As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

A brother first introduced them at a community gathering; the exact occasion escapes me at the moment. The brother said that they had just come from Saudi Arabia and they were students at U.C.L.A. where my husband was attending. They had nothing but their clothes and, apparently, not a lot of money. Our community was small at that time, maybe about 12-15 families. We gave what we coud in the way of clothing and helped them locate apartments. There were 2 families with several children each. Both men were named Ibrahim, so we used to refer to them as the “Ibrahimi brothers”. Those who had spare furniture donated and soon they were settled.

Ramadan came and the Ibrahimi brothers and their families decided to have the community over for fatour. “My,” I thought when I heard the invitation, “they will have a lot of work to do preparing for all of us.”

The day came and we all met, first in one family’s apartment, then the brothers all left and went to the other apartment (they lived across the hall from each other). We sat patiently waiting for Maghrib and admiring how nicely the apartment was set up. The wives spoke very little English, but we were all willing to communicate, so words were not a barrier that pleasant evening. We were all lined up on their couches, one sister after another – and the children in between. When it was Maghrib, they gave us water, of course, but also Arabic coffee in little cups [finjaan] and dates.

The two sisters never sat, they went from one to the other and then back, pouring this delicious coffee that tasted so good with the dates. I kept thinking, “They cooked all the food and then they were still so busy serving us in these little tiny cups, all in a row.” We prayed and then they brought out the food they had prepared.

Well, it certainly was a visual delight as there were so many dishes that were so new to us. The colors and blends were so artistic. One dish I remember distinctly was made with what appeared to be mashed sweet potatoes covering a ground meat mixture on the bottom. It was like a golden shepherd’s pie. It was delicious.

The thing that was so outstanding was the graciousness of our hostesses and their willingness to please all of us. I’m sure they must have been cooking the entire day. They were very humble and kind people.

A few years later we moved to Saudi Arabia and my husband saw one of the “Ibrahimi” brothers. He and his friend had finished their education in America and returned home to take high positions in the government. They had done well and at that particular time (it was summer) they were a part of the King’s entourage who had travelled with him from Riyadh to Taif, a much cooler place for that time of year.

May they live to fast another Ramadan and may others be as generous with them as they were with us. As always, when I write about these Muslims who have affected our lives, I would like to ask you to make du’a for them and for the Muslim community world wide.

May Allah accept your fasting and grant us what He has promised about this month for those who fast sincerely – forgiveness and Paradise.

Omm Rafiq

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Allahumma, ij’al khaira a’marina awakhiraha,
wa khaira a’malina khawatimaha,
wa khaira ayyamina yaum nalqaka

O Allah, let our last days be the best days of our life
and our last deeds be the best of our deeds,
and the best day, the Day we meet You

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Arabian tea glass picture courtesy of Daniel Duchon from Stock Xchng