In Ramadan, Children of Jailed MB Leaders Still Hopeful
Anas Ayman Abd El-Ghany had been used to going to the mosque nearby his home with his father to perform i”tikaf (spiritual retreat) together during the last ten days of Ramadan.
Anas had hoped to perform i”tikaf last Ramadan in the mosque, but he couldn”t, as a visit to the prison of Tora in addition to a court session in the Hykestep desert was awaiting him. Moreover, he was now “man of the house.”
So Anas preferred not to perform i”tikaf that year in hope that he would be able to go with his father the following year after he was pleaded innocent. “My father is a good person and I”m sure the judge will set him free,” Anas said.
But the hopes of a child, who sees in his father the example of a citizen who loved his country and who, in return, was sentenced to prison for three years, were lost. His dream to perform i”tikaf with his father, once again, did not come true. Instead of the nearby mosque, Anas will be going to a place far away where his father and twenty seven others are retreating. It is a different kind of retreat, though, where the spacious mosques, glowing chandeliers, and high minarets, have been replaced with confined cells, iron gates and bars, and high prison walls.
Despite that this Ramadan has been the second for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders in the Tora prison, it has been, in fact, the first after their sentences, carrying more pain but also more hope for a better future that awaits them.
Mariam Ahmad Ashraf (one of the children of the MB leaders in prison) expressed her feelings saying, “Ramadan this year is different from the last. Last year, the military courts were still looking into the case, so we had hopes that our visits to Tora during Ramadan were going to be memories we would be recalling as we broke our fast together with our father this year. But the five-year prison sentence given to my father deprived us from being together in Ramadan and from recalling these memories.”
“The most painful thing that happened this Ramadan was seeing Walaa” (Ahmad Ashraf”s youngest child and Mariam”s youngest sibling) crying and refusing to have iftar (meal for breaking the day”s fast) without the presence of our father, especially since this was the first year for her to actually fast. It was very difficult to convince her to accept the new situation,” Mariam added.
“Anyhow, Ramadan is Ramadan, no matter what the situation is. Its spiritualities and spirits of faith always exist. In fact, the clearer picture of matters this Ramadan has helped us to turn and increase our devotion to worship during this holy month,” Mariam said.
As for Dr. Samira, wife of Dr. “Isam Hashish, she sees that “life is proceeding in its normal course, no matter what the circumstances or conditions may be. Surely, their presence in Tora is painful, but it doesn”t mean that the wheel of life has stopped. Our continuity means victory and the survival of our will supplied with increasing strength gained from the nights of Ramadan.”
Visiting hours to Tora prison regularly start at
Regarding this, Salwa, wife of Dr. “Isam Abd El-Mohsen, says, “In times other than Ramadan, we go as soon as visiting hours start to spend as much time as possible with them.” But in Ramadan we are impelled to delay our visit so that they could have enough time to rest after spending their night in prayers. So it becomes difficult for us to go early as we do regularly.”
Describing the visit, Salwa adds, “We spend the visit reviewing what we”ve memorized from the Quran, then we follow up on each other”s state of worship and other things we”ve decided upon such as prayers, reading Quran, and duaa” (supplication to God). The atmosphere of the visit is often very spiritual in which we enjoy the company of Allah (Glorified and Exalted Be He).”
Sarah Mohamed Ali Bishr sees that “Ramadan in Tora has a different spirit which makes the visit resemble a faith circle. Similarly, the manifestations of oppression that we see in the soldiers, secret agents, and even the walls surrounding us increase our attachment to God, Lord of all these agents.
“As we go to visit them, bearing the hardship of travelling and fasting, we sense Allah”s gentleness with us, and His patience from which He gave our fathers to make them steadfast.”
As such, Anas continues to wait for his father so that he could go with him to the mosque together, and Walaa” continues to hope that her father will join her at the table during iftar, and we all continue to wait.