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Everything you need to know about being gay in Muslim countries

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 June, 2016 - 11:30

The official fiction, Brian Whitaker explains, is that gay people don’t exist in the Middle East. They do – and for many of them, the attitudes of family and society are a much bigger problem than the fear of being persecuted


When the US supreme court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage last year, the White House welcomed it with rainbow-coloured lights and many people celebrated by adding a rainbow tint to their Facebook profile.

For the authorities in Saudi Arabia, though, this was cause for alarm rather than celebration, alerting them to a previously unnoticed peril in their midst. The first casualty was the privately run Talaee Al-Noor school in Riyadh which happened to have a rooftop parapet painted with rainbow stripes. According to the kingdom’s religious police, the school was fined 100,000 riyals ($26,650) for displaying “the emblem of the homosexuals” on its building, one of its administrators was jailed and the offending parapet was swiftly repainted to match a blue rainbow-free sky.

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What Role Did FBI Play In Radicalizing Omar Mateen?

Loon Watch - 20 June, 2016 - 23:58

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Today it was revealed that the FBI is censoring parts of Omar Mateen’s 911 call proclaiming “allegiance” to the Islamic State which are sure to feed conspiracy theories. This is on top of an Alternet expose by Max Blumlenthal and Sarah Lazare about FBI efforts to lure Mateen into a terrorist plot and questions of whether or not it backfired by contributing to Mateen’s “lethal mindset.”

Via. Alternet

Before Omar Mateen gunned down 49 patrons of the LGBTQ Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the FBI attempted to induce him to participate in a terror plot. Sheriff Ken Mascara of Florida’s St. Lucie County told the Vero Beach Press Journal that after Mateen threatened a courthouse deputy in 2013 by claiming he could order Al Qaeda operatives to kill his family, the FBI dispatched an informant to “lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite.”

While self-styled terror experts and former counter-terror officials have criticized the FBI for failing to stop Mateen before he committed a massacre, the new revelation raises the question of whether the FBI played a role in pushing Mateen towards an act of lethal violence.

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On Radical Acceptance & Self Forgiveness this Ramadan and Beyond

altmuslim - 20 June, 2016 - 21:54
This is Day 15 – halfway point – of the #30Days30Writers 2016 Ramadan series. By Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad As I scroll lazily through my newsfeed, I see the pre-requisite (somewhat amusing) annual “moon wars” are in full swing. Because of course it wouldn’t be Ramadan without incessant debate about whether or not to go with [Read More...]

Appeal to Muslims on Brexit

Indigo Jo Blogs - 20 June, 2016 - 20:26

Boris Johnson, a white man with wild blond hair and mouth agape, wearing a black suit jacket with a blue rosette with his name on it, with a white shirt and pale blue tie underneath.Recently I’ve seen a couple of articles online appealing to Muslims to vote for Britain to leave the EU in this Thursday’s referendum. The claims are that the EU is anti-Muslim, that it could ban halal slaughter (as a couple of countries in the EU have already done), and that leaving will enable Britain to renew its links with the Commonwealth countries where most British Muslim families originate. I’ve had a few comments suggesting that I should put a “Muslim view” on this subject and that my writing on this issue could have come from any white Englishman. I believe that this referendum is about more than whether we stay in or leave the EU now; it is about who governs this country, as the defections of former Tory Leave campaigners Sarah Wollaston and now Baroness Warsi demonstrate.

Most of my reasons, as I’ve said before, are purely pragmatic and economic. Britain is right next to continental Europe; we are 21 miles from the nearest Continental country and some 3,000 miles from the nearest Commonwealth country (Canada) and that has a population roughly half ours despite its huge size. Distance clearly outweighs the cultural similarities. Canada is part of NAFTA; Australia has forged new links with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. We cannot expect that these countries would just return to principally trading with us and each other. The EU is a major world trading bloc and being a member means we get a say in making the rules. If we leave, we will most likely be subject to the rules without getting a direct hand in making them, as in the case of Norway (we could lobby, of course, but this would not always have the same effect). There is a likelihood of foreign owners of British industry moving to the Continent if we do not swiftly join the European Economic Area, which they can easily do because Britain does not protect jobs, unlike some Continental countries, and the people pushing for Brexit (all hardline Thatcherites) will not change that. These issues are not specific to Muslims; they would affect everyone.

It has become fashionable to blame the EU for policies which are in fact imposed by the British government. The EU did not force us to accept large numbers of migrants from Eastern Europe from 2004 onwards; that was the Blair government’s decision. The EU did not force us to impose restrictions on skilled workers from outside the EU, or on people settling here to marry British citizens. This, again, was a British government decision, motivated in part by agitation about Muslims marrying spouses from “back home” and thereby endangering “social cohesion”, “importing ignorance” and raising another generation of Muslims whose first language is other than English, all of which are blamed for extremism and ultimately terrorism. This goes back at least to the Oldham riots of 2001, but certainly to the early 2000s. Other EU countries, such as Denmark, imposed minimum ages for foreign spouses; Migration Watch pressured the government to do the same, as it did (this was later ruled contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, and repealed).

