Photo compliments SAJPICS
Photo compliments SAJPICS
Sometime yesterday I read a comment on one of sheenmeem’s posts on Perfume, that unexpected gifts are much more appreciated than expected gifts (think birthdays, anniversaries). I don’t necessarily agree but I know that unexpected gifts received in Ramadan make me very grateful to our Lord.
Yesterday, BD whatsapped (is that a recognised verb as yet?) that Brother S was passing by to drop off haleem for her from his mum, Sister Zulie. The excitement conveyed in her whatsapp message was evident. What is haleem?
Haleem is a stew composed of meat, lentils and pounded wheat made into a thick paste. It is originally an Arabic dish and was introduced to the Hyderabad State by the Chaush people during the rule of the Nizams (the former rulers of Hyderabad State).
When I got home from work in time to take BD to work, the haleem was there and dished for BD to take with her as her iftar. Off, NoS and I went to drop her off, returning immediately after BH & Youngest returned from Youngest’s football practice (while fasting – insert omg emoji here). Sped up the front steps, hurrying NoS to unlock the door to allow me to pray Asr, and there on a chair on the patio is a blue plastic bag with a food container – BH insisting it was the haleem, we trying futilely to explain that Brother S had been and delivered. We pick up the package and take it into the kitchen. Its contents reveal hot gohst. What is gohst? Wikipedia says:
Gosht refers to tender meat, cooked for a long time, and used as an ingredient in a number of Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. Several South Asian languages have adopted the Persian word gosht گوشت (also spelled ghosht), meaning “meat” or “flesh”, especially that of goat
The number of persons who could have dropped off the gohst (never for a moment did we think it was not meant for our home) were limited, but …………….. nobody had whatsapped us, think, think, think………….. Post iftar and in that post iftar moments of rest between iftar and leaving for isha & taraweeh salaah, BH reads his phone and the gifter is revealed!
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting persons reward.” [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh].
May Allah swt reward the gifters, the gifts, and the recipients this Ramadan.
On Monday 28 November 2016, Barbados attempted for the second time to have a human chain link around the 166 square mile island. The first attempt was made in 1979 and BH participated then. This time around, he was a marshal (and we think he was Chief Marshal). And the product of his loins (being BakerDaughter (I may have to change that appellation again), NoS, and Youngest) and his spouse and their mother (being me!) also participated.
Although participation sometimes needs to be defined. The intent was to line the street along a particular kilometre (assigned to schools, so while NoS went off to the GAIA strip, BD, Youngest and his raging fever, and I went off to Station 88 – pay close attention to the golden number on the roadway). Then at a particular time, you link hands, sing the national anthem, say the pledge of allegiance, and sing ‘Let’s Join Hands to Show We Love Barbados’, while miniature broken tridents (the insignia on the national flag) was passed along. Well, while there was lots and lots of ebbing and flowing for us to spread along the kilometre, our Station (according to BD’s rant to ‘What Drives Me Crazy’ the following morning) did not get any closure (other than a burqa tan:)). Times were not stuck to, and the new timings were not effectively communicated to the bystanders who had been standing in the sun for over 2 hours. The singing of the anthem passed us by. I and 6 other women sang the anthem lustily by ourselves. Arggh. But that is feedback for the next attempt.
The other golden symbol in the photo was Barbados’ official 50th anniversary of independence logo.
As Muslims, we do not live in isolation, our community includes our neighbours, our parishes, our country.
BD – no time for baking this Eid (see further posts for reason), but we give thanks for good friends who do find the time to bake and make sweetmeats. This Eid is sometimes known as the meat Eid for obvious reasons. JazakAllah khair to Sister S:
I know, it’s too long a hiatus between posts. Sigh.
New school year has brought new commitments as BD, NoS, and Youngest each move into a year in which each faces significant examinations before entry into the next phase of their lives.
So this Eid, while we all made it to the Eid gaah at Wanderers, it was a close thing with respect to our physical attendance at the udhiya aspect of Eid ul Adha. BD’s schedule changed from a packed Monday to a low key Monday, Youngest attends the muslim primary school so he had one week off, but NoS chose to go to school – first day of school in a new form. We were merrily on our way home when the telephone call comes – an excited call – “How far away are you? They’re about to kill your bull.” Egads! How does one respond, and more importantly, evade, all of the traffic that you’re stuck in, traffic borne out of the numbers en route to first day of school?
We made it. Fortunately this year, there was not the large number at our usual venue, so we were all present (along with our Bahamian fresher who had accompanied us to salaat and who was viewing this type of activity for the first time), and as usual, humbled.
The hard work began and continued for BH & BD primarily. The cutting up, the lifting, the weighing, the dividing. Without Brothers Shafik & Tariq this year.
And the usual at home activities of weighing again, parcelling, rushing to cold storage, delivering.
And alhamdulillah, accepting friends’ invitations to visit their homes and be fed. Our home meal was simple – cumin seasoned rice, curried chickpea and potato, and Trini style stewed beef. At our friends’, there was beef gohst, naan bread, rice, pickled condiments, mutton curry, tandoori chicken (there were some who were aghast that that dish made it to the menu), liver (the first eaten meat on Eid ul Adha for most normal people I know – with the exception of my nuclear family exclusive of me – they remain stubborn neophytes), legumes.
This is the type of physical activity that this Eid engenders in the Caribbean – a day full of physical work, humbling, peaceful. A day that is all good.
