Roumana Makes Suhoor

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For Allah and His friends who fed me

It was very quiet on one Ramadan night,
when little Roumana woke up from a light.
Mama was still sleeping, she heard Baba snore,
then Roumana realized, “It’s time for suhoor!”

She ran up to the kitchen sink, breathing heavily,
yelling to Mama’s cheesecloth, “Wake up, Labneh!”
Labneh yawned as she was straining, 
as her whey was drip-drip-draining.
“I need a few more minutes,” whispered Labneh.
“But why?” Roumana asked. “I’m so hungry!”
Labneh laughed, Roumana stirred,
“You need to sprinkle some sabr,
Just like you sprinkle some zaatar.
So please oh please come back later.”

Roumana rushed to the pantry, where Pita was sitting,
and the clock in the room was tick-tick-ticking.
“Just like Labneh, I take a while to bake.
Know this: good things come to those who wait!”
The little girl smiled and took out the bread,
then began to arrange it around the suhoor spread.

Then Zeit and Zeitouni went back and forth,
“The table should have plates and forks!”
As Roumana set out the pots and pans,
She had an idea, and said, “Let’s use our hands!”
Zeit gasped, “Yes! It’s the sunnah of the Nabi!”
Zetouni added, “And we’ll have less dishes to wash, maybe!”
So Roumana smiled at them and she laughed,
until she realized her time had cut in half.

She huffed and puffed, running back to Labneh, 
who, on queue, was saying, “I’m ready, I’m ready!”
Roumana scooped Labneh into a bowl,
then opened up a can of Ful,
added Zeitouni onto each plate,
made sure to add a lot of Zeit,
poured out the Murabba,
when all of a sudden,
she heard a loud sound, and then,
realized it was the voice of a mu’addhin.

“Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!”
“Mama! Baba! It’s Fajr, it’s Fajr!”
Roumana started to cry.
And her parents wiped her eyes. 

As they helped Roumana clean up the kitchen,
They reminded her, “We’re rewarded for our intention.
You must remember, though we didn’t get to eat,
Allah is so merciful, He counted your good deed!”
They prayed two rakat for Fajr,
and stayed up a little, doing some dhikr.

Back to her bed Roumana returned,
reflecting on the lessons she’d learned.
Sabr was the first of the day,
and to do things the Prophet’s ﷺ way.
Intention is important, so is ihsan,
even if things don’t go according to plan.

On and on she continued, until she dozed off,
awaking with a start at her alarm clock.
“I thought I only slept for a bit…
Could it be time for Maghrib?”
She walked to the kitchen, letting her eyes blink,
when she saw that the cheesecloth was still in the sink.
And then she realized that it was still night!
So Roumana ran to her parents’ lamplight.
Mama was still sleeping, she heard Baba snore,
“Wake up, Mama and Baba. Let’s make suhoor.”

Hannah Alkadi is a lawful good social media master, cat mom, and total nerd. She began writing in the pixels of online threads among friends since she was 13 and continues now in the pages of her first novel idea. Her work has been featured in Amaliah.

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