So anyone who is saying that leaving the EU, and blocking mass immigration from countries like Poland, will enable Muslim immigration from Commonwealth countries, is simply wrong. The people who will gain power if Britain votes to leave the EU include those who have been agitating against Muslim immigration long before anyone was aggrieved by the Poles. The Commonwealth countries to which they are attached are the ‘old’ White Commonwealth countries: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and (maybe) South Africa. You can see this whenever the right-wing tabloids complain that a family with a spouse from one of these countries has been refused permission to settle in the UK: the families are always White. They would not lift a pen to support a family with a spouse facing deportation to Pakistan or Bangladesh. If any South Asians enjoy more favourable treatment after Brexit, it will be Indian Hindus and Sikhs, not Muslims and certainly not Pakistanis.

There have been two high-profile defections of Tories from the Leave to the Remain side in the past few weeks, namely Sarah Wollaston, a GP who is MP for Totnes in Devon, and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. In giving their reasons, neither said they had been convinced of the virtue of the EU or the wisdom of staying in for its own sake; rather, they said that they disliked the tactics used by the Leave side; the claim about money that could be used on the NHS in the case of Wollaston, and the “nudge nudge, wink wink” campaign of xenophobia and racism in the case of Lady Warsi. This shows that they preferred to stay in the EU than countenance the change to politics in this country that a vote to leave would bring: putting in power dishonest opportunists like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, and Muslims should consider that both of them have a long history of hostility to Islam and Muslims both in and out of Parliament: inflammatory front pages in the Spectator in Johnson’s case, war-hawkery and pro-Israel propagandising in the Times in Gove’s, not to mention the witch hunt against majority-Muslim schools in Birmingham in which normal Muslim practices such as separating boys and girls were linked to extremism.

As for the claim that the European Parliament could ban halal slaughter, this is simply scaremongering. The European Parliament cannot initiate legislation; it can only discuss bills put to it by the Commission, and most of these proposals have been on economic matters and regulations justifiable on the basis of a threat to the environment or human health. It has never interfered in such matters; they are for national parliaments. It is not a body that just passes laws on every trendy issue. In fact what is banned is non-stun slaughter, not halal slaughter per se (there is a difference of opinion as to whether stunning nullifies halal slaughter), and it is banned in only a few countries, such as Denmark, Poland and Switzerland — the latter as a result of an anti-Semitic referendum campaign in the 1890s. France and Germany, the biggest players in the EU, allow it, while some countries (like Lithuania) have a lucrative halal and kosher meat export trade to the Middle East, which means it is highly unlikely that a proposal to ban halal slaughter will even get before the European Parliament, let alone get passed.

There is no benefit to us in leaving the EU. We should particularly beware of the so-called “left-wing case” for leaving, as left-wingers will not be in power after next Thursday; rather, the right wing of the Tory party will be. Many of the objections are to things that are the result of British policy, or could be remedied by a change in their policy; all the faults of the EU — its democratic deficit, its bureaucracy, its neoliberalism — are present in the British political system as well, in some cases more so. Some Muslims may not care that the UK itself may break up, with renewed demands for Scottish independence and the impact on the status of Northern Ireland, but they should care that voting for Brexit would empower the most hostile and extreme elements of the Tory party and discredit the (relatively) moderate ones. We can always leave the EU later if need be; it will be a lot easier than rejoining after we leave and find that we are isolated and that our economy has taken a nosedive (and politicians will distract from this with attacks on poor people, disabled people, and minorities including Muslims).

Much as with the London mayoral campaign, but on a bigger scale and with far more dire consequences, the referendum is about racism and xenophobia and about which Tories govern Britain afterwards as much as it is about the EU. Much as we may dislike the policies of other European countries, much as we may feel we have no connection to any of them, Brexit will mean a Gove or Johnson premiership and will leave us far worse off than remaining in the EU. It is not just a case of giving hate a kick in the teeth; we must prevent the haters ruling us, by voting down their proposal to leave the EU.

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Funding fear of Muslims: $206m went to promoting 'hatred', report finds

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 June, 2016 - 18:47

Council on American-Islamic Relations and University of California Berkeley report names 74 groups they say contributed to Islamophobia in the US

Inciting hate toward American Muslims and Islam has become a multimillion-dollar business, according to a report released on Monday.

Released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) and University of California Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender, the report names 74 groups it says contribute in some way to Islamophobia in the US. Of those groups, it says, the primary purpose of 33 “is to promote prejudice against, or hatred of, Islam and Muslims”.

