Half a Ramadan is Still a Ramadan


Having spent two Ramadans in the Netherlands now, I still can’t get used to the lonely and isolating experience of fasting without an extended network of family and friends. But I must count my blessings. I have a wonderful husband who doesn’t think twice about helping to cook sahur and iftar, and I have amazing friends sparsely distributed in several towns around my own. When we manage to get together once in a few months for a meal (and one iftar), it means the world to me.I still find … [Read more...]

Faster’s Remorse

Baby and baba, contemplating important Ramadan lessons.

This post was written by guest contributor Nicole Hunter Mostafa.My non-Muslim friends and family may have a hard time understanding why, but Ramadan is a wonderful time of year for me. Of course, it’s difficult to fast, especially during the summer months, but regardless of the time of year, it’s always lovely when Ramadan rolls around again, not least of all because it’s a time when I get to eat food that’s reserved for this month.The first time I fasted for Ramadan, I was not yet Musli … [Read more...]

Non-Traditional Foodisms in Ramadan

My son and I finishing off suhoor.

Every Ramadan, there are delicious food articles and recipe ideas published on various sites and magazines. They are often inspired by peoples’ lived experience with food, memories of traditions and practical ideas for meal preparation in Ramadan.A delicious chutney accompanying a home-cooked samosa, fresh juices, Rooh Azfa cocktails, traditional rice dishes, divinely prepared meats and wonderful smorgasbord of delights at iftaar time. My mother-in-law is a fantastic cook and has spent m … [Read more...]

Solitude and Family: The Best of Both Worlds

The 100% homemade iftar.

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...]

Ramadan: The Mother and Activist


Ramadan for me personally has always been a month of compassion, congregation and contemplation. However, last year in Ramadan, my entire days and nights revolved around caring for my then-one-month-old twins.Time passed by like a whirlwind; I have vague memories of feeding, burping, changing, and rocking babies to sleep – all the while trying to maintain some semblance of spirituality. Just one Ramadan before that, I had all the time in the world to pray, attend congregational prayers a … [Read more...]

Iftar in a Nigerian Home

Iftar in a Nigerian home.

I am usually not good at taking pictures of food because I tend to have eaten halfway through before remembering to take a photo. Therefore, this is a rare photo of a typical iftar at home, that is, at my mother's.Starting from the cup of water, which is at the bottom right, and moving anti-clockwise: … [Read more...]

Common Ground: Sexist Ramadan “Mistakes”

For many of us, the last few weeks before the start of Ramadan mark a time to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually for gaining the benefits of the month ahead.As such, the mass email forwards began arriving in my inbox in early August, with lists prepared by various Muslim institutions gently reminding the faithful to beware of the “Common Mistakes Made During Ramadan.”The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, recently published one … [Read more...]