“Are you a Muslim of Ramazan?”

The Holy month of Ramazan has been shadowing the heads of Muslims for a while now. This is the month of spirituality, in which Muslims have the chance to build their characters, renew their faith further, strengthen their relationship with Allah (swt), and truly follow the teachings of their faith. This month is believed to be the “spring season of good deeds”, for even small deeds done with a good intention carry a lot of weight. This is why during this month, Muslims try their level best to gain more and more rewards. One can only hope that our good deeds not ...

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In Pakistan, restaurants only care if you fast, but not if you pray

“Fast, pray, feast!” This attractive marketing tagline, alongside tempting pictures of food, is being circulated by a well-known eatery this Ramazan, as is the case every year. Not only is the food tempting, but also the deals. And why not? When one opens their fast at sunset in this most special month for Muslims, delicious food is but a must. But there is one issue. While they openly marketed the “pray” bit, there is no place for praying if you go to said eatery for an iftar deal. A young girl I spoke with who went there with her friend ...

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“Apna ghar khud sambhalo” – When parents throw their married daughters under the bus

Recently, a discussion was going on at a relative’s house amongst some aunties and uncles regarding parents’ support to their daughters after marriage, and its consequences. Unsurprisingly, most of them were of the view that a girl can never become a successful homemaker if her parents keep backing her after her marriage. They were of the view that parents should never assist their daughter after getting her hitched. No matter what the circumstances she goes through, they should push her to compromise as if she has no other option left. Some of the ladies were proudly narrating such instances from ...

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How controversial is ‘The Spy Chronicles’?

The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace, co-authored by former ISI Chief Asad Durrani, former RAW Chief AS Dulat, and journalist Aditya Sinha, has rightly created a buzz around the subcontinent. After all, two former counterparts from rival agencies coming together to compile a book on sensitive issues – especially pertaining to backchannel diplomacy and events relating to security and foreign policy matters – is a unique experience on its own. The book is narrated conversationally, where Sinha initiates the conversation between Durrani and Dulat. It has seven chapters, and each and every one is detail oriented. It ...

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#PunishSadatBashir: Are 80 voices not proof enough?

Online feminist campaigns such as #MeToo have brought down many titans of toxic masculinity. Famous international cases include James Dean, a famous adult actor who was accused by many women of sexually assaulting them. The House of Cards star and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey too was accused by a man of sexually assaulting him and is currently under police investigation, after having his contract with Netflix ended for his shameful conduct. The never-ending list of accused also includes other former legends like Bill Cosby and recent addition, Morgan Freeman. In all these cases, the allegations have been and are undergoing investigation by relevant authorities. Careers have taken ...

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Since when is PTI’s right turn a U-turn?

I can see social media platforms and news channels debating over Imran Khan’s change of choice regarding caretaker chief minister for Punjab. The elections are near, and quite literally, the heat of it and the scorching sun can be felt. Let us take a step back and end the sudden “U-turn” debate that has taken the media and the people by storm. The system says that the chief minister and the opposition leader are both to mutually decide on the name of the ‘caretaker’, who shall be in charge for three months. Now, let us emphasise on the aspect ...

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“Look at his arms, they’re huge”: The naked truth of how men have body image issues too

A few months ago, my brother and I were at the grocery store picking up some snacks for movie night. The checkout line was stocked with entertainment magazines and tabloid covers. One of them was Men’s Health – I don’t remember what was on the cover, but they’re all the same.  “Drop 10 pounds of fat now!” “Three ways to naturally boost your testosterone.” “Get huge arms and a chiseled six-pack fast!”  Something like that, I’m sure. What I do remember is that the cover model’s arms looked as wide as my head, and his abs may as well have been sculpted by ...

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The downfall of Bahria University: From a prestigious institute to the “six-inch university”

“Men and women are to maintain a distance of at least six inches while sitting/standing together.” Imagine reading this somewhere, or hearing about it. What would your first reaction be? Perhaps something like, “Oh my God! The Taliban are back! They must have started enforcing their version of Shariah, and are probably planning to bring the days of terror back to the country!” If so, relax! This notice wasn’t issued by those fanatics, but by a renowned semi-government university, and is applicable only within its premises. It all began when a notice was issued by Bahria University’s (BU) director, requiring male and female ...

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I am a Muslim, but I fake fasting in Ramazan

It’s Ramazan and my mother is in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove preparing a big feast. She’s fasting, even though she is a 64-year-old diabetic. As for myself? Earlier in the day, I had a huge fish and chips platter for lunch, but my Muslim family believes I’m fasting with them. This has gone on for years. During the month of Ramazan, most of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims will observe by basically not partaking in any vice for 30 days. From sunrise to sunset, all able-bodied Muslims are required to “fast”; prohibited from eating, drinking (yes, even ...

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Feminism needs to cater to Muslim women, not the other way around

Feminism needs to include women of colour, Muslim women, disabled women, sex workers, trans women, gay women, queer women, fat women, skinny women. It needs to cater to all women. The fact that the term ‘intersectional feminism’ exists proves that the general movement is often exclusive and largely white. Mainstream, western feminism isn’t always intersectional. There are feminists who often don’t realise or can’t relate to the fact that for women of colour, of different faiths, abilities, it’s not just gender that they’re discriminated on. Such women are affected by these circumstances professionally, socially and mentally, and yet don’t always receive the ...

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