Syrian Series “Bab Al Hara” and the Need to Combat Traditional Images of Women

Image from Bab Al Hara.

Every year, the holy month of Ramadan brings lots of spiritual moments, as well as hours of continuous entertainment in the form of shows and soap operas. Every Ramadan, I pick a number of soap operas to watch and write about. This year, there was a large number of television series that discussed issues faced by women in Arab societies. Some issues included women in prisons, such as Egyptian series Sijn Al Nesa, and women in wars and revolution, such as Syrian series Halawet Al Rouh.On … [Read more...]

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...]

A Worship that Works

Image provided by the author.

My son is already almost six months old, but I haven’t fully absorbed the fact that I’m a mother to someone. I always found it funny when people said mak orang (lit. “someone’s mother”) in Malay, but this time it’s me they’re talking about.Don’t get me wrong: I love my son and I love mothering. Soon after I last reflected on fasting while breastfeeding, I decided to give it a try. We started Ramadan in the Netherlands, where there was 19.5 hours of daylight. With a cold circulating in our … [Read more...]

To Remember God, We Need a Heart

[Image source].

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely. [8:2] It doesn't feel like Ramadan.The excitement, the struggle of the fast, the security of knowing that every good action is an added blessing, exercising patience and feeling contentment when tested, the thrill of biting into a sweet date at iftar, the peace of sitting in the mosque and smelling the … [Read more...]

Life After Death in Ramadan: An “Honorary” Widow’s Story

Photo by author

Originally published at the author's personal blog, Identity Crisis.I don’t tell my story so people feel pity  or sympathy. I write it because it allows me to break down into pieces the reality that follows the death of a loved one. Ramadan is often said to be a month of reflection and closeness with Allah; yet for me it has been a month of questions. I constantly find myself asking, what if…?, why would…?, how could I have…? But it turns out that despite Ramadan being the month of reflec … [Read more...]

Ramadan Blues and Mommy Guilt

This past May, I was blessed to give birth to a beautiful baby boy. It took a bit of adjusting, but as we already have two girls, I do view myself as a slightly experienced parent and as such, I was prepared. I knew what to expect, kind of. Compared to my previous experiences, this time has been a breeze, thank God. Baby eats well, my body has been healing well, and I have been able to sleep quite a bit. Not enough, but quite a bit. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, is the spiritual wasteland … [Read more...]

The Ramadan Samosa Wars

Hard-earned samosas.

“She knows paradise is a triangle. And she’s at the bloody gate.” Ramadan is an incredible time for spiritual rejuvenation. It is a time to focus on worship and ask God Almighty for forgiveness and benefit from His Infinite Mercy. It is a time to be thankful, share blessed meals with others, and reflect. It is also a time to revel in the tradition of fried foods at iftaar time. Deep. Fried. Foods. My family members are not a picky lot but when it comes time to break their fasts, but they requi … [Read more...]


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