Stories about ramazan

So what if she is 8-months old? She is Ahmadi, kill her!

As Pakistanis prepare for the end of Ramazan and the arrival of Eid, we come across the news that an Ahmadi residence was set on fire by a mob, killing a mother and her two daughters, five-year-old Kainat and eight-month-old Hira. As are most religious crimes of vengeance, this incident also has roots in our archaic notion of blasphemy. People are only too keen to take justice into their own hands when it comes to religious sentiments, as this incident shows. Minorities bear the brunt of such accusations, although blasphemy laws have been used against Sunni Muslims as well to settle land and ...

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Soufflé, the mango-licious way!

Mangoes, especially the luscious Chaunsa, evoke happy memories of sultry summer evenings with my late father when a mango mania of sorts would prevail over our home. A connoisseur of fine food, he would narrate numerous stories of the famous 19th century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib’s love for mangoes as part of the ritual of devouring them. It is well-known that Ghalib’s love for mangoes took precedence over his love for poetry and this oft repeated anecdote about a donkey is my favourite; a close friend of Ghalib’s, who saw a donkey sniffing and then turning away from a heap ...

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Do your parents a favour and eat at home this Ramazan

According to a recent research, people in Pakistan spend 47.7% of their income on fast food and beverages. If we compare this to the spending patterns of other countries we will realise that this is, in fact, a very high ratio. Eating out is a popular pastime for the people of Pakistan – we are seen at restaurants, food courts and even food stands during festivals and celebrations. Ramazan, ironically, is like a month of food festivities for us. With people choosing different food for sehri and iftar, in Ramazan we are seen frequenting food outlets a lot more than in any ...

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Cheaper by the dozen and fasting for two this Ramazan

If you remember in the book ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ (the movie was awful), Mr Gilbraith had the entire family’s (he had 12 kids) tonsils removed on the same day because it was ‘cheaper by the dozen’. The temptation to get the most out of one’s money has always been present; you see the yearning everywhere. Recognising this very fact, market gurus have come up with ‘two for one’ deals which everyone loves, for good reason. I do too myself. You can get useful things like two cartons of diapers for the price of one, two boxes of cereal for the price of ...

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Brother, you are from Pakistan and you don’t speak Arabic?

One of the biggest advantages of living abroad is the chance to hear what people think about your country. I have been living in Germany for the last three months and during this short stay, I have made friends from different regions of the world. At first, it appeared mystifying, the fact that everyone that I had met, knew something about Pakistan. It is no surprise that with the ongoing situation in Pakistan, where every day there is horrifying news that in the imagination of people I have come across, Pakistan comes closer to being an aberration. Wishfully, I often think ...

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Losing our religion one Ramazan transmission at a time

While browsing through channels after iftar yesterday, I realised that my TV screen had been taken over by multiple Ramazan transmissions airing on different (read: every) channel. Although the ‘shows’ have been airing questionable content for some time now, this year they seemed to have taken it up a notch. Previously, such transmissions comprised of learned religious scholars who would discuss Islamic issues and answer audience questions pertaining to religious teaching. This would be followed by a recitation of a naat or a dua, and the transmission would be over by iftar time. No shenanigans, no games, no quizzes – a simple programme on ...

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If I live in Finland, do I have to fast for 23 hours a day?

In the region of the earth above the Arctic Circle called ‘the land of the midnight sun,’ the sun does not rise for several months in winter or set for several months in summer. In Finland, the sun stays above the horizon for seventy days at a stretch. What are Muslims in such regions to do if Ramazan occurs during one of these summer periods? A response to this question on one of the forums online was that “the midnight sun is a myth and that there is no such thing”. The respondent added that the days are very long in these ...

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Has China really put a ban on fasting?

Over the last few days, my Facebook timeline (that has incidentally become a conduit of current affairs knowledge for a lot of people these days) has been filled with people posting news about the ban on fasting in China. Consequently, a lot of my friends are asking me if this is really true, and if I am barred from fasting as well. These questions need to be appropriately answered. What is the ban really about? To set the record straight, this ban on fasting is not a blanket ban for all Muslims across China. In fact, there hasn’t been any official ...

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For IDPs, the light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train coming their way

The much-awaited operation to clean the north western part of the country has finally started. It will hopefully rid us of the disease that has infected our country and as a result, the locals will hopefully be able to live without the constant fear of militants and hovering drones. However, due to the intensity of the operation, residents have been forced to leave their homes and live as refugees in camps in their own country; camps that are merely making ends meet for them. Hussein Khan, once a resident of Mir Ali in North Waziristan and now living in the Bannu refugee ...

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Has Pakistan forgotten what Ramazan means?

The most awaited Islamic month, Ramazan, is here. Muslims around the globe observe this month in their own, unique way. In Pakistan, people are usually busy buying groceries, making regular trips to the tailors to get their Eid outfits stitched, setting up their houses, planning iftar parties and praying – all in that order. Ramazan in the United States is celebrated differently, however. Muslims try to change their timings and cut down their work shifts so that they stay fresh for taraweeh prayers and late night qayaam. As an American Muslim, it is a great test to stay patient while fasting and dealing with ...

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