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8 tips on sharing Ramadan with your neighbors

8 tips on sharing Ramadan with your neighbors

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-’As: Mujahid said that Abdullah ibn Amr slaughtered a sheep and said: Have you presented a gift from it to my neighbor, the Jew, for I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say: Gabriel kept on commending the neighbor to me so that I thought he would make an heir? (Abu Dawud).

The Prophet Muhammad said: “He is not a believer who eats his fill while his neighbor remains hungry by his side” (Baihaqi).

“By Allah, he has no faith (the Prophet repeated it three times) whose neighbors are not safe from his wickedness” (Bukhari).

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Ramadan is a great opportunity to share Islam and more specifically, its values of spirituality, generosity and kindness with others, especially your neighbors. It’s a great time to do Dawa. And Dawa is very much needed in the current atmosphere of anger, tension and sadness in the wake of September 11, 2001.

Here are some ideas on how you can share the joy with your neighbors this Ramadan.

1. Begin with Dua

Make Dua that Allah give you and your family the sincerity, strength, motivation and wisdom to do this. Dawa is hard work, and it needs preparation, commitment and organization.

2. Put up a Ramadan banner on your door

This can be something handmade or something more formal.

But don’t stop there. Print out a factsheet on Ramadan and stick that on the door to educate readers passing by about the blessed month and what it means to Muslims.

3. Send neighbors Iftar snacks

Include a note with the food that the month of Ramadan is here and you are sharing your joy with them.

You can offer snacks that are not just “American” but also “ethnic” (i.e. African, Middle Eastern, Indo-Pakistani, etc.). You can include index cards with the snacks listing all of the ingredients. This will help neighbors avoid food that causes allergies.

4. Give kids Ramadan Mubarak balloons and candy

Let your neighbors’ kids also feel the happiness of Ramadan by including chocolate and candy among your snacks. Balloons also add a nice touch, and if you can get some printed which have “Ramadan Mubarak” written on them, they may remember the blessed month even after it has passed.

5. Publish Ramadan information in your neighborhood newsletter

If you are part of a tenants’ association, a group within your housing complex or your neighborhood block parents’ association and they publish a newsletter, inform them about Ramadan and prepare a short write-up about the month. This is a great way of informing many more neighbors about Ramadan.

6. Have a neighborhood Iftar gathering

You don’t have to invite everyone. Perhaps just the closest neighbors can attend this event. Send handmade invitations for an “Iftar gathering” at most a week in advance (avoid the word “party” as it may be misunderstood to mean a gathering including alcohol, loud music, etc.).

Ask about allergies or other food issues before establishing the menu. Include American and “ethnic” food.

Be sure to invite Muslim family and friends who are comfortable interacting with non-Muslims to this event, and brief them about how they should properly share Ramadan with the neighbors.

Also, have some written material on Ramadan available for your guests. You can print out this factsheet and put it on some fancy paper to add to the festive air of the evening.

At the gathering:

Be cordial, generous and friendly, but maintain Islamic rules of behavior and modesty. This should not be a “party” in the common understanding, but more of a religious celebration that is spiritual and respectful to all.

Don’t impose information. Just let non-Muslim guests ask questions, if they want to. As well, be ready for questions about Islam and violence/terrorism, the oppression of women, etc. Give neighbors the benefit of the doubt and clarify their misunderstanding in a calm, gentle manner.

7. Get your kids on it

Tell your kids to inform other neighbors’ kids what Ramadan is all about and have the children invite their classmates to your Iftar gatherings.

8. Talk about what Ramadan means to you

What’s it like to fast? How do you work/go to school and still fast? These are some questions you may be asked. Don’t just point your guests to the pamphlets. Tell them and use some personal examples they can relate to.

Source: SoundVision.com

A Ramadan guide for single Muslims

Traditional ramadan meal

By Sound Vision Staff writer

For most Muslims, Ramadan is family time. You get up together, eat Iftar together, pray together, etc. But what if you don’t have your family near you?

Waking up in a lonely apartment and eating food you’ve sometimes burnt in an effort to catch Suhur in time are some of the realities of being a single Muslim in Ramadan. But there are ways to make Ramadan special when you’re on your own. Here are a couple of ideas. Please feel free to post yours at the bottom of this article.

1. Establish a Suhur telephone tree

Get a couple of friends together and establish a telephone tree to wake each other up for Suhur. Establish a time to call and a schedule of who will call whom. Make it a little exciting by adding some funny phrases every week that will really wake everyone up (e.g. “ASSALAMU ALIAKUM” This is the Suhur Sister/Bellowing Brother calling. Rise and shine y’all for some morning grubÓ).

2. Invite people over for Iftar

Even if even you couldn’t eat the food  the last time you cooked, invite people over for Iftar. Make it a potluck, order pizza or if you can afford it, get it catered. The food isn’t the thing. The blessing is in the company, and you’ll be rewarded for feeding everyone. Make sure to especially invite those who are away from their families.

3. Attend prayers at the local mosque

Even if the Imam’s recitation isn’t the best and the behavior of other Muslims can be more than annoying, try to attend Tarawih prayers organized by your local mosque or your Muslim Students’ Association (MSA). While praying alone in peace and quiet is great, praying shoulder-to-shoulder with other Muslims with whom you have nothing in common except your faith is a unique and uplifting experience.

4. Get involved in community programs

It may seem hard to squeeze in time for anything else in Ramadan, but try, at least once, to do some volunteer work. Cook a meal for those who attend the MSA Iftar; volunteer for a day at a soup kitchen; help make or distribute flyers for a Ramadan program; make Ramadan Mubarak loot bags of candy for the kids at your local mosque. The possibilities are numerous. The point is to give to others so you can get back what’s priceless.

5. Keep the Quran playing when you are alone at home

It’s often tempting to keep the TV or radio on when we’re alone at home to avoid the silence. This Ramadan, find a CD or cassette of a Quran reciter you like and play it during those moments when you want to fill your place with some sound. Choose selections you’d like to memorize, like the 30th part of the Quran.

6. Eat properly- don’t resort to burnt toast and egg

Not eating Suhur and Iftar properly will make you crabby, irritated and sick (as opposed to healthy, wealthy and wise). Establish a personal Ramadan meal plan. Choose healthy, easy-to-make recipes so you’re not scrambling at the last minute for something to eat.

7. Keep in touch with family and friends back home

Send Ramadan e-cards, thoughts, reflections, questions, etc. via phone or email to family and friends. Keep in contact at least once a week and share three Ramadan-related things you’ve done in the last ten days of Ramadan.

8. Take care of others

Know a new person at the school/office? Is a friend who lives nearby having problems with their spouse? Or is someone you know having money problems? This Ramadan, reach out with an attentive ear, a generous hand, and most importantly, an open heart to others. Don’t let these small opportunities for gaining blessings slip you by.

9. Decorate your crib

Add some festivity to your spare surroundings by dressing the place up with a Ramadan banner, balloons and streamers. Even after a rough day, coming home to a decorated home is a boost to the spirits.

10. Pick and pursue Ramadan goals

Choose at least three goals to pursue this Ramadan. Whether it’s curbing a bad habit or starting a good one, doing this will help you focus and work harder this month to change for the better. It takes 21 days to establish a good habit. With Ramadan, we’ve got 30. Why not make the best of it by picking up the good?