It was the first day of Ramaḍān in the UK when Mawlānā Us̱mān Ganī of Blackburn, Mawlānā Ibrāhīm Khān of Bradford and I set off in the early hours for Heathrow airport for a flight to Lisbon, Portugal. The three of us were travelling there to lead the Tarāwīh prayers. At Lisbon airport, Mawlānā Ibrāhīm Khān went with his host, and Mawlānā Us̱mān and I ended up in a small town called Portela.
The housing structure was fascinating, contrastingly different to Blackburn; multiple storey buildings with people living in apartments and flats. Our hosts were two brothers, Anwar & Sikander (brothers of Ayyūb Bhai Accountant & YāꜤqūb Bhai Mozambique) and our Musalla was a small ꜤIbādat Khānā in a car park of a shopping complex.
We had a superb time in Portela. Once again, Ramaḍān was in the hot summer months and everything used to come to life after ꜤAṣr. We had plenty of Ifṭār dāwats and made plenty of friends. Brothers Muḥammad Bhai & YāꜤqūb Bhai hosted us a number of times. Muḥammad Bhai’s son Ādam and another friend by the name of Us̱mān got on very well with us.
We had met Us̱mān in Portela and quickly discovered a common interest, football. He was a fan of Sporting Lisbon FC. It was the last game of the season, and Us̱mān managed to get some tickets to watch Benfica v Sporting Lisbon FC. On a blistering day, with sweltering temperatures and rozā (fast), we spent many hours getting to and from the stadium, amongst a crowd of 120,000. The game was a memorable one, with Benfica winning 3-1 and being crowned champions.
We went sightseeing to a few places, including Lisbon, and met our Dārul Uloom Bury colleague Mawlānā Rashīd a number of times in his home town of Laranjeiro. Some 20 to 40 people used to come for Tarāwīh, and after completing the QurꜤān we returned back to the UK, in good time for ꜤEid.