Usually Chand Raat is a dedicated title for the night before Eid, but for me Chand Raat has always been the night before Ramadan begins……..

Living in a small town in America, actually a village when we first moved here; every milestone of our Deen imbued in our culture becomes precious as a jewel to be passed on lovingly to our children.

It is the probably the night before Ramadan, I ask who else wants to go with me to find the moon that announces Ramadan.

Tariq and Shireen and a bunch of kids their friends and a few adults pile in and a caravan of three cars travels toward a mall in the outskirts of the city, which is the highest point and with least buildings.

We reach the back parking lot of the Mall, the children spill out of the car and search for the moon and play and dance around in the parking lot. The sickle of the Ramadan moon is as fickle as the sickle of the Eid moon. One of the teenagers spots it and suddenly he gains a hero status as all the kids and even the adults mob him………..

“Where is it” I ask, “there between the two wires and the pine tree” he says pointing. I search and search and just as I am about to give up I see it light up. its slim outline highlighted with the deepening pink of the sunset.

I am all about drama as I close my eyes remembering what we used to do on the top of our rooftop. I turn around and open my eyes and the first people I see are my children…….. Life is good, happy and content! Love permeates me.

The old culture of Pakistan, my home faraway……comes back with the intensity of the fragrance of Raat ki Raani at night. I am on the Chaat or rooftop, my Bua is saying “whoever you see first after seeing the moon, you love the most!” where did that come from I think, as I repeat her words to my children and they make a game of peek a boo of it.

Bua the lady who cooked our meals and talked to herself. We did not dare correct her or complain about her sometimes-burnt daal, which she had forgotten while talking to the people she had left behind after the partition, in Gwalior.

Fleeing Gwalior as a young woman with her son on her hip, she had lost her husband and most of her family. If I ever asked her about it, she gave me a stare that would freeze the words on my lips…..was she a servant or our boss?

We never could disobey her because her most daunting threat was “ Wait till you mother gets home, I am going to quit” It was the most effective torpedo which even stopped my most recalcitrant brothers in their steps and they would proceed to apologize profusely and beg forgiveness. There she would sit like a queen and ignore their lamentations till they left with their proverbial tails under their legs.

She was a story teller, and I loved that, but her stories were not on demand, only when she felt like so we had to hang around and be useful and she might drop a pearl like the one about the moon and the loved one.

“Yaaaaay it is Ramadan tomorrow!” Shireen, Tariq and their friends happily skip around the parking lot.

As I load them into the car, mentally counting off my “to do” list I am not even aware that a stone throw from this parking lot will be the last abode of both Tariq and Ammi……… where they will forever have the best view of the rising sickle of the Ramadan moon and then the Eid moon. The cemetery next to the mall is on my map now, it was not then.

This year I cannot bring myself to go there, the mall has gone out of business, the parking lot is abandoned, no children play there. ISNA tells you a month ahead of time when Ramadan will begin and end. There is no excitement to search the moon. The Sunnah has been put to bed with all the other practices that do not fit the time schedule of work and play in the west.

The sun still sets over the parking lot of the Mall and over the cemetery, the pink spreading over the pale sky like the blush of a virgin bride. The sickle moon still appears briefly, remains unsighted by the local muslims to disappear quickly, yet bringing intense joy to the believers who then brace themselves with anticipation for what is to come, never aware of the fact that some of us may be absent this or next Ramadan.

7 thoughts on “CHAND RAAT IN AMERICA …………

  1. Asalaam o laikum brother,
    What a lovely vision of Chand Raat on the river in Bangla Desh:

    I remember a man looking for the moon from top of the river steamer. I was standing beside him all excited. I distinctly remember the joy in his face as he said the dua after discovering the crescent.

    May Allah Subhanawataala, focus our vision away from TV back on Him and His bounties.

  2. Dear Sister
    Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family. We really dont look for the moon any more. There is the TV giving you the news about moon sighting. When we were children, I remember going to the village with my parents almost every year. In one of these jouneys I remember a man looking for the moon from top of the river steamer. I was standing beside him all excited. I distinctly remember the joy in his face as he said the dua after discovering the crescent. It was 40 years back.

  3. Assalam Alaikum.

    Ramzaan Mubarak to u and ur family!
    May Allah Forgive us our sins and accpet all our Duas..

    Keep me in ur prayers..

    AllahHafiz 🙂

  4. Assalam Alaikum
    Sobhana’Allah How much i love your blog. Jazak’Allah khair May allah bless you all that you do sister. Indeed you are right about the excitement of moon sighting, insha’allah may we have that feeling again i know it is very difficult to be while living here in the states.

    Ramadhan Mubarak dear, May Allah accept it from us and guide us all the way. Ameen ya rab.

  5. Pingback: Everything Is Vanity » Blog Archive » Chand Raat in America Siraat-E-Mustaqeem

  6. “whoever you see first after seeing the moon, you love the most!

    • Brother Ali,
      Thank you for your comment. We are a product of our culture, but of course must put our Deen first. Being happy in Ramadan is a part of our journey. Allah Subhnawataala himself asks us to “welcome Ramadan”. For the believer it is a time of joy when his Shaytaans are chained and he is doing something that is beloved to Allah. When ever we do something which makes Allah happy it makes us happy. So bring in Ramadan in your life with joy and resolve to please Allah be happy with that resolve.
      The Nafs is a very strong source of misguidance if not controlled and kept in its place. The desire for popularity in the guise of dawah sometimes puts one in a position that makes him or her blind to the real reason one is pushing ones ideas.
      I thus try not to put advertisements, endorsements and other promotional stuff on my website, the reason being that I want to remain sincere to the reason why I started it.
      Thus if a lot of people read and gain insight into their Deen, grief, loss and living in this world as a muslim then ALhamdollillah, and if no one reads it then Alhamdollillah. I tell myself everyday that this writing is Fi SabillAllah!
      Thus thank you for your invitation to join your group, but I decline, Every new thing I join takes me away from studying the Quran and Sunnah and fulfilling my haqooq al ebad and haqooq Allah by increasing computer time.
      JazaikAllah Khair, if you are doing it Fi SabillAllah you will not need to invite anyone, they will be sent, or not depending on the will of Allah.
      Allah knows best.

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