Finding My Ramadan Prayers

My prayer book.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the easiest duties for me as a Muslim. Even though I've struggled with my faith and with praying five times daily, I always maintain my fast, and passionately too. This year I started fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, according to Sunnah, after considering it for a while. My mother and elders encouraged me to by telling me of the benefits I would enjoy by fasting outside Ramadan, and on my part I quite liked the prospect of saving up on lunch money, as eating out … [Read more...]

On Wasila Umaru and Child Marriage

The plight of Nigerian girls recently caught the attention of the world after the kidnapping of several hundred schoolgirls in Chibok over a month ago. Another story did not garner as much attention from either local or international media: that of Wasila Umaru. Apparently forced to marry a man in his thirties, Umaru Sani, and endure the reality of being a child bride, 14-year-old Wasila Umaru took matters in her own hands 17 days after the wedding ceremony. In April, Wasila was detained by the … [Read more...]

“Allah Makes Muslims, Allah Makes Queers”: A Interview with Terna Tilley-Gyado of Coming Out Muslim

coming out muslim

Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love is a storytelling performance that highlights the experiences of LGBT Muslims. While I was aware of Coming Out Muslim, I did not realise that one of the people behind the project is a West African Muslimah. I was connected with Terna Tilley-Gyado through a mutual friend Mikael Owunna and I am honoured to have had this interview with her.Anike: Please introduce yourself.Terna Tilly-Gyado: My name is Terna. I am a healer, artist, educator, and … [Read more...]

Radio Amina and Aisha’s Song: Short Films Giving a Voice to Nigerian Girls

aisha's song

Radio Amina and Aisha’s Song are two documentary-style short films produced by Grain Media, a London-based production company, as part of the Girl Effect campaign, a movement that states that the 250 million adolescent girls who live poverty are the most powerful force for change on the planet. Following that theme, Radio Amina and Aisha’s Song focus on two young girls in Kano, the bustling metropolitan Northern Nigerian city. Both films give us glimpses into the lives of underprivileged girls li … [Read more...]

Forced Conversions and the Nigerian Media

If Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, the fastest growing religion in African countries may be Christianity. In Nigeria, it is so rare to see or hear news of women converting to any religion other than Christianity that when it does happen, the initial assumption is that the conversion must have been forced. Interestingly I did a simple search on conversions to Islam in Nigeria, on scanning the first couple of pages a trend became clear. Where it was women converting, the … [Read more...]

The #ChildNotBride Debacle in Nigeria

An image from the #ChildNotBride campaign. Via The Stream.

During Ramadan, a great uproar took place in Nigeria over actions by the government that were interpreted as trying to legalise child marriage. During a constitutional review, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima argued that a subsection of Nigeria's 1999 constitution should not be removed as it affects the rights of Muslim women. Section 29 of the Nigerian constitution allows Nigerian citizens aged 18 and above to give up their citizenship. Section 29, 4(b) goes on further to elaborate that any married … [Read more...]

Tired of Explaining: An Interfaith Relationship in Ramadan

This year marks the second or third time I’ve observed Ramadan as an adult in Nigeria. I have always been aware of how ethnic and religious lines are drawn in Nigeria but each time I am in the country, it always strikes me again like a slap in the face. In a context where hyper-religiosity is the norm, where on every street corner there is at least one or two churches plus an equal number of mosques, and lines are drawn between Islam and Christianity (all other religions are ignored), religion b … [Read more...]


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