Author: zeynab-gamieldien

Doing Ramadan solo

When I found out that my husband and I would be temporarily relocating overseas, one of the first thoughts which came to mind was that of us being alone in an unfamiliar place during the month of Ramadan. It would be so lonely, so desolate and empty. Ramadan is a time we associate with big pots of rice, bucket loads of invitations to share meals and all of our mothers’ special dishes served as a smorgasbord. I was convinced that a solo Ramadan would be a hard slog, and not anywhere near as beautiful or joyous. But this line of thinking neglects an important and oft-neglected reality for so many Muslims. It is tempting to paint a romanticised picture of what Ramadan is like, but this perhaps reflects a rosy ideal more so than a lived experience. Ramadan can be a time of immense struggle and difficult contemplations, of dates stuffed into mouths in peak-hour traffic and microwave iftars on a couch for one. For some, work continues well into the night regardless of the long day’s fasting which preceded it. The reasons people may experience struggles in Ramadan vary. Some are far away from their beloved families and have little opportunity for reunions. For some, the family home is not a safe haven, but in fact a place fraught with danger and difficulties. Some are so busy trying...

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How not to be a Muslim male jerk

In a previous post here, I wrote all about the struggles faced by Muslim women in their search for a partner. I know that many men may have read it and thought, ‘well geez, sucks to be them’. But sympathy isn’t going to get us anywhere. When the system we operate in is so skewed and unequal (yes patriarchy, I mean you), real action needs to be taken and men need to play their part. I’m going to give men the benefit of the doubt and assume that you guys don’t know what you can do to help when it comes to the area of romance, so let me make it easy for you with a few suggestions: 1.) Don’t stuff women around Are there women who are happy to engage with men without wanting it to go anywhere? Undoubtedly, yes. However, society dictates that a woman’s window to get married is much narrower than a man’s is. When she likes you, she’s not operating on your time; she can’t simply wait around indefinitely for you to get it together. If it doesn’t work out, the stigma attaching to her as a woman with a failed relationship or two is so much worse than yours as a man, so if you know you have no intent of getting married to her, leave her be. (None of this ‘I-thought-we-were-just-friends’ business when confronted with your actions.) 2.) Approach...

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A Letter to my 19 year old self

A Letter to my 19 year old self

I’m not exactly 100 years old, but when I look back on some of the decisions I made in my late teens and early 20s I can’t help but cringe. There are so many things I wish I’d known then, so many things I wish people would have told me and spoken about openly. But I wasn’t the first person to make a few silly decisions, nor will I be the last. In the interest of saving a few young MSA girls from treading the road best left not taken, here is a letter from me to my younger self/all...

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Why do people disappear after getting married?

I haven’t written anything in months. My Facebook profile, never the most active, has all but died out entirely save for the odd article about inequity in the housing market or tropical fish. After all I’ve written, all I’ve tried to speak about and observe and document, I can’t help but ask myself: have I become the old cliche of the married person who disappears? The answer is a lot more complicated than I’d once thought. Having seen many friends get married before I did, the pattern was almost always the same. When they’d meet someone special, the details...

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How Important Are Looks?

A dear friend of mine was recently at an event. Following the event, she was told that a guy had expressed interest in her and wanted to get to know her. Given the fact that she hadn’t exchanged a single word with the guy in question, the only thing his interest could possibly have been based on was her looks. Anyone who is (un)fortunate enough to know me will know that the concept of beauty has always intrigued me. I’ve bored any number of friends to death with my forays into the issue of how looks influence perception. While I don’t claim to be some sort...

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