Ramadhan in India [Archives:2005/892/Reportage]

November 7 2005
Photo from archived article: photos/892/report1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/892/report1_1

Although India is not an Islamic country we can find Islam, since the religion is spread all over India with a big, Muslim community. Islam was once the official religion of India, especially during the rule of the Mugal Sultans. As a result, there is a lot of mosques in India, such as Jama Masjed that is considered as the largest Masjed in India. More than 20,000 people can pray at the same time. Nizamudin area is the biggest community of Muslims in New Delhi. Muslims who immigrate to India can find an Islamic atmosphere, but in a different way than in other Islamic communities because of the influence of Indian culture.

On the other hand, there are a lot of difficulties that non-Indian people face particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan in India is like any other month. Muslims from other countries cannot see any of the special things that we used to see and do in Ramadan. For me it is the first time I am fasting abroad. This year I am in India, not in Yemen. I miss many things like the spiritual atmosphere, blessing nights and above all my family and dear friends. How unique Ramadan is in its great atmosphere!

Ramadan is the Holy month of Muslims, in which Muslims can practice most of the Islam pillars, particularly the fast. Muslims live in a spiritually unique worship in this month. Ramadan is the month of mercy and asking for forgiveness of Allah. On the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, Yemen Times has the opportunity to talk to some Muslims from different nationalities, particularly Yemenis, who live in India. Muslims in India face a lot of difficulties during Ramadan.

They have told us about how they practice Ramadan in India, their impressions and especially the different things they miss from their homeland:

Abudulhafed Saif is PhD student in JNU, New Delhi, India. He has been in India for three years. He is preparing PhD in applied linguistics.

We need to be aware of the fact that Ramadan is the month in which Muslims become purer and more obedient to God. It also gives us the chance to accumulate more alms, feel for the poor and to be Muslims in the true sense of the word. I fast, read the Holy Qura”an and meet my Yemeni friends whenever the chance arises. I go to bed at five and get up at 12 pm and then go to university to purse my work. I share a flat with a Yemeni friend and we have a small kitchen where we cook our own food. Yemeni Ramadan has its own flavor.

To be honest here is nothing special to talk about, but meeting friends now and then may be the best part of it. Unlike Yemen, life in India never changes in Ramadan as every one practice their own lives as if it was not Ramadan. We miss Ramadan in Yemen. God bless Yemen in this holy and sacred month.

Zaheraldeen Bello Iman is Nigerian. He studies Computer Science at Hamdard University, New Delhi. He has been one year and 6 months in India:

I practice Ramadan according to Sunnah of our Prophet Mohammed (Sal Allah Aleh Wa Salam). I am fasting in India with my Nigerian friends and friends from the Arab world like Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, etc. I believe that the whole world should start fasting at the same day, as I know that we are one world, one nation, one sun and one moon. Indian Muslims are fasting after two days of Ramadan. Last year I fasted with them after I realized that they follow the calendar. I hope that India looks for the moon to fast better than the calendar.

Ahmed Sultan has got PhD in computer sciences from Delhi University. He has been in India for 8 years:

Ramadan in India is difficult for us who are away from home. Students still try to simulate Ramadan as we do it in Yemen. Usually, after the Iftar meal, we gather with most of Arabs at the Sudan Embassy”s mosque for Taraweh prayers. Then the students gather to meet each other.

We miss fasting at home since Ramadan has its own flavor in Yemen. Thanks to Yemen Times for its interest to follow the Yemenis abroad and tell about how life is for Yemenis abroad.

Mohammed Hassan Banna is from Bangladesh. He studies pharmacy at Hamdard University, New Delhi. He has been in India more than one year:

Ramadan in India is strange. They start to fast after two day of the moon sighting. It is really funny for me how the moon is visible after 48 hours of its appearance. Ramadan in India look is like most other months of the year. As Muslims we fast, but we do our work as we do in the other moths. During the holy month of Ramadan I want peace in the world. Ramadan teaches us brotherhood and I especially believe that we learn proper Islam from it.

Gibreel Sadeq Suleiman Alaghbaryi is a student at Punjab University. He got is married and has one child. He has been in India for three years:

The small Yemeni community go to university and do our work during the day. We go to a small place where we can pray for Taraweeh and afterwards go back home to our everyday activities. The Ramadan dishes may be a little different, but we get all our needs covered. The only problem we always face here in Ramadan is to decide when the holy month should begin. Some of us follow the Yemenis, some the Saudis and some of course the Indians. The other problem is when to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Athha. I hope this reaches the hilal authorities in Yemen whom I hope would advise their sons in India and elsewhere on what to do. For example, some of us begin Ramadan on Tuesday, some on Wednesday and some on Thursday. I guess that is a big problem.

I would like to congratulate all Muslims and hope we all use this chance to pray sincerely and give up our bad habits. I would also like that all Muslims pray for their fellows in Palestine, Iraq and other occupied Muslim territories so Allah alleviates the suffering.

Abdullah Al-Eryani has got MA in linguistics. He has been in India for three years. He is preparing PhD in Applied linguistics in Chandigarh University:

As an intellectual and multi-religious society, Indian people don”t give enough importance of Ramadan. We Muslims try to practice the Holy month by ourselves. Most of the Yemenis in India are students, so we gather in groups to spend the daytime together, especially for Iftar and to pray together. If possible we try to spend the nighttime at one student”s place, discussing some general affairs. We try to keep ourselves in contact most of time.

Tafazul Ali Wani is Indian. He has got M.Sc in Toxicology:

Since I grew up in Kashmir I can tell something about the Holy month of Ramadan in Kashmir. This month is the most holy month of the year. The Iftar meal is so nice that one can hardly visualize. People offer Taraweeh prayer with great enthusiasm. All hatred among people is shed off. There is only one thought on mind, and that is to pray. I siren rings at the time of Sahour and Iftar.

Although Muslims in India are in minority we still fully enjoy the rights to be a true Muslim in India. I hope to visit Mecca and Yemen ( Insha Allah).

Yahya al-Fagier is a supervisor in the ministry of Education. He has been in India for three years. He is preparing PhD in Applied linguistics.

Ramdhan in India is of course different than Ramadan in Yemen. Most of the traditions are different. For example people in India sleep in the night. People are doing their routine. Fasting here is more difficult because most people do not fast.

As Yemenis and Muslims, we try to visit each other. Every student invites his friends, especially in the night.