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Najwa Kareem Aug 2017
Ramadan 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia                      

The first day and the second

What a blessing!!!

Brothers and Sisters in the Old Town speaking the words Salamu Alaikum

Sisters wearing veils with colors like in the bright rainbow appearing before me and my two new friends from Bosnia in a sky above a bussling bazaar, there a smaller group of humans watching and a larger group of tourists capturing a rare moment in Sarajevo on photo

Many brothers wearing kufis and many brothers with trendy hair styles paired with Western outfits gathering in the courtyard of Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque, the largest in Bosnia and sixteen centuries old. Tourists from Africa, America, Europe, and other landscapes and many locals exchanging words and gestures in a month better than a thousand

Families spending time together at the Grand Mosque and at smaller mosques and in other places surrounded by picturesque hills and green plush trees

A father, a mother, their toddler son...he practicing walking on a masjid's cobblestone, and their young daughter...she smiling at her father as he walks by. Each family member physically at a distance from each other. Each family member at a cell's distance in communion with each other.

In the mid afternoon on a Ramadan's day, a sister from Munich and I having met for the first time at Bey Mosque ride together in a taxi up a steep hill to see a guest house she knows

A smell of lingering cigarette smoke permeating the air within the house so thick beckons me to leave politely and quickly. Unaware of the smell's degree, the owner learns of its' offensiveness as I disclose my sensitivity to & the dislike of the smell of cigarette smoke, both acutely heightened while fasting

Careful steps back down the steep hill to the city center, me avoiding stumbling on a large rock or being runover by a speeding automobile, interestingly instead I stumble upon a beautiful grave yard of uniquely shaped white gravestones and a charming mosque with a high minaret

At the bottom of the hill sits a crafts and artistry shop, one of many in Sarajevo's Old Town. Upon entering and a brief conversation with the owner, a piece of generosity is handed to me, a square shape piece of wood with Ayat tul Kursi in hand calligraphy

During the late afternoon hours, a time for reading Quran by many at mosques in the city. Sisters and brothers sitting on carpeted floors, some with backs supported by mosque walls, some with bodies sitting in chairs, fasters occupied with the most perfected Divine Scripture

A brief leisurely stroll with my two new friends Dzenita and her sister Amina through part of the Bazaar, they sharing opinions of their favorite restaurants, best eating experiences, and other things

In the early evening, a time to buy food to prepare for the Iftar meal. Showing me how it's done in Sarajevo, Dzenita and Amina invite me to join them on an excursion up a hill to buy Somun, a Bosnian flatbread topped with black seeds from the city's famous bread maker. Standing in a line longer than Georgetown Cupcake, Dzenita surprises me with a gift of Somun for myself

Two dates, one cube of Bosnian delight, and one cup of water to break our fast with at the Bey Mosque. A canon bomb sounds off to announce the time for Magrib prayer and Iftar, customary in Sarajevo during Ramadan

Startled and alerted by the bomb's depth and volume, I stand up to join the congregation for communion with God, The God Most Gracious, Most High

Out of nowhere I'm invited to Iftar at a shop nearby the Grand Mosque, about 8 of us guests being served by the warm owner, she offering a meal for Iftar at her shop every night during Ramadan, a big-hearted tradition of hers

Cevapi, Cevapi, Cevapi...I'll say it once more, Cevapi -- sold in Bosnian restaurants, cafes, bazaars, and made in many homes, eaten happily by many fasters at Iftar. Served with freshly chopped onions, some served with a soft white cheese, some with a red peppery sauce, many served with Somun, all ways tried by me and tasting as scrumptious as my first experience with Cevapi in Germany, then falling in love with it

Cold winds at night from the surrounding mountains, a refreshing air yet taking my breath and power away from the chill of it, completely disappearing with my start of Isha prayer with other Muslims and the declaration "Allah hu Akbar"

9 Muftis with impeccable Tajweed each taking turns to recite the words of our Grand Lord before sunrise, me weeping from God's messages, the reality of His greatness, my servitude to Him, and a recognition of sounds similar to that of my Mumin Father's, those familiar to me since birth

Three dear sisters, university students from Turkey and I journey together on foot after Fajr from the Old Mosque to a street train, along the way stopping by a community center, our destination - their home an hour or so away to rest, the four of us coming to know each other and each others' thoughts with every step. Contempleting my desire to spend more time in the city over sleep, the three sisters showing great generosity and I embrace and exchange Salams at a stop near the main station, the three walking with me to an open place before continuing on

In the land of a marriage between the East and the West and where newspaper is used to clean a cafe window, on the list of to-dos -- shopping for gifts for family and for souvenirs, window shopping done along the way, asking myself Shall I buy a Dzezva, a hand-made Bosnian coffee set, or a vintage wood Sarajevo box, or a woven wallet, or Bosnian sweets.

