This blog is published for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the thousands of Muslims raised or reverts, or even non-Muslis, who might be living in areas where they are not able to experience Ramadan in a Muslim community; so we, at MWA, invite you to be a part of our community in Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong) Al-Baqarah 2:185

Established in 2006, Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

An impromptu suhoor at Costa Coffee: a journal entry by MWA's Aishah Schwartz

Subhan'Allah...I was feeling somewhat dreadful the last couple of days, and I spent most of that time attempting to sleep it off. In fact, after iftar, I went to bed (again), and Al-hamdulillah, fell fast asleep. I woke up at 2AM and pushed myself out of bed with the thought, "whatever will I eat for suhoor?"

Turning on the wifi back on my phone and the Gmail icon appeared at the top of the screen. I clicked. A dreaded reminder of something I needed to do, in fact, something I wanted to do, so I suddenly had a plan. I would throw an abaya on, walk down to grab a cab and see if by some miraculous chance the Costa Coffee shop was still open. Anticipating a few hours of work, I had the feeling I would need a stronger caffeine boost than my ordinary household cup of Nescafe would offer on short notice. 

The taxi stopped in front of Costa. As I was paying the driver I also noted that the outside lights of the coffee shop were off, but the inside lights were still on and I saw one of the servers standing inside behind the counter.

Reaching the door I found it was unlocked, so I pushed it open and ventured inside. I knew there would be no issue with my English since it was Costa. The young man behind the counter listened as I described what I wanted. I knew by the look on his face he was waiting for me to finish speaking before he dealt me the bad news that the shop was already closed.

Sure enough. "I'm sorry, but we are closed."

Let the pleading commence.

Al-hamdulillah! It worked!!!!!

So I figured, as a show of appreciation, I should at least spend a bit more, so I ordered a large coffee smoothie and a piece of blueberry cheese cake.

I sat down at a seat by the window, since I was informed I could, took a long draw of the chilled coffee drink from its straw and picking the small fork to take my first bite from the cheese cake, suddenly there was just an avalanche of tears streaming down my face.

Saying goodbye to Ramadan. Yup. There it was. Reality sinking in; again.

I wiped the tears away ... but they just kept coming back.

Then one of the staff walked through the door leading from the kitchen area carrying plates filled with food. He went through the front door of the coffee shop and set the plates on one of the outdoor tables then returned for another set. Clearly he was setting the table for a staff suhoor.

And there it was: a photo op! Tears dashed, the photographer in me awakened, I knew there was work to do so I reached for my mobile (it has a 8-megapixel camera), and stood to make my way through the front door.

I've learned that Egyptians love to let you take photos, so it was easy to get approval for what I wanted to do. Snap. Snap. Snap. Photos done. Woot! Woot!

And then it happened.

One of the staff turned an empty seat around to face the table and I found myself being invited to join them for suhoor. I hesitated for a moment, but then a chorus of ya'lla's came at me and there was no turning back. I sat down.

And there they were again...those darn tears. I was just overwhelmed. I had been feeling so lonely...

It was, Al-hamdulillah, the nicest suhoor of Ramadan 2013.

P.S. Eid will be celebrated in Egypt on Friday, August 9. ‘Taqabal Allahu minna wa minkum‘ (may Allah accept it from you and us).

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