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Saturday 6 December 2008

Aid mo barak said

Today I decided to do Ramadan. In the days leading up to the Aid (this is the Arabic way of spelling it – the western way is Eid – the sacrifice of a sheep to Allah as Abraham did), it’s nice to fast to get marks with Allah. I’m not sure who will be waiting for me when I reach the pearly gates, but I’d like to think I have all bases covered. So, in these 10 days, each day represents a significant event. For example, one is the day that Jesus was born, one is the day that Mohammed was made a prophet, and one way the day that Jonah was swallowed by the whale.

So, despite it being couscous day, I decided to join Latifa and some of the girls in this experience. I dragged myself out of bed at 5.15am to head to the kitchen for breakfast before Ramadan began. Yesterday, Latifa slept through the call to prayer, and thus did not eat anything all day. So, as I crept into the kitchen, I found the whole house was quiet. Do I eat, just in case they sleep through the call? As I debated making tea, walking backwards and forwards between the oven and the sink, you can only imagine my horror as the call to prayer started. I must admit that it did cross my mind to scamper to the fridge, pull out the first edible item I could find and wolf it down in a style more suited to Gollum…

No, I thought, I’ll wait it out and do it properly. Sure enough, Latifa and the girls emerged shortly after and assured me that this was the first call, and I had until the second call to eat. OK, so with breakfast out of the way, I headed back to bed. Of course, I tossed and turned contemplating why I was fasting, and before I knew it the alarm went off. I trundled downstairs to make the breakfast – at this point, with my belly still full, I was doing alright.

Things were looking a little grimmer as I prepared the couscous for the girls. The smell of the vegetables and the couscous started to get to me. I also agonised when I decided to treat the girls to fruit smoothies for dessert, rather than the usual fruit salad. How would I know if it tasted right? It did smell sensational, but I was sure I would have to test it out. This sparked a pretty big philosophical debate between Latifa and I. Why are we doing this?

After the meal was set down on the table, I dawdled off to my room, determined to have a little sleep to ward off any hunger. Now I know why it was hard to get decent service during Ramadan! When I woke up, it wasn’t the hunger that was getting to me, but the thirst. So, I headed down to Latifa to enquire as to why Allah might not want us to even ingest a little bit of water.

With three hours to go until the break-fast, I took a little walk up the mountain. By this stage, my throat was really dry, and I thought I would have to break the deal. BUT… images kept flooding into my mind of Fatima telling Latifa it would be too difficult for me.

No, I was determined.

So, I’ll spend a bit of time on the Internet to take my mind of it all. Oh, my friend Trisha had sent me mouth watering photos of her wedding cake – with white chocolate flowers – that was sitting in the fridge at this moment in Australia, waiting for the big day. Torture!

But, I got stuck into a little project, and when I looked at the clock, I had one minute to go until the call to prayer was to ring out. Usually I put my head under the pillow when it disturbs my sleep – not today! I raced out into the garden, rejoiced, then ran straight to the kitchen to EAT!!! (And drink – four different drinks!!)

So, I made it.

Will I do it again?

Tomorrow, if I fast, Allah will forgive everything I did wrong last year and everything I will do wrong this year… Pretty tempting… I’ll let you know!

I’m off to celebrate the Aid (you need to say it at full volume AAhh-EEE-d) with Latifa’s family – a very special time, but a lot of blood will be shed. Am I prepared for this?

Aid mo barak said (AAhh-EEE-d more bar-ark Saahh-EEE-d). Happy Eid!