Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Ramadan / Shawwal 1423 H
December 2002
Volume 15-12 No : 192
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Ramadan Mubarak


Sheer Qurma in Chicago?


Sheer Qurma in Chicago?

In India, the atmosphere on Idd day is traditional -right from the delicious dish of Sheer Qurma to the Idd prayers. But have we thought about Indian Muslims settled in the Western countries who miss out on this ambience of Ramadan? M. Hanif Lakdawala takes a look into how the NRIs celebrate Idd!

America Muslim Praying Idd-ul- fitr is an occasion of reward, joy and happiness-. reward from Allah to his servants who have obeyed him. Servants bow before him and offer prayers of thanks. In India, we celebrate Idd the way we want and offer prayers. Even Indian expatriates who work in the Gulf countries, though away from their near and dear ones celebrate Idd and offer prayers, as these are Islamic countries and at least the ambience of Idd exists.

But those Indian Muslims in western countries and the USA, many a times have to travel 100 kms to offer their Idd prayers. Vazir Vanavati immigrated on work permit to Oklahoma. His posting is in an industrial area. For Idd prayers, Vazir drives 250 kms to the nearest city. “After five years, I have returned to India to spend Ramadan here and get spiritually enhanced. I am yearning to celebrate Idd here with friends and relatives. It seems ages since I have experienced the Islamic culture and traditions in its full glory,” he says. In Muslim dominated areas here in India, the atmosphere on the occasion of Idd is electrifying. Everything seems effortless, from Idd prayers to preparation of the special Idd dishes, including making new clothes for the festival.

But people like Aziz Farooqui who shifted to Toronto are not so fortunate. Having an apartment in a far off suburb off Toronto, Aziz has to shift to a friend’s place in the city on the eve of Idd, that is the night before the festival so that he can offer Idd prayers. “Once I set my alarm to wake me up for the Fajr and Idd prayers, I dodged and went back to sleep and I woke up late and missed my Fajr and Idd prayers. The pain of missing the Idd prayers was such that even today my eyes get moist when I recollect that,” he says.

Shehzad Lakdawala migrated to USA three years back in pursuit of higher studies. The first Idd in USA for him was very painful, as he just could not get over the pain of not being able to greet his friends and relatives as he used to earlier here in India. “For the first time in my life I worked on Idd day just to overcome the pain of not being with my near and dear ones. But last year, I took a holiday on Idd and celebrated with my Indian and Pakistani friends,” says Shehzad.

Asif Furniturewala celebrated his last seven Idd festivals in Houston. “We have the entire colony of Indian Muslims. We prepare Sheer Qurma for 10 -12 families and have combined Idd celebration in the evening. After a cultural programme organised by the children, we have a dinner where every family brings its own specialty of dishes. The celebration concludes with a speech by the imam of the local mosque,” says Asif.

“No doubt”, said Asif “we celebrate Idd with friends and relatives, but still Idd in India, in our own country is the real Idd. “The joy and happiness, which I used to get on Idd in India, is lacking here though our lifestyle here is far ahead then what was when we left India,” he confesses. After a gap of seven years, Asif is visiting India just to “recapture the joy of celebrating Idd in the homeland with relatives and friends.”

Many of us who are lucky enough to celebrate the Idd with parents just take everything for granted not realising the value of this. For Naseer Usman, Idd without parents is no Idd. Settled in Melbourne, Naseer visits India every year just to be with his parents on the occasion of Idd. “Every parent has the natural urge that their children should be around with them on the happy occasion. Idd is the happiest day in the life of a Muslim and it has to be celebrated with parents. My parents cannot come and live with me in Australia because they cannot adjust to the weather out there. Atleast I can afford to give them the joy of celebrating Idd with them,” he said.

One of the pre-requisite for Idd prayers is Fitra (alms to be given to poor Muslims). Here in our country, we do not face any difficulty in distributing fitra. But for Abid Khan, who migrated to Alaska five years back, finding poor deserving Muslims to distribute fitra is a task tougher than earning a decent living. “I have no relative in India to whom I can send this money nor we have any Muslim organisation or trust here which can distribute this on our behalf. Hence I have to hunt for days to trace out poor Muslims who deserve fitra,” he said.

Sheer Qurma for many of us is available for asking on Idd day. Not for Safi Khandwani who manages a grocery store in Chicago. With his family in India, Safi himself prepares Sheer Qurma with the aid of the recipe book gifted by his beloved wife. “Since last three Idds, I did try to prepare Sheer Qurma, but instead the final preparation was anything, but Sheer Qurma. But still I ate it and also shared it with my friends as that’s the nearest we could come to the traditional Indian Idd dish”, reveals Safi. “I am excited this year, that at last, this year I am celebrating Idd with my family in Mumbai and will celebrate Idd in the traditional style”.

Idd-ul-fitr for Muslims is the peak of the spiritual experience. But for many who reside across the seven seas, in the western countries, the environment of Ramadan is lacking which also affects them spiritually. Shabbir Lakdawala has come out with a solution. Having shifted to Canada a decade ago, every year, Shabbir spends the last 15 days of Ramadan in Haram at Makkah to make up for the spiritual loss. “I also call my elder brother and parents to join me in Makkah so that we celebrate Idd together. This way I spend time with my parents and also get spiritually enlightened,” explains Shabbir.

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News| Community Roundup| Editorial| Readers Comments| Men, Machines and Methods| Globe Watch| Political Diary| Issues
Breaking News| Indian Muslims Abroad| Book Review| In Focus| Face To Face| Reflections| Children's Corner| Quran Speaks to You
Hadith| Our Dialogue| Religion| Ramadan Mubarak| Living Islam| Spot Light| Women In Islam| Soul Talk| From Darkness To Light Matrimonial| Jobs| Archives| Feedback| Subscription| Links| Calendar| Contact Us

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