In a bazaar walkway, Maher Zain's song "Ramadan" playing loudly. At another moment, lyrics about a month of devotion and sacrifice from Sami Yusuf echoeing. Shop owners in Old Town with dispositions of calm and quiet grace greeting me and others cordially and respectfully. Shopping a few hours more until near sunset for post cards with a real version of the Grand Mosque, finding only less than satisfactory versions. Time running out for shopping, another reason now to return to Bosnia, God-Willing

Magrib prayer a second night at the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque. Observing the crowd, a striking occurrence taking place, a teenage boy walking a small length behind a man on to the mosque carpet. There the boy approaches an older man giving him a respectful hand shake. After prayer, a native of Sarajevo shares with me in wholesome conversation, "You are known in the town not by what you have. You are known by how well you behave."

Another invitation, this time for a cup of a tea at a cafe. Overflowing with people mostly young adults, men and women sitting at tightly packed small tables inside and a few outside, conversations merging into each other with a loud volume flowing throughout, Shisha being smoked by some, cigarettes by some, smoke in the air and the temperature inside melting away heavy make-up on sisters' faces. "This is Ramadan in Sarajevo." Madia says. "One aspect of it." says I. Not having a good feeling right away when walking in and not wanting to stay, the two of us leave quickly.

My two new friends Dzenita and Amina aka angels of hospitality and kindness reciprocating my gift to them of Milka chocolate give me a gift before departing the next day. "Tespih!!" A burnt red and yellow colored set with sparkingly gold thinly cut wrapping paper looking stripes purchased at the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque gift shop. Not knowing then I collect Tesbih, their gift is now my most favorite of my Tesbih collection

Husbands and wives, men and women both young and old, well-groomed and well-dressed, some holding hands as they stroll through narrow pathways in the Old Town on a Ramadan's night. Families talking and eating at restaurants, friends in groups sharing laughs, so much to see, so much to experience. At a cafe where baked goods, ice cream, and other sweets are sold, a lady sitting with a group of others initiates speaking to me, stopping me in my tracks. Bidding me farewell, she extends me a gracious compliment

Ramadan 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia to Remember

The first day and the second

What a blessing!!!

by Najwa Kareem
Shofi Ahmed Apr 2022
The evening star
at the sunset of Ramadan.
Mistake it not for a stellar
maybe an embroidery fell down
from the broidery in paradise!
What crosses in your mind, dear
fondly you look back
at this nick of time?

The twilight ambles down
with moonflowers on the hands
is about to wrap up
one more blessed day of Ramadan.
What have you come up with then
for the fasting person on your hand?
What a broad array
you stole the last show of the day!

Singing nightingales keeps musing
deeps down the rose in low light.
The first light shines out
amidst the dawn chorus.
What does it miss out
the nightingales disappears
in broad daylight.

Have you too leave the scene
with the rose dews
only to pour it off the honeyed petals
into the fasting person's glass?    
So cool it tastes a sip of water
at the Iftar!
Sharina Saad Jul 2013
The true spirit of Ramadhan

Its not about thirst and hunger
Its not about starvation
from the hours of dawn till the hours of dusk
Its not about food paradise at Ramadan bazaar
and lavish preparation for Iftar...
The real purpose of fasting
is to attain righteousness
to behave righteously...
To See no evil
To Hear no evil
To Speak no evil
To Empty your stomach
so you'll feed your soul
reciting the holy book Al-Qur'an
for blessings..
The merciful will double the reward
more than your heart desires
fast for the sake of attaining to God
the true nature of fasting
Ramadhan ...observe it in its true spirit

~ Sharina~
Em Glass Nov 2016
In a row, three
generations of prayer. Your
forehead greets the floor

the way chipmunks touch
noses, but Nanu gets a chair.

Imagine how scared the stars
must have been the first
night they couldn’t see her.

