May 23, 2017

Raiyan's First Fast!

Meet Raiyan as he prepares for his very first fast. He has his older sister helping him each step of the way.

Published Jan 1, 2003
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“Wake up Raiyan, wake up!” shouted Eisha, “It is time for your very first suhur!”

“Aapi!” cried Raiyan as he usually addressed his elder teenage sister. “Did Ramadan start already? Why didn’t you wake me before?”

“Oh Raiyan? Will you quit bothering me with your silly questions? It seems like you are talking in your sleep. Of course the month of Ramadan started yesterday with the sighting of the crescent. You know that. Didn’t you say yesterday night that you wanted to keep your first fast today and spend it collecting good deeds like the Imam at the mosque said? Well, honey today is your lucky day, ‘cuz Aapi is here to watch you the whole way. And remember I am going to check all your actions to make sure you do them correctly… the way I taught you… the way of our dear Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).”

“Oh yeah! I forgot. The way of the Prophet (peace be upon him)… Sunnah… right?” said Raiyan as he got ready to vacate his cosy adobe. “Impressive! So you aren’t sleeping after all,” said Eisha smiling, and raising her hands in a thankful gesture she exclaimed, “Al-hamdu-lil-lah! (Praise be to Allah), Whew! I managed to get something into that head of yours. Ha! And all that time I thought I was banging my head against the walls. Oh, The countless blessings of Allah!” sighed Eisha.

Their mother’s reminder interrupted their friendly chatter. Time was of the essence and if Raiyan did not gain the blessings of suhur, he may be eating Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast. Raiyan raced towards the bathroom and as he was about to enter with his right foot, a voice behind him chanted, “The left foot bro… the left foot… and don’t forget the duas.” “Oh! The left foot… I always forget… I never get this left right thing, Aapi,” wailed Raiyan. Eisha rubbed his back gently to uplift his spirits, “Don’t feel bad Raiyan! It’s okay. You are at a learning stage. You may forget once or twice but when you practice it will eventually become a good habit that you will cherish throughout your life. Now come along. Papa and Mama are waiting for you.” Eisha moved on towards the kitchen but looked back after a moment and said fearfully, “Oh no! Don’t tell me you forgot the duas too.”

“Uh-oh! I think I did,” teased her younger brother and after a brief pause he added, “Just kidding!” Upon entering the bathroom, Raiyan said the prayer “Allaahumma innee a ootho bika minal khubuthi wal-khabaa’ith (O Allah! I seek refuge in You from male and female devils).” He remembered the list of voluntary actions he had prepared to make sure he did not forget any duas, prayers and beneficial deeds. After all, it was the holy month of Ramadan when the doors of Heaven are opened and the doors of Hell are closed. It is the time to accumulate as much reward as possible. “Oh Allah help me be a virtuous kid!” prayed Raiyan in his heart because he knew it would be a struggle. He recollected the last time he had tried this and had failed. Then, Sponge-Bob, Play Station and Back Street Boys were his favorite pastimes. “I never had the time,” thought Raiyan, “…the time to thank Allah for all His favors… the time to thank Allah even for giving me the Play Station,” smiled Raiyan sadly. His mother’s voice pierced through his silent thoughts reminding him of the time. He exited the bathroom making sure that he put his right foot out first and then said the dua’ “Ghufranaka (O Allah! I seek your forgiveness).” Once he was outside the bathroom, he reminded himself loud and clear “Inshallah! (If Allah Wills) Never again will I let my desires get the best of me. I will strive to please Allah, Inshallah! (Hey! I just told you what it means a second ago) Please help me Allah, please help me.”

The inviting smell of warm freshly made bread welcomed Raiyan and he jumped to his seat to get started. Just as he was about to take his first bite, Eisha cleared her throat and coughed softly. Her eyes implored into Raiyan’s as if to remind him. Raiyan sat back to reflect for a moment as to what he was missing. And then it struck him! He looked up to his parents and said, “Assalaamo alaikum Mama and Papa. I am sorry, but the smell of the yummy bread made me forget to say this earlier.” Mama and Papa gave Raiyan a warm and affectionate hug, kissed him on his cheeks and said, “Walaikum as-salam wa rehmatullah, son. Ramadan Mubarak! May you have many more.” Happy to see his parents pleased with him, Raiyan said “Allaahumma baarik lanaa fimaa razaqtanaa waqinaa athaaban-naar. Bismillaah (O Allah! Bless (the food) You provided us and save us from the punishment of the hellfire. In the name of Allah).” He then began to enjoy his meal thinking the bread seemed yummier than before especially because he was no longer sharing it with Satan. Al-hamdu-lil-lah! (C’mon you know what it means).

Eisha checked the timing for Fajr prayer and announced that only seven minutes were left. “Seven minutes!” exclaimed Raiyan and, “I have to finish my glass of milk and also make the intention for keeping the fast.” He remembered and thanked Allah after completing his meal and said, “Alhamdu-lillaah-il-lathi at amanaa wa saqaanaa wa ja alanaa min al-Muslimeen (Praise be to Allah Who has fed us and given us drink, and made us Muslims).”

Q) There was something that Raiyan forgot to say when he woke up. If you know what it is, mail us back at with the subject “What did Raiyan forget?”


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