My “Anti-Social” Ramadan

I moved from India to the USA two months back, and my life has completely changed, as expected. Before Ramadan started, because of the very long days and the fact that I was the primary caretaker of my 1 year old (like most mothers are), I worried if I would be able to fast. With God's grace, I have been able to till now. All the Ramadans that I remember from my past are when I had busy schedules outside my home. Working full time for the last 9 years and before that of course bring in college, … [Read more...]

Solitude and Family: The Best of Both Worlds

As a child, I once visited my aunt in her husband’s house during Ramadan. She had dark circles around her eyes due to lack of sleep, and she was haggard and toiling in the kitchen. She told us that her husband and his brothers all had “varied” food habits when it came to breaking the fast.  And since her mother-in-law was too old to help, she had to do it all herself. This image became nightmarish for me. What about Ramadan’s spiritual benefits? In this case, won’t women dread Ramadan, if it mean … [Read more...]

Building Ramadan Traditions, Then and Now

When I chose Islam, almost a decade ago, I did not have much experience with fasting. I had grown up in not a very diverse environment and my experience with the Lent was very limited, coming from a Protestant background. Still, some years we would attend weekly “soup meetings,” where different families would come together during the Lent to eat soup. While eating soup for dinner might be a real challenge for some people, for the often frugal Dutch, it is a very common Sunday meal, so it’s hardl … [Read more...]

Aliyah’s Choice: The LA Times’ Profile of a Lesbian Muslim

It wasn’t but several years ago when a Google search for “gay Muslims” or “lesbian Muslims” turned up few results on actual people, mainly just pages on why homosexuality is a sin in Islam and perhaps one or two articles, usually focusing on men. Since then there’s been an increase in profiles on people who struggle to reconcile — or not reconcile — the two identities. Films like Parvez Sharma’s A Jihad for Love (2007) and the Channel 4 documentary Gay Muslims (2006) have added to coverage on th … [Read more...]