Silk whispers messages
from the rug to your hands,
from Nanu’s feet and mother’s head

to your hands, and the crickets call
to you to say—

we know Nanu has made her
vows and we sing
and we sing with you.

They understand about the chair,
do not want to see
her flicker and fall

is coming with its fallen leaves
so you and two mothers
sway. There is mango
and honeydew on three plates and

dates to break the fast
shadow crossing the moon,
the tides forecast.
Shofi Ahmed Mar 31
Lo, another Ramadan dawn breaks,
millions more feelings of solemnity fill the air.
The time to bid farewell is upon us,
a moment both heavy and sacred.

O blissful Ramadan, brimming with purity and reflection,
when hearts and homes open wide, embracing all.

Prepare to leave, adorned with the beauty of Allah’s bounty:
Your movement like déjà vu moonlight,
your grace as delicate as the finest Muslin.
Let every rose from the garden encircle you,
a garland of farewell.

In the golden hour of dusk,
when Iftar and Suhur beautifully intertwine,
the sweetness of the evening fills the air, nourishing souls.

With a nectar of kindness, bid adieu to every friend of nature
their essence lingers in memory,
sweet as the moments spent in devotion and joy.

'Alvida' - a farewell not of forever
but of waiting until we meet again.
Draw the last stroke of parting on the canvas of the sky,
leaving a promise beneath the rainbow.

Parting with the crescent moon, hearts overflow with hope
O Ramadan, until we welcome you again,
let the essence of your purity and peace remain with us.

Farewell, O holy month
Your parting leaves behind a trail of light,
guiding us until your return.
Ken Pepiton Jun 2019
A resting place, beyond the madding crowd,
find rest
com fort ify
your quiet place, safe, say, make it so,
hear jets high above,
no contrails, no clouds, high pressure
clear skies,
no war on the horizon;
what if we imagined this,
today, while it is called today,
were a day when no lie was left
posing true, on earth, as in this
quiet place.

No word holding thoughts once common
is left idle,
meaning forms
a place where a prehender
can see how the handle makes the tool.
In formation, each imagined useful idea in need
of believers to let it be,
in a word.
Is this useful for good?
Whole ideas can be null-ift, with a no.
You know, if the whole idea is a lie
locked in a meaningless whatphor.

Nature, and Nature's god, for instance,
escapes the test. Try it. Imagine now,
2019, your quiet place,
am I a being being? For no reason?

Is reason my word now, as may is mine,
in your quiet place.

Prove me now, and see if
words, de sidare (old idea, from the stars)
wishin' and hopin' and prayin'

grant or give or take away that which
desire, see sire, desire is a word that waits
in quiet places, for you, all ya'll,
to cognize and claim,

consider the connection made. Click.

That peace past understanding,
ever learning, line upon line,
precept after precept

in your quiet place
word of truth
unseen things, substantiates
situations worth the waiting patient per
fection of all concerning
say the compilers of the good news who selected

that which works from that which shant,
should we agree to
go and see, if so and so saying, make it so,

makes it so. Amen is never a question,

you know. Amen is an agreement when so and so
says do as I tell you  to do,

and you obey. Eh? A link in an old chain?
Obediance is better than sacred making (art-ficing sacred, in effect).

Quiet. This time-less gap be twixt touch and feel and hope and see.
Here, we hear wisdom.
She, please agree, is gentle, never rude, but sharp, easy
to be entreated,

a poke in the old pineal gland, pay attention,
slightest ***** of a pin danced upon by angels
who fasted for
chains to be broken,
oppressed be set free,
strangers to be welcome here, iftar, after the fast
the future
now, here, where war is null ift, let us be
a net of quiet places
where messages
from where heaven is

connect to reality,
woof and warp, Ley
lines in time to this day, threads through
the maze to now, as natural as breathing.

(look around, there are no fates with scissors poised,
the titled reader's
pride acts a ***** and shame threatens blame,
but hell. whatcha got to lose?)

Be, still, being. Wonder what you are.
Pushing my envelope a bit, expanding my bubble. The idea in iftat, the meal after the fast when strangers are nvited into peace. I like this explanation of the Ramadan fast,
The best way I can explain Ramadan is this: to act as if we are standing in front of God 24 hours a day. How would you act? You are trying to perfect your relationship and your practice in a real, practical way. It's a googled quote. SO, 1.6 billion earthlings should agree, if evil is defeated in each of us, we could love our enemies.

— The End —