Stories about ramazan

Refusing to treat sweepers in Ramazan only highlights our doctors’ unethical unprofessionalism

“Primum non nocere” is Latin for “first, do no harm”. Although not overtly found in the text of the original Hippocratic Oath, the message in that Latin phrase holds firm for students making the transition from medical apprenticeship to medical practice. Scholars have widely attributed the oath to Hippocrates, the father of western medicine. As their rite of passage, young doctors graduating from medical schools the world over take some modern version or another of the oath, several in their own languages. Medical schools in Pakistan follow suit in terms of the oath being taken by students prior to practicing as independent doctors, with valid medical licenses ...

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Date shake, hummus, bite-sized sandwiches and peri bites – what more can one want for iftar?

Once again, I’m reminiscing about UK times. Iftar was an exorbitant affair. We used to open our fasts in the campus mosque where different groups of people, usually from the local community, used to host iftars. The menu was different every day, and in addition to desi pakoras, jalebis and samosas followed by qorma, biryani or pulao, we got to experience different dishes from around the world. They ranged from Malaysian satay and lemang to Arabian Margoog and Kabsa. Rooh Afza was of course the staple drink, the undisputed favourite transcending all cultural barriers. In Pakistan, we are experiencing long ...

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Brace your wallets, Ramazan is coming

I first heard the story many years ago, and every year I hear it at least once.  Most Pakistanis are probably familiar with it, but it bears repeating, for those who’ve never heard it. It goes like this: In the early years of Islam, a preacher from a town sent his assistant to tell the people of a distant village in the mountains about Ramazan. He told them how they would have to get up before daybreak, eat food and drink water, then go without water and food until sunset, beginning with the appearance of the new moon and ending with the appearance of the ...

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15-minute recipes for a scrumptious and easy sehri: Spicy daal and fried qeema

The month of Ramazan is just a couple of days away, and for Muslims around the world, it represents patience, compassion and self-restraint. Oh, and of course thirst and hunger. Naturally, all this demands a fulfilling sehri to help us survive the long summer days we’re about to experience. I still remember the good old days when Ramazan used to fall during winter. The roza used to last for mere seven to eight hours – something that seemed never ending back then, but compared to these summer rozas, seem miniscule. One of the best Ramazans I spent was when I had gone for my Masters to the UK. Sehri used to ...

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This Ramazan, let’s make sure that converts are as much part of the faith as us

Ramazan and I are old friends. From a young age, mother would always let me stay up well into the night to fold samosas (fried dish with savoury filling) and fatayer (Middle Eastern meat pie) for the next day. For me, Ramazan means sleepy eyes, knowing smiles, and a month of eating on the floor with my family and praying with friends at the mosque I grew up in. More than anything, Ramazan means coming home – back to my community, back to my mama’s kitchen, and back to the One who sustains me. We are the lucky ones, those of us who have those deep traditions to fall ...

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The spirit of NYC taught me about the simplicity of religion

I had always dreamt of living in one of the biggest cities of the world, and walking around the streets of Manhattan was one of those dreams. I wanted to feel the adrenaline rush as I walked with the high-end elites and saw their exotic taste in fashion with my own eyes. And when I got the chance to live in New York, I realised that the people in the fashion magazines and on the cover pages really do exist. Manhattan had always been a kind of illusion – girls click-clacking in their top-shop heels, sashaying around with their Gucci bags ...

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Is papri chaat really healthy?

Who doesn’t love chaat? All those gorgeous chutneys and crunchy things cascading over boiled chickpeas and potatoes! Of course once you add all those sugary chutneys, deep fried papris, sev and everything else to a humble bowl of chickpeas and potatoes you aren’t exactly left with something that’s healthy. Maybe that’s not the point, maybe chaat isn’t supposed to be healthy. What if it can be though? Enter my Mexican tortilla papri chaat. So why a Mexican tortilla papri chaat? I loved the idea of these flavours and this spin on a popular desi dish. I think it’s because growing up quesada’s and nachos ...

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He was only a Buddhist by salutations, just like we are only Muslims by virtue of rituals

If you visit the Tiananmen Square at any given day, you’ll see hoards of people flocking around in large groups. Some can be seen led by a guide, others trying to find an inlet to the tunnels that lead to the main square, turning the entire landmark into a beehive. Besides being the womb of the People’s Republic of China where Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, the square also houses the Chairman’s mausoleum. On my 10 day visit to China, I found the Tiananmen Square to be the most religious of all spaces. It ...

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“There will be no Eid here. Eid makes no difference to me”

“Eid makes no difference to me. I only wait for rain.” He answered. Standing under a rare tree shade Ali Murad Sathio waited for his turn to get water from the pump. Yes, it was true. He did not care for Eid – or any event, for that matter. It had been a few years since he stopped caring. Still, whenever someone mentioned Eid, his thoughts travelled back to the fateful Eid days, three-years-ago. His beautiful mother had prepared him for Eid day. She had managed to cook one sweet dish which was as delicious as the nectar of the heavens. Or at least that was how ...

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Do we deserve to ‘celebrate’ Eidul Fitr this year?

“Chand nazar agaya! Ramazan Kareem! Kal se rozay shuroo.” (We can see the moon! Ramazan Kareem! Fasting begins tomorrow) Some spend the night before in prayer. Others clink glasses and prepare for the pause in self-induced inebriation. Others stock up on Rooh Afza and pakora mix. Some can’t wait to be put in a food detox in hopes that they will lose the last few pounds during the holy month. The others are scared those extra pounds will sneak up on them. Some prepare a week in advance, cleaning out their savings account so that the banks don’t deduct zakat fees that they are liable to ...

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