankful to Allah for all He has given to us because he gave us good parents and we should behave well towards others, obey our parents. We should pray and try not to miss any prayers.’
Nabiha Age 6
Judging by the responses, it’s easy to see that Ramadan is not lost to our children. Infact we deserve a round of applause for instilling in them wonderful virtues. There is always room for improvement. I think that while the food, family and prayers are apparent perhaps what is missing is the history of Ramadan. What actually happened and why. It’s in the details. Tell them why we eat dates, and the significance of the last 10 nights. Ask your child what Ramadan means to them. It would be interesting and cute to hear! Don’t forget to let us know what they said.
About the Author
Muneezah Jawad is the Social Media Manager at MuslimMoms.ca