“Ramadan, Here and There”
Growing up in the minaret dotted landscape of a Gulf Country as well as in the ADAMS Center community in Sterling, Virginia has helped me appreciate different types of masjid communities, especially during Ramadan.
The thing I look forward to the most in Ramadan is going to the taraweeh prayers. I like it because it makes Ramadan special each day when you can go to the masjid and pray together with your family and friends. I have a lot of family in Sterling and we go to the masjid together and then come back to my grandmas’ house for a snack. I also like when my cousins lead the prayer. I usually spend my Ramadan in Sterling, but this year I will be in the Gulf. The last time I spent Ramadan in the Gulf was with my grandma five years ago. I was only six-years-old then, but I remember that she and I would go for taraweeh and I would come back with treats in my pockets from the ladies that came who loved to give treats to all the children. That made going to taraweeh special! Now that I am eleven, I am curious to know how it will be this year.
My favorite part of Ramadan in the ADAMS community is all the activities and the people. The people come from all over the world and I like this because you get to see what different cultures are like. Even though we are different, we are all Muslim, which makes it neat. As a Muslim girl, I love that the ADAMS Center gives me a safe place to pray, play and learn. They make Ramadan special by having daily iftars, suhoor and youth activities. I like that I can help out and be an active part of the community.
The sisters section in ADAMS Center has an upstairs and a downstairs. They have carpeting on each floor. Upstairs, ADAMS provides Qurans and sofas. If any elders or mothers with strollers come to the masjid and there is no space downstairs, they have an elevator to go upstairs to the sisters’ section. They also have a room on the lowest level for moms that have little kids.
In the Gulf there are many masjids, giving people different options and making it easy to catch any prayer. I like that because in the Gulf I get to hear the adhan for every prayer. While most of the neighborhood masjids have khutbahs in Arabic, there are a couple of masjids that have English khutbahs for the expat community. The masjid that I usually go to for Jummah prayer has a sister section that gets filled up really quickly. They also provide carpeting, Qurans and chairs for the elders. A few things that they could improve is if they had an elevator for elders and moms with strollers because they only have stairs. They could also provide a separate room for mothers and little kids.
The local masjids, which are what the neighborhood masjids are called, have much smaller sisters’ sections because not a lot of women usually go there. In the local masjids, people come to only pray. You don’t really feel a sense of community. But at least you can pray in congregation, and maybe still get treats in your pockets?
I am grateful to Allah (SWT) or giving me two places I can call home and for allowing me to experience Ramadan in two different countries.