Azra Aleem – Social Worker – Azra Aleem considers Oman her second home. The mother of three arrived in Muscat from Pakistan in 1984 and have gone through different careers since she got here. Popular in the advertising industry, Aleem has been doing social work in the Sultanate since 1995.
What is the significance of Ramadhan for you? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The month of Ramadan to me is a time to reflect upon ourselves, learn how to better control our impulses and allow it to become a habit for the rest of the year. Ramadhan is very close to my heart as it holds high religious importance as well as it is a custom and tradition I grow up with.
How do you (and your family) celebrate Ramadhan? Do you have a family tradition?
We have rich family tradition. One of which all family members and relatives assemble at one of our places and break fast together with all due diligence and piety. It is also the time to collect as many good deeds as we can, and a time to share food and kindness and time to connect with Allah SWT.
What is your fondest memory of Ramadhan growing up?
There are a lot. As children, we were requested to fast by elders but it was not cumpolsory. We children used to fast and compete with each other and the divine moments of iftar is something which cannot be forgotten till our the last breath.
Do you help the poor during Ramadhan and how?
Of course, yes. We have several programmes currently running in association with many local charity institutions. The essence of Ramadhan is to feel the hunger of the poor and needy, and to ask Allah SWT forgiveness and mercy.
What’s the most difficult challenge you have to personally overcome during Ramadhan?
Nowadays, the holy month of Ramadhan falls on peak summer months frightening us of seemingly increased fatigue and thirst. But in reality, no heat or summer can shake our determination to fast.