The last ten nights of Ramadhaan are a time of increased prayer, contemplation, supplication and good works. Somewhere in these last ten nights is The Night of Decree, the night in which angels descend in abundance and there is peace in every matter. All supplications are answered in this blessed night, and good done within it is better than that performed over a period of one thousand months. It shows Allaah’s wisdom that He did not reveal exactly what night it is. Instead, Muslims all over the world spend the last ten nights of Ramadhaan striving even harder than they did in the rest of Ramadhaan to perform good deeds and ask for Allaah’s help and forgiveness.
In addition to this, we are beginning to prepare for the first of our two holidays, the Eid of the Fast-Breaking. Last week we braved the suq after the afternoon prayer in order to buy a few last minute things for our little family celebration, as well as some balloons to share with the children of the community. The market was full of people, even though the day was hot. It was about three hours until the breaking of the fast, and people were in the upbeat mood that comes with the approach of their first drink in fourteen hours. Beggars were out in abundance, hoping to benefit from the increased generosity of the people during Ramadhaan. Not one for shopping much anyway, it was pretty stressful for me, on top of the fasting, and we ended up coming back after only an hour or so.
The children are making decorations for the house- paper chains to string up in each room, pictures of starry skies and tables full of food, kirigami flowers, stars and snowflakes- using their imaginations to come up with whatever they think would be pretty and festive. They are also making a lot of their gifts for each other. This has become a tradition with us, as rarely can we afford to buy gifts, and it is generally difficult to find just what you want here. Most of the toys and clothes are the cheapest that China has to offer, and we like our presents to be unique. Sukhailah has spent a few weeks making dolls for all the girls. She made them out of unbleached muslin, and then made them each an “every day” dress and a fancy one. Hudhaifah is making the girls a dresser out of a cardboard box to keep the doll clothes in. Nusaybah crocheted a little bunting baby doll for baby Asmaa. Mu’aadh made a book for his father out of notebook paper, colors, and staples- lots of staples. The girls are making a coloring book for the littler children, drawing pictures to be photocopied and stapled into a book later. Hudhaifah has been working on something mysterious in the yard, most assuredly a gift for someone, and Maryam is making an old rechargeable light into a pencil holder for Hudhaifah.
So the last ten days and nights pass, in increased worship and thankfulness- both for this blessed month as well as for the upcoming celebration. The children spend much of their time thinking of how to make others happy, and experiencing the joy that that brings. I watch them, and pray for them, and hope and pray that the coming year brings with it peace and stability in an increasingly troubled world.