In Search of a Tranquil Ramadan

My smoothie and fried atayef.

Dreaming of the ultimate spirituality and serenity this Ramadan, my plan was to quit my 9-5 job a couple of days before Ramadan started. I’ve always had this fantasy that taking a vacation for the whole Ramadan gives you more space for spirituality and religious rituals. Think of days full of Quran recitation, Zikr, Terawih prayers and even Qeyam! It would be definitely the Ramadan of all Ramadans!I couldn’t have been more naïve.To be honest, I have accomplished the part that always seem … [Read more...]

In Love with the Army: Media Images of Egyptian Women

[Source].

"This is a man adored by Egyptians. And if he wants to take four wives, we're at his service." The man in question is none other than the Egyptian Minister of Defense, General Abd ElFattah Al-Sisi (promoted recently to Field Marshal), and the “we” in “we’re at his service” refers to Egyptian women, according to an open proposal that was declared by the Egyptian columnist Ghada Sherif in an article last July, a few days after the call by the General for a national “mandate” to crack down on “terro … [Read more...]

Double Standards on Public Decency

A scene from Tamer Hosny's music video for Si El Sayed. [Source].

My cousin’s daughter is smart. She recently summed a deeply rooted societal problem in few words. The little girl is relatively chubby and her mom, my cousin, keeps giving her remarks on her weight and looks. At one point, she responded: “Don’t you see that you are fat too! Plus, you are the one who keep feeding me all the time!”Hypocrisy is the first word that came to my mind when I first saw this headline: “Morocco teens held for kissing photo on Facebook”. As mentioned in the story, the te … [Read more...]

The H Word: A Piece of Cloth Loaded with More Than It Can Bear?

Different styles of hijab reflect the influence of different ethnicities. [Source].

I have to admit that hijab narratives in media turn me off. Whether because it is exhaustively discussed or because most of these narratives rely heavily on clichés and fallacies, hijab is a subject that seems to me overloaded with notions that are not related in any way to what I see as the core of its true essence. However, being surrounded with multitudes of articles and reports on the topic, and being a Muslim woman living in a Muslim country that witnesses a shift in the way people perceive … [Read more...]

Women’s Involvement Is Nothing New

Women march to Tahrir on January 25, 2013. Credit Gigi Ibrahim

When you google the possible variations of these words: Women, Role & Arab Spring, you will be faced with massive numbers of articles, studies and interviews that examine thoroughly women’s involvement in the Arab Spring. The prevalent sentiment of such works revolves around how it's newsworthy that “Women played an active role during the Arab Spring” or “Women have emerged as key players in the Arab spring”.  What I read between lines is: It’s unbelievable to find you among the people who to … [Read more...]

9 Things That Make Ramadan Memories Special to Me

Suhur at the open yard of Sultan Eyup Mosque.

Ramadan is here! And although its true essence is all about our pursuit of spiritual elevation, we – Muslims – celebrate it in every way possible. Thus, special memories about Ramadan are engraved in our hearts, and I would like to share some of mine here.1. I was born in Ramadan: When I was a little kid, I thought this makes me special. Ramadan is a holy month and I always believed that anyone born in this month is holy or maybe a wali (saint)! This was my childhood wishful thinking, for I’m … [Read more...]

Empowered Women in the Age of the Harem

“Backwards” is the word often associated with pre-modern ages, and “oppression” is the word that comes to our minds first when we describe the state of women during those ages. Thank God we live in the modern age where human rights activism has brought women rights that they’ve never had before. Right?Sorry to shake your beliefs, but there existed times where pre-modern women (in Egypt in particular and the Middle East in general) were granted rights that modern women strive to acquire in man … [Read more...]


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