Our friend A telephoned yesterday to say that she was providing us with dinner. These are the pic’k’s: onions, tandoori chicken with fries sprinkled, and thin rotis (Gujrati cuisine). The eggplant in the composite photo was courtesy of our home (Trini cusine). The cucumber pickle was courtesy of our helper’s St. Vincent roots. By the way, this was spicy spicy spicy – burned the outside of the lips – but a meal you couldn’t stop until you finished every bite. Alhamdulillah for good and thoughtful friends.
The prettily decorated cupcake & server tell their own story. Especially in conjunction with the title of this post. And if I were silent, each of you would create your own story from your own inferences, selective knowledge, and personal views. So many times we colour our silences or our utterances because of knowledge we peculiarly hold. But just as many times, those colours can be filtered or shaded when that knowledge meets the light of reality.
Yes, the cake was served on my birthday. It’s a chocolate chiffon cupcake with homemade whipped cream, fresh strawberries & blackberries & chocolate drizzle. Compliments of BakerDaughter. So yes, my birthday was the occasion, but not the occasion. Be-fog-ged yet? Let us de-mist – the anniversary of my birth date was the time on which the cupcakes were served, but my birthday was not the reason for the cupcakes.
In Trinidad & Guyana, indentured servants/labourers were the replacement labour source for the sugarcane plantations, upon the abolition of slavery in the 1800s. 143,000+ indentured labourers went to Trinidad, almost 209,000 went to Guyana. These emanated from British India. The Fatel Razak which landed in Trinidad in 1838 is reputed to have brought the second set of Muslims to the Caribbean. Indentured labourers also went from other colonies.
It is reported that the ratio of males to females were 3:1 and in some cases 2:1.Despite the labour intensive days on the plantations and the many rules restricting religious and cultural practices, those practices (perhaps modified) survived. It is believed that both Hindu and Muslim labourers attended their respective religious ‘schooling’ on evenings after a day in the field. From one article I’ve read (and I cannot speak to its validity as a source), those Muslims who congregated to observe their Eid prayers at the Palmiste Estate were flogged for offering their first Eid prayers in Trinidad. On another occasion, defenceless Muslim immigrants attempting to carry out a peaceful observance of a religious occasion were shot by a platoon of armed policemen. Another source confirms the flogging but provides conflicting information – that Muslim religious practices were controlled and the building of mosques and the Friday congregational prayer discouraged – that Islamic community life was not transported, and the ‘Indian’-originated Muslims in Trinidad were called ‘madingas’ – in recognition of those African Muslims of the Madingo tribe. While used in a derogatory manner, the coining of that phrase by non-Muslims unknowingly reflects the recognition of racial equality amongst Muslims. This second source also states that Muslims succeeded in maintaining their religious practices by practising the fundamentals of Islam and gathering on various occasions. It is these gatherings that the author of the second source describes as an amalgamation of Hindu cultural practices with Islamic traditions.
A third author (Suresh Pillai) states: “Out of the recesses of their minds and memories they pieced together their religious and social practices and philosophies and recreated the institutions that sustain a civilization.” Pillai says: “Koran sheriff was the source of inspiration for Muslims. .There were Muslim scholars who could recite entire Koran sheriff from memory. The story of one Hajji Rukhnudeen of La Plaisance estate in Trinidad was inspiring , for he taught entire Koran to his fellow Muslims from memory under the moon light.” I had to search for the meaning of the term ‘Qur’an shareef’ as I think ‘Koran sheriff’ (a colloquialism perhaps attributable to Indo-Trinidian Muslims) was meant to be. It means the Honourable Qur’an.
So, for the past 2+ centuries, Qur’an recitation in social gatherings has been occasioned. In Barbados, despite the number of memorisers of the Qur’an, it is not as prevalent, but that may be due to the paucity in comparative numbers. Some persons frown upon it as being innovative.
So, you wonder what any of this has to do with ‘fog’ and my birthday. (And let us accept without contradiction at this time, that the ‘celebration’ of birthdays is frowned upon in Islam because of the rationale that we ought not to be celebrating the nearing of certain death and the uncertain hereafter. It can however, be a time of reflection for us, as can any other random day. What have we done with the object of attaining one of those levels of heaven and how can we improve?)
Each of us has ‘comfort food’ – food for the soul. Each of us also has ‘comfort’ practices. My comfort practice was to invite some close friends to gather in my home to recite the Qur’an and to have lunch with us. Not everyone accepted the invitation. The fog, it appears, may have been in ascribing to me intentions that may not have been mine. A celebration of a birthday instead of a giving of thanks and sharing. An occasion not occasioned by my birthday.
My thanks to those who attended (and ate some Trini-style food). And to those whose efforts assisted in the easy-going camaraderie and fellowship. And that includes my ‘fogged’ friend.
On Saturday past, the Muslim community in Barbados celebrated Eid ul Fitr, and as with all Muslim communities, started the day with communal Eid salaah – the special two rakaah congregational prayers with additional takbeers and a khutbah. Some perform the Eid salaah outdoors, others indoors. In Barbados, there were three Eid gaahs – three outdoor congregations assembling for the performance of the Eid ul Fitr salaah. BH, BD, Youngest and I attended the one held at the Graeme Hall Bird Sanctuary. It was indeed a sanctuary of serenity. We prayed on the Lakeside Lawn surrounded by the greatest landscaper and outdoor designer there is – Allah, swt, whose greenery cocooned us on all sides save the lake, shaded by clumps of bamboo and mangrove, soundproofed by shrubbery. Post-salaah, we lingered, shared, lingered some more. These are some of the photos taken, and I hope you sense at least a scintilla of the serenity which we experienced and which preceded a peaceful and very enjoyable Eid weekend.
The Graeme Hall Sanctuary is a Wetland. See the following article: Thoughts on Graeme Hall Wetland for a better description of what it was and what it is.
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