Sultana's Dream

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Sultana's Dream
September 2011


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Ramadan Rivalry

Mum tried to instill the values and practice of fasting in us as early as possible. Being just one and a half years apart, my brother and I were good companions (mostly) and siblings rivals (more often) and were very competitive when it came to what we learnt at school or the madrassah. On one occasion, when I was about five, Mum woke my brother up for the suhr (the pre dawn meal eaten before fasting begins) and left me sleeping; she did not think I was ready to fast as yet. 

The first thing I woke up to the next morning, were my brother's taunts of how he had woken up in the middle of the night and had eaten the early breakfast and was scoring fasting points! He went on about how he would be rewarded in the ‘hereafter’ and (much more significant for me), presently - in the evening with his favourite snacks and gifts, and I would not! That was unbearable and resulted in a huge tantrum on my part. I remember lying on the floor for a good hour or so moaning loudly 'why didn't you wake me up?'. Fed up, Mum decided to appease me with two miniature Cadbury chocolates - a rare treat in those days! Bless her, she had also instilled in us the value of sharing. Whatever we were given, we were meant to share with each other. So deeply embedded was this habit that without thinking, I gave one of the chocolates to my brother; he instinctively tore the wrapper open and put the chocolate into his mouth! Suddenly I realized what had happened! He was no longer fasting and now it was my turn to get back - he wasn't going to get a reward, certainly, not that evening!

Shamim Samani