Darkest Before Dawn: Ramadan in a Time of Disillusionment

Salwa Bugaighis. [Source].

On June 25th, Salwa Bugaighis was shot dead at her home in Benghazi. A human rights activist and lawyer, Bugaighis was a charismatic figure who played a leadership role in the uprising and in the women's movement, supporting a campaign which sought to establish minimum quotas for female lawmakers in parliament as well as being vice-president of a preparatory committee for national dialogue that travelled around the country holding town hall meetings – one of the few post-2011 initiatives in L … [Read more...]

I <3 the Moon Calendar

Pumpkin with a palm tree and crescent moon carved into it.

This post was written by Brooke Benoit and originally published on her blog.This Ramadan is hard. Right smack in the middle of summer, these are the longest fasts of my Muslim life, it’s hot, and the kids are home all day. Well, my kids are always home all day, but I’m sure that’s an extra challenge for most Ramadaners.I have six children and they are currently kind of a mess. My eldest two want to just stay up all night so as to not miss suhoor and indeed they are very hard to wake for s … [Read more...]

Celebrating Ramadan Away from Home with Two Boys and a Sparkling Crescent

Yousuf and Ghazi.

Back where I grew up, in the United Arab Emirates, we never decorated for Ramadan or Eid. We used to celebrate with lots of food and prayers, but lights and sparkling decorations were never part of that celebration. We were actually happy with the Ramadan atmosphere: shorter school hours, having Iftar after hearing the Maghreb Azan and the firing of the Ramadan cannon, and of course, the different types of desserts especially made for the holy month, which include Qatayef and Kanafeh.A … [Read more...]

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 Jam-Making and Ramadan

Local strawberries.

How is it that the first week of Ramadan has already gone by? It’s been a bit of a struggle for me to let go of some of my commitments to spend more time on reflecting this month. With the fasts being as long as they are (~17ish hours, if I’ve done my math correctly), alongside full-time work, I haven’t been to my local masjid yet for the evening tarawih prayers. I’m usually asleep shortly after my evening meal, waking up the next morning to pray isha, eat suhoor, pray fajr, nap (if I can fall ba … [Read more...]

Should I or Shouldn’t I: Confusions about Fasting while Breastfeeding

I am in that phase of my life where I am exclusively breastfeeding, I have a three-month-old baby, and it’s Ramadan. This is that elusive phase where I can get away with not fasting. The question remains: should I? Considering that I have been blessed to fast all my adult life, and part of my childhood too, I am reflecting on what the past Ramadans have been for me, in order to decide which way to choose this year.SpiritualityRamadan is about how much closer to Allah we get during this m … [Read more...]

Mutant Bread and Exploding Oatmeal: Holiday Foods Gone Wild

My dad and me, many years ago.  Bread making starts early in the Riley household.

When people talk about Ramadan and Eid traditions, food is one of the most recurring topics.  Usually this comes up in nostalgic stories about childhood favourites, or about delicious iftar memories.But, well, those aren’t the only reasons that holiday foods might be remembered.  Sometimes the reasons for the memories are a little more, shall we say, disastrous.  Or, at the very least, unexpected.This year's Ramadan started off with a delicious and beautiful suhoor spread prepared by … [Read more...]


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