By Sara Salim and Imaani Aslam
Jameela: As’salaam alaikum Sis. How you doin’?
Aliyah: Alright Jameela, where you at?
Jameela: Er… I’m good Alhamdulillah. What you been up to?
Aliyah: Not much, not much. Listen yeah, Ramadan’s starting soon innit?!
Jameela: Yep Sis, I can’t wait!!
Aliyah: Great!!! Not long now then. Iky says he wants to cool it during Ramadan. He says his Dad’s gonna be watching him like a hawk and he can’t risk gettin’ caught. Plus he says I’m gonna distract him, but I told him straight, look it ain’t my fault I’m so fit.
Jameela: I just love the whole atmosphere in Ramadan, I’ve been really looking forward to it.
Aliyah: Well I ain’t fat, so I’m not bovvered.
Jameela: Hey I’m not fat either!! I’m still bothered though, coz Ramadan isn’t about losing weight.
Aliyah: Well it should be for some. You seen that fatty Faiza lately? She could do with fasting all year round if you ask me. The girls dress sense just makes her look even more like a hippo. If I ain’t careful, Mum’s munch at Iftar time is gonna make me look like her too! My Iky won’t want me then!
Jameela: True love has got nothing to do with someone’s dress size, but anyway, Iftar is actually the time when Allah (swt) accepts more prayers but most of us are too busy stuffing our faces to make the most of that. Iftar isn’t about making up for all you’ve missed during the day, it’s about eating in moderation and appreciating all the blessings Allah (swt) has given us. If you pig out in the evenings, that just defeats the purpose of fasting.
Aliyah: AND it makes you go up a dress size too.
Jameela: Yep being greedy does have that affect. But Ramadan isn’t about losing or gaining weight it’s about improving our relationship with Allah (swt). Fasting increases our God consciousness (Taqwa) because keeping away from food, drink and other wrong behaviour is a sign of our submission to Allah (swt). We are aware Allah (swt) is watching us so we try to control our desires and not commit sin which helps us to become closer to Allah (swt).
Aliyah: Well I don’t know ‘bout all that, but fasting does make me think about all them poor people starvin’ in Africa. Anyway, I make sure I eat a share for them too. My stomach’s proper rumbling by Iftar time, but my Mum still does my head in to go give food round the block minutes before it’s time to open the fast! There’s no way I can handle Mum’s grub in the middle of the night so I be well starvin’ during the day.
Jameela: Sis you can eat whatever you like at Sehri time. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said,
"Partake of Sehri before dawn because in this Sehri there is Barakah (blessing)."
So it is Sunnah to eat something at Sehri time even if it’s only a little bit. Eating Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) distinguishes the fasts we Muslims keep from the fasts that are a part of other religions and Suhoor also acts as a Niyaah (intention) to keep a fast, something which should be made for every fast in Ramadan.
Aliyah: Listen I do my bit you know, just ask my Mum. She even forces me to wake up when I CAN’T fast, so my bro’s don’t ask no dumb questions. You gotta admit, that is HARDCORE. Don’t know why the thick boys don’t just use their brain.
Jameela: Well Sis, that’s really respectful and modest of you. There’s no reason for everyone to know about your private business.
Aliyah: Yeah well I ain’t bovvered coz they learn about it in school anyway. Nah, I ain’t looking forward to Ramadan – my Mum’s proper dredd, she hides my ipod and turns off Sky for a month! My house is bare dead! Don’t know how I’m gonna live without B4U for a whole month!
Jameela: Nah Sis, you’ll be fine. It’s much easier to do good in Ramadan and give up bad habits coz it’s the month that the devils are all locked up so there is less temptation to commit sin. Fasting isn’t just about not eating and drinking, but stuff like back chatting, gossiping, arguing and swearing also invalidate the fast. The Prophet (pbuh) said,
"If a person does not avoid false talk and false conduct during the fast, Allah (swt) does not care if he abstains from his food and drink."
Aliyah: You serious? That’s well dredd! Ok, I might just survive without my tunes, but I dunno how I’m gonna live without my baby. Iky’s told me that he won’t be able to chat to me or text me through the night during Ramadan, coz he’ll be shattered after Tarawih. I’m gonna miss my baby - there’s no way I’m gonna be able to go to sleep without my Iky wishin’ me good night.
Jameela: Sis why don’t you come read Tarawih with me and the girls this year? It’ll help take your mind of him too.
Aliyah: No offence, but chillin’ with you and your ninja mates down at the mosque ain’t really my scene.
Jameela: Well you don’t have to come to the mosque if you don’t want to - us girls get just as much reward praying at home.
Aliyah: Actually, on second thoughts, maybe going to the mosque will take my mind off Iky - I’ve heard bare fit guys go to Tarawih! Maybe if I hang around the Mosque one of them will ask for my number. That’ll teach Iky for neglecting me! That’s a wicked plan. I’ll just tell Mum I’m going to read Tarawih every night with you, she’ll get bare happy! And who knows, maybe you’ll find the mad mullah of your dreams too!!
Jameela: Erm, no Sis, that’s not what I meant. And acting desperate isn’t really my style. I meant you could come to Tarawih with me in the LADIES section and actually read the Tarawih prayer.
Aliyah: Me? Read Tarawih?! You must be joking! Tarawih is bare missions! It always gets really hot and stuffy with all those fat aunties who just pong the place out. I ain’t joking, they just sit there burping the Iftar they pigged out on. And reading Tarawih takes FOREVER!! Plus, that’s the time Eastenders is on!
