Ramadaan Basics: all you need to know about the Muslim month of fasting


Why do Muslims starve themselves during Ramadaan? What do they get out of it? And why is the moon so important to them in this month? If you’ve never really heard about the deeper meanings behind this sacred month of Islam, read on to find out all you need to know about the month which begins in just a few days. Continue reading

Ramadaan Basics: all you need to know about the Muslim month of fasting


Why do Muslims starve themselves during Ramadaan? What do they get out of it? And why is the moon so important to them in this month? If you’ve never really heard about the deeper meanings behind this sacred month of Islam, read on to find out all you need to know about the month which begins in just a few days. Continue reading

Apartheid Lives!


As part of the South African leg of the 2012 Israeli Apartheid Week, the film “Roadmap to Apartheid” is currently being screened in different parts of the country. The film explores, in detail, the apartheid comparison as it is used in the enduring Israel-Palestine conflict. As much a historical document of the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa, the film shows why many Palestinians feel they are living in an apartheid system today – under Israeli occupation, and why an increasing number of people around the world agree with them. It features interviews with South Africans, Israelis and Palestinians, and the film winds its way through the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and inside Israel moving from town to town and issue to issue to show why the apartheid analogy is being used with increasing potency. It analyses the similar historical narratives of the Jewish people and the Afrikaaners, the tight relationship the two governments shared during the apartheid years, and everything in between.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has seen the film, and commented: “Roadmap to Apartheid is very powerful and compelling, and the visuals of house demolitions are appalling.  Religion is repeatedly misused by politicians. One of the lessons of Jewish history is that God is always on the side of the oppressed.  Another is that those who dehumanise others dehumanise themselves.  Israelis will pay a heavy price for their callous mistreatment of Palestinians.”

It’s a must-see for all who feel strongly about justice in the world, and especially South Africans – who know very well the experience of such a cruel and divisive system.

You can view the trailer here, and if you’re in SA, there are still a few screenings remaining in the country:

Cape Town
Sunday, 11 March @ 14h30 (Joseph Stone Auditorium, Klipfontein Road, Athlone)

Thursday, 08 March @ 19h30 (Factory Cafe, 369 Magwaza Maphalala Street (Gale Street), Glenwood)
Sunday, 11 March @ 14h00 (Al Ansaar Hall, West Road, Overport, Durban)

Thursday, 08 March @ 13h30 (L2-69, Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria)

Click here for details of screenings in Soweto, Modimolle/Nylstroom, Ermelo, and Polokwane; and here for details of further events around the country for this cause, including a panel discussion with cartoonist Zapiro, Professor Allan Boesak, Ronnie Kasrils on Thursday evening.

Other important documentaries and resources on the subject are:

With all the war talk about an Israeli attack on Iran, let’s not forget about the silent war that happens each and every day in the occupied territories.

Look beyond the political rhetoric, and think about the people that are suffering as a result of this absurd, inhumane occupation – and imagine what it would be like if you or your family were the victims.

It’s through ventures like this 2012 campaign that the reality of the situation can be exposed, and more and more people are awoken to the shocking truth of just what is going on.

Until November…

As mentioned in my last post, I’ll be going for Hajj very soon insha-Allah. And that means that I won’t be posting until at least late November. So until then, I wanted to leave you with something that I hope would be of benefit.

Many of you may not be fortunate enough to go on Hajj this year, but it’s an event that encompasses the entire Ummah – even those who aren’t there. Actually, more people DON’T go than those that do – since, mathematically, we’re over a billion strong in numbers, but only 3 to 5 million make it for Hajj each year.

So, to get you in the spirit, and also hopefully inspire you to make the best use of these coming days, I’d like to share with you the following:

  • Articles:
    • Shaykh Yaser Birjas – The Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah (link here)
    • Compilation – Learning more about Eid ul Adha (link here)
  • Audios: Shaykh Hussain Abdul Sattar
    • The Month of Dhul Hijjah –(Download | 34 minutes)
    • Learning from the Days of Hajj (Download | 11 minutes)

Remember that these are the best 10 days of the Islamic year (“There are no days during which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days…” – related by Bukhari and Tirmidhi) – so take advantage of them to boost your spirituality and draw closer to Allah. (For tips on how to do that, see the Yaser Birjas article referenced above).

Maybe you’ve slipped since Ramadan ended, or maybe you’ve maintained a steady level of consistency. But whatever the case, these coming days gives you the amazing chance to step up and recapture, in some way, the dedication and striving that Ramadan brought.

Again, thank you for reading. And do come back to visit in a few months. I hope to return to this blog in a few months with some pictures and other good things, insha-Allah.

Appreciating Ramadan

Many of us take this month for granted – the fact that we can fast (as we’ve been commanded to do), perform taraweeh, and do all the other, communal things that come packaged with this ‘month of the ummah’.

But while we have it easy – while we have this freedom – our brothers and sisters in some places are being subjected to tremendous oppression – in that they are actively discouraged, or even banned, from fulfilling these great Ramadan activities.


For example, take the Muslim majority country of Tajikstan – whose secular government has banned Muslim youth from the masajid. This legacy of the country’s former Soviet rulers – who banned and punished the practicing of religion – also includes the government imposing sermons on imams to deliver at mosques – publishing a collection of 52 sermons that must be preached during the weekly Friday prayers. Additionally, a government campaign includs the arrest of men with beards, and ordering them to shave. All this in the name of countering “religious extremism”. For more info on the Tajikstan situation, see this article.


Another example is the plight of the Uighur Muslims in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. Chinese Muslims already face severe restrictions, but Muslim members of the government throughout Xinjiang must sign “letters of responsibility” promising to avoid fasting, taraweeh, and other religious activities. The Communist government says “Party members are not allowed to fast for Ramadan, and neither are civil servants.” Other individuals are allowed – as it’s a “traditional ethnic custom” – according to the government – but they aren’t allowed to hold any religious activities during Ramadan.

With regard to Muslims working for private companies, while there isn’t an outright ban, there are still consequences. Uighur Muslim employees are offered lunches during fasting hours; and anyone who refuses to eat could lose their annual bonus, or even their job – according to one account.

And schoolkids and the youth are also not free. Officials target Muslim schoolchildren, providing them with free lunches during the fasting period. Another report, from an Uighur resident ofBeijing, said that students under 18 are forbidden from fasting during Ramadan.

For more info on the Uighur situation, see this article.


These are just two examples of political oppression – but there may be others. And in addition, there are Muslims in other places that are being deprived of a ‘normal’ (in our sense) Ramadan by other issues – poverty, famine, war, and more.

So while we enjoy our Ramadan and attempt to draw closer to Allah through fasting, taraweeh, and everything good that the month brings, let’s stop to feel the pain, try to help, and at least make dua for our suffering brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.

And let’s appreciate the religious freedom we have, while we have it. Because if we don’t, we may lose it, and then we’ll look back to these times of freedom with fondness and longing – but without the ability to practice and enjoy our religion the way we are able to right now.