By Mudassir Raja
Everyone cherishes childhood memories. These memories become sweater if one gets special treatment from elders during one’s childhood.
Aliguma Saul Rayan, a young Ugandan Muslim expatriate and chairman of Ugandan Community in Qatar (UGACOQ), has a very interesting story to share about his childhood when it comes to how he used to experience Ramadan in his country.
Aliguma, an operations manager with a construction company, recently spoke to Community about how he used to experience the holy month of Ramadan in Uganda and how he has been enjoying it in Qatar.
Aliguma, who is also a photographer, Afro dance teacher and motivational speaker, has been living in Qatar since 2013. He said: “As far as my experience of observing fasting in Uganda, I have a very interesting story to tell. I come from a Christian family. I used to go for prayers on Sundays. I became a Muslim back in 2008 when I was in my high school. At that time, I even did not know about Qatar as a country, I only knew Qatar Airways.
“I used to celebrate Ramadan along with my younger cousins. In our family, we have a few Muslims – for example my young cousin Ashraf. Ashraf is a son of my favourite aunt. Though she is a Christian, she always made sure that Ashraf and I had the best in Ramadan. She would give us all the beautiful goods during the holy month. Her affectionate treatment taught me something very special about how to show love, care and support to other human beings. We were treated like kings during Ramadan. The family would not let us overwork or even cook. Event at my school, those fasting used to be treated specially. They were served with fresh food and we celebrated every day as a big family.”
Aliguma feels very happy and satisfied to be in Qatar. “Everything associated with Qatar nowadays makes me smile. Living here during Ramadan is like there is no tomorrow. When I came here in 2013, I was very young. Over the years, I have established my feet here.
“Qatar is one or those countries that value families and loves to share with others. These values become more prominent during the holy month of Ramadan. I see the Qatari people who work from abroad come back home, older people are supported to reach masjid for prayers. I remember a few years back I used to help one of my elderly neighbours. All his sons knew me because of the bond I had with their father.
“Ramadan actually rekindles the spirit of giving back to the community. We carry out beach clean-ups, distribute Iftar packs among the motorists, and share food stuff with friends and workmates.
“Ramadan is also enjoyed by the non-Muslims. I have learnt from my non-Muslim friends that they could not wait for Ramadan in Qatar. As working hours are reduced, folks get more time to see friends and talk to their families back in their countries. They also get time to enjoy some sports.”
Aliguma wishes every day to be Ramadan. “Ramadan gives you a chance to understand yourself. It brings you close to Allah. It reminds you that food is not the only thing that you need in your live.
“Ramadan teaches you equality and social justice. There are more chances of social networking, visiting the sick and caring for others.”
For Aliguma, Ramadan is the time to retrospect. “Ramadan is when I recheck my progress in life. I gauge that what difference I have made for my UGACOQ people, my workmates and the friends of the world.
“If we could live every day as we live during Ramadan, the world would be the happiest place to live in. There is love and respect that we give out beautifully during Ramadan regardless of the religious bonds. If we lived together in such atmosphere, we could be among the best human beings ever lived on earth.”
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