Jameela: Sis, sure some people find Tarawih tough, but that is nothing compared to the great reward we get from reading it. Ramadan is the month that Allah (swt) accepts any of our prayers, fulfils any of our desires and forgives any of our sins. All we have to do is be sincere in our worship to Him (swt). And Sis, Eastenders is on nearly every day! Ramadan only comes once a year.
Aliyah: You know you’re beginning to sound like my Gran now, but alright, I’ll try readin’ some this year.
Jameela: And Sis you will have heard of Lailatul Qadr…
Aliyah: Laila who? Nah, don’t think I know her. Is she gonna be at the mosque as well?
Jameela: Lailatul Qadr Sis. The Night Of Power. It is one of the nights in the last ten days of Ramadan.
Aliyah: Hey I know what you’re talking about, that’s when you’re supposed to stay up all night praying and stuff innit?
Jameela: Yeah Sis, Lailatul Qadr is the night when all our sins and mistakes can be erased. Just imagine that: Allah (swt) forgiving all the wrong we’ve done in our life and giving us the chance to start afresh.
Aliyah: Gotta say that sounds pretty cool… but what’s the catch?
Jameela: There isn’t one Aliyah. Anyone who looks out for this night and spends it reading the Quran, remembering Allah (swt), making dua for themselves and others, and asking for forgiveness, then their sins will be erased. In the Quran it tells us that worship during this night is equivalent to a thousand months of worship! That’s over 80 years of worship!!
Aliyah: What, just in one night?!
Jameela: Yep, just in one night. That’s why it’s called The Night Of Power. It is this night that the Angels write down all that has been predestined for the coming year - who will die, who will be born etc. It is also during this night that Jibrail (a.s) and the other Angels descend on earth.
Aliyah: You’re joking right?! That sounds well freaky!
Jameela: And for anyone spending their time remembering Allah (swt), the Angels will ask Allah (swt) for their forgiveness.
Aliyah: That’s propa cool innit. That means I can do what I want all year round, but when Ramadan comes. I just ask for forgiveness and my slate is wiped clean!
Jameela: Erm…no. It doesn’t quite work like that.
Aliyah: But why not?
Jameela: Because Allah (swt) knows what’s in all of our hearts and our true intentions. We need to sincerely repent to Allah (swt) and then try our best to not go back to doing all the wrong things.
Aliyah: You should tell that to that hypocrite Haleema from down the road. All year round that girl dresses like a five-dollar ‘ho, and suddenly when Ramadan comes the girl pulls out her Hijaab and acts all holy moly. Mum’s always biggin her up, if only she knew what a tart that girl really is!
Jameela: Sis it’s not our place to pass judgement on others. None of us have that right - only Allah (swt) does. We should all just concentrate on improving ourselves. That’s what Ramadan is all about – to be better Muslims at the end of it. Even the Holy Prophet (pbuh) did more worship in Ramadan than any other time of the year.
Aliyah: Yeah, but she’s such a fake. Everyone knows that.
Jameela: No, none of us do. Even when a Muslim thinks about doing the right thing Allah (swt) rewards that person for that intention, regardless of whether they carry it through or not. So who are we to talk about other people and judge them? We should all take a good look at ourselves and rectify our characters because on The Day Of Judgement we will all stand alone before Allah (swt), and have to answer for our own deeds and not those of others.
Aliyah: Yeah I suppose we all gotta have fun some time. I know I am on Eid day. Green Street was having a sale so I’ve already got my outfit, so ain’t got much to sort out now, just gotta get matching heels, jewellery, make-up and a handbag, that’s all. I’m gonna look well fit, my Iky won’t know what’s hit him! He’s hired a beamer so we’re just gonna go cruisin’ all day. Haleema’s gonna be SO jealous of me, that tart has always had her eye on my man. Yeah right, like Iky would ever check her, she looks like the dog’s dinner compared to me!
Jameela: Sis, you’re seriously not going to blow a whole months worth of worship in one day are you? Eid’s the day when the good deeds collected throughout Ramadan ascend to the heavens.
Aliyah: What you sayin’?!! That I can’t even chill out on Eid?! You really expect me to spend the day all decked up, stuck at home, serving food and washing dishes all day? I don’t fink so. Gosh you’re real sad if that’s your idea of fun. What’s the point of getting all dressed up if there’s no one to appreciate it?
Jameela: Sis, nowhere does it say that you can’t have fun on Eid day. Yeah it’s all good wearing new clothes and that, but Eid’s about displaying a few other things too, such as thanks to Allah (swt) for all His blessings, kindness towards family, friends, relatives and neighbours, and showing compassion and empathy for the poor or those worse off than us. Eid signifies the end of Ramadan, but it shouldn’t signify the end of our good deeds. It’s after the fasting is over that the real challenge begins, coz that’s when the devils are unshackled. Eid shouldn’t be boring, you can have loads of fun, just as long as it’s Halal.
Aliyah: I suppose, and I bet Dad will propa flip if I’m out all day. Hey, every bit is gonna count on that Judgement Day innit Jameela?
Jameela: Yeah every good deed will help us on that day. Ramadan is the month when the gates to Paradise are opened and the gates to Hell are closed. Fasting weakens our desires and temptations to do wrong, so it’s a great time to change for the better.
Aliyah: I guess I won’t miss too much on Eastenders… it’s been a bit dead lately anyway.
Jameela: So you’re thinking about coming to read Tarawih this Ramadan?
Aliyah: Yeah I’ll give it a go. But I’m telling you, if I even get one whiff of those aunties’ smelly feet or bad breath I’m outta there!