Ramadan Kareem!

Ramadan started last night, and the way people present their wishes, Ramadan Kareem, means generous Ramadan. The way I experienced this time of the year in Palestine, I would compare it to Christmas time in our part of the world. The streets in Al-Quds were all decorated with lights and colourful coffee stalls had sprouted everywhere. After Iftar, the fast breaking, people would gather with friends and family to spend a good time together. The ambiance was generally cheerful and festive.

Shebab dancing Dabke


Shebab at As-Sawyia secondary school dancing the traditional Palestinian Dabke. (As-Sawyia, April 2014, image credit: C. Neves)


Ramadan Kareem! Generous Ramadan. I remember nine year old Karama in Yanoun, who would explain that she did Ramadan fasting since the age of six. I remember Mohammed in Askar refugee camp in Nablus, who would tell us laughing that his eleven year old sister did it for the first time and would spend the entire day sleeping. I remember this peaceful and refreshing ambiance at Haram Ash-Shareef, where people would gather in small groups in this beautiful garden around the Golden Dome and Al-Aqsa mosque, praying, discussing the Q'ran. We were these two very obviously non-Muslim women walking around in the shade. This was no issue at all, nobody would say a word about us being there. I remember all the families we went to visit, who would offer us tea and cheese. We would refuse, it's Ramadan. And they would insist, but you are not Muslims, you don't need to fast. I remember people who would invite us for Iftar, and set up a huge and delicious meal, starting with these sweet sweet Mejdool dates.

Makluba


Who would reject an invitation for delicious Palestinian Makluba? (At-Tawayel, May 2014)


Ramadan Kareem! To you who are not fasting as you are traveling. Fleeing from war, persecution, violence. May you find a safe place, without bombs, permanent fear of being shot death or arrested, just because your way of practising Islam is not the same as interpretation of the ones in power.

Ramadan Kareem! To you who arrived in a place you hoped would allow you to build a future. May you feel welcome and experience generosity.

Palestinian hospitality


Palestinian hospitality: Whatever door you knock at, you will always be welcome for at least a cup of sweet tea. (At-Tawayel, June 2014, image credit: I. Evje)

Ramadan Kareem! To you who live under occupation or an extremist regime. May you finally be free to live in peace and respect.

Ramadan Kareem! To you who think the only right way to be a good Muslim is yours. May you understand that humanity without diversity does not work. May you learn tolerance and generosity, including towards those who think differently, be they Muslims or not.

Ramadan Kareem! To you who fast while keeping up doing hard physical work. May you find strength to hold on.

Palestinian hospitality


The streets beautifully decorated for Ramadan. (Jerusalem, July 2014)

Ramadan Kareem! To whoever dare pretend Muslims are all extremists, intolerant towards people of different beliefs or disrespectful towards women. May you learn that Muslim people are as good people as anybody else. May you experience the hospitality I experienced as a white, non-Muslim, non-covered woman.

Ramadan Kareem! To all of you who do not distinguish people according to their religion, but according to their actions.

Ramadan Kareem! To all of you who welcomed me with open arms and amazing generosity. And thank you!

Ramadan Kareem!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.