The month of Ramadan in Kuwait has a distinctive flavor with its celebratory atmosphere where the Houses of Allah (mosques) welcome fasting people of the Quran and the prayers in a blessed race for doing good.
Ramadan in Kuwait has a magical peculiarity with mosques being full of worshippers and guests of the Gracious. They come to the meals of the generous in this blessed month, and when mosques witness the performance of prayers: Al-Feroudh, Al-Taraweeh and Al-Qiyam in splendid scenes day and night. Societies, charitable committees and institutions become active, offering all kinds of sadakas (handouts) and zakats (alms) and open their doors to receive the generous donors to be distributed on those who deserve it of the poor and the needy inside and outside the country.
In an interview with Youssef Abdulrahman, writer, journalist and general supervisor of the Abu Alhasaniya charitable project, he said: “What we see today of faith, spiritual and volunteering manifestations are traditions of the inherited beautiful past of Kuwait’s people. They are basically traditional families which undertook and became accustomed to these deeds especially in Ramadan. They are deeds of spending and trade with Allah. Those familiar with the people of Kuwait know that they are used since old times to offering ‘Al-Nafilah’ each Monday and Thursday for their dead. The old Awqaf testaments support these waqf projects concerning sadakats, zakawats, athlath and nouzour.”
Reading the Quran
Abdulrahman added that the people of Kuwait have always prided themselves on completing the reading of the Quran in this blessed month and urge their sons and daughters to do this completion more than once. They perform Al-Taraweeh and Al-Qiyam prayers. Religious forums and lectures are held in the mosques after Al-Asr prayers, which hosts major scholars from other countries in addition to the Kuwaiti scholars who enliven these mosques with religious lessons and sermons.
Abdulrahman pointed out that “the Abu Alhasaniyah charitable project began in 2000 with 250 fasters. Last year, the number of those offered iftar meals exceeded 6,000 of the guests of the Gracious from all Arab and Asian nationalities, spread over the projects mosques.” These mosques are: Haya Alibrahim mosque in Abu Alhasaniya, Al-Romaih mosque in Al-Fintas, Maryam Al-Dokhan in Al-Mahboula, Al-Kindari mosque in Sabah Al-Salem, Khalid Al-Marzooq mosque in Souk Al-Salmiya, Sobhan mosque, Ibn Shitan mosque in Al-Farwaniya, Al-Khitabi mosque in Jaber Al-Ahmad, Walid Al-Marzooq mosque in Al-Khairan. The latter was donated by an honorable donor and allowed residents of the area to offer their contributions of materials and water, Abdulrahman said. “It offered donors the opportunity for active participation in a philanthropic projects,” he added.
The general supervisor of the Abu Alhasaniya charitable project added that it has become one of the major charitable projects which serve hot food, with five fasters sitting to one table in an air-conditioned atmosphere. The main meal can contain meat or chicken, and other items are added to it including yogurt, juice, dates, salads and often sweets given by donors.
Abdulrahman pointed out that Ramadan ‘Ghabga’ is a deep-rooted traditional habit in Kuwait regarded by Kuwaiti families as a popular inheritance, and it is presented after Al-Taraweeh Prayers especially during the reception of well-wishers on the occasion of Ramadan. In fact, foods served during ‘Ghabga’ consisted in the past of ‘nakhi’ (boiled chickpeas), ‘pajella’ (boiled broad beans), balalet (sweet vermicelli), muhallabia (pudding), custard, juice and ‘shenialy’ (fried dough with sugar). But with the advances of social media use, the concept of foods served during ‘Ghabga’ changed and was replaced by orders for pastry, Kebab and confectionery, in addition to old original sweets such as ‘allukaymat and alzalabia’ (dumplings). “Of course we have now various kinds of Arabian and Western cuisines,” he added.
Abdulrahman went on saying: “one of the inherited habits still being celebrated is the habit of the last day of the month of Shaaban in preparation for the beginning of Ramadan, known as ‘Gareesh.’ There are now many companies, societies and associations that provide their the public with ‘Gareesh’ preparations so that all will be gathered around this lavish Shaabanic and popular table.”
Last ten days
Concerning the last ten days of Ramadan, Abdulrahman said: “Kuwaitis have always been keen to observe the last ten days [of Ramadan[ since old times by dedicating their full time to worship, prayers, Quran reading, performing alqiyam and giving zakat. This time also witnesses great activity in exchanging foods between neighbors, especially the mosque neighbors and the mosque worshippers as well as the passersby.”
And regarding the charity activity which Kuwait is characterized by , Abdulrahman said: “Kuwait has been known since old times as a generous country, and for this reason the ancestors were keen to make their Waqf as a place to give ‘Al-Nafilat.’ But the societies and charity committees stand up today as a good front and a good beacon in Kuwait, especially that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has earned the title of the Humanitarian Leader, and Kuwait became a capital of human work.”
This is not surprising for Kuwait, His Highness the Amir, the government and the people because Kuwait has always been a donor country since independence,” Abdulrahman added. “Furthermore, Kuwait gives aid to all peoples of the world, not to mention that Kuwait has also financed hundreds of thousands of mosques, universities, and cultural centers, while it helped in the development process of the poor Arab and Islamic states.”
Abdulrahman added: “Before Eid Al-Fitr, the people of Kuwait offer ‘Zakat Al-Fitr’ to purify their fasting. The donation is given in the form of rice or money. They are also keen to give Eid clothes to orphans and the poor so that they can celebrate Eid in their best appearance.”
“Finally, I would like to advise donors to be wary of those pretending to be doing good but who are in fact frauds and cons and who make false claims about belonging to well-known charitable societies and committees,” Abdulrahman said. “I pray to Allah Almighty to protect Kuwait, the Amir, the government, the people, the parliament, the army and the expatriates as well as all the lands of Islam from all misfortunes. Bless you in this month and best wishes for a year of goodness, prosperity, security and happiness.”