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Vote Leave board member quits over anti-Muslim retweets

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 June, 2016 - 18:22

Businesswoman Arabella Arkwright resigns after Guardian asked her about activity on her social media account

A Vote Leave board member has resigned after it emerged that she promoted anti-Muslim material on social media, including an image of a white girl in the middle of a group of people wearing burqas saying: “Britain 2050: why didn’t you stop them Grandad?”

Arabella Arkwright, a businesswoman who sat on the board and finance committee of Vote Leave, stepped down after the Guardian asked her about a series of tweets and retweets from her account.

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Erdoğan dined with Turkish transgender star after clashes at LGBT rally

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 June, 2016 - 14:00

Turkish president and his wife had iftar with Bülent Ersoy hours after Istanbul riot police used teargas to break up protest

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had a Ramadan dinner with Turkey’s best-known transgender celebrity hours after Istanbul riot police broke up an LGBT rally.

The conservative president and his wife, Ermine Erdoğan, shared iftar at the end of the Muslim fasting day on Sunday with a group of artists including actor Bülent Ersoy.

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Zakat, Poverty and the Kitchen Sink

Muslim Matters - 20 June, 2016 - 11:38

Written with Osman Umarji

 

Zakat, that economic act of worship often paid in Ramadan we regard as the third pillar of Islam, is increasingly becoming a hollow shell. A few examples:

  •      An imam is invited to give a seminar on Zakat at an Islamic Center serving an affluent neighborhood. The organizers ask him if he believes Zakat funds can be used for their masjid construction project, he answers in the negative. He is disinvited.
  •      Zakat is used to rent an expensive hotel conference space so that a panel of speakers can discuss current political issues.
  •      A major Muslim non-profit spends Zakat funds to pay a famous public figure thousands for an honorarium and a first-class flight to speak at its gala.

 

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Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise. (9:60)

This oft-cited ayah of the Qur'an has eight categories of eligible recipients. The first two deal with poverty, the third is the one who collects and distributes Zakat and the others included are those in bondage or in debt and “those whose hearts are inclined” to champion the cause of Allah and the stranded traveler.

Poverty colors every other category. Zakat recipients need not always be poor of course. For example, refugees may be land barons but could benefit from Zakat all the same.

In the United States today, non-profits provide vital services that are often done by governments in other countries and are a significant portion of the economy. Tax benefits are provided to the non-profits and to those who donate – a recognition of their importance to society.

The Muslim non-profit sector includes places of worship, educational institutions, and service organizations. It employs much of the US Muslim community's leadership, activists, teachers and other professionals and provides a system of conferences, symposiums, galas, buildings and a speaker circuit that educates and inspires many. This is all good. Many of these organizations take special care with Zakat contributions and do good work with them. However, many non-profits have found reasons to not take special care with Zakat. The American Muslim community should guard against this.

Why You Should Care

givePoverty is a continuing concern though it is often invisible to the well-off by design.  As Khaled Beydoun pointed out recently, a Pew study found 45% of American Muslims families earn less than $30,000 annually.  While the study did not measure poverty per se, this level is sufficiently close to poverty for many families.  The federal poverty guidelines are not a measure of Zakat eligibility; rather it is nisab, possession of 87.48 grams of gold (approximately $3500), which would not overlap perfectly with the guidelines. Around 34% of Americans have no savings at all to fall back on. Muslim community leaders all over the United States would attest to the many struggles of individuals and families who need help, brought on by illness, incarceration, displacement or a wide range of other chronic and transitional circumstances. Islam's prescription for addressing these difficulties is Zakat. We help each other out as an act of worship. Just as prayer demonstrates how serious we are about our relationship with Allah, Zakat demonstrates how serious we are as a community.

Oversleeping for Fajr is considered bad even when no social harm comes from it. Misappropriated Zakat causes social harm. With Zakat there are often genuine differences of opinion among scholars that should be worked out and standards should be established for use of these funds. In other situations, its use is a clear grift that no scholar could rationalize.

Charitable giving  does not always help those in genuine need. Indeed, much of what passes as “charity” in the United States is merely giving donations for the benefit of the affluent. The poor are becoming increasingly numerous in the United States even as the non-profit sector continues to grow in size and strength.

There Will be Fatwas

Some non-profit organizations rely on the general sounding opinions of individual Islamic Scholars to validate their view that their own organization should receive Zakat. While there are differences of opinion among scholars, these differences can be exaggerated. Even if a donor is told a scholar agrees with a non-profit that a particular non-self-evident use of Zakat is acceptable, that should begin the inquiry and not end it.

Often the context of the Fatwa will be mixed up. A common example is using an opinion that justifies the construction of a masjid in an impoverished or war-torn area to justify an expansion project of an existing masjid in a wealthy suburban neighborhood. Those are not the same thing.

A significant controversy concerning disbursement of Zakat comes from the phrase “in the path of Allah” as the kind of cause for which giving Zakat is acceptable. The debate arises as to whether this phrase in the Qur'an means something specific (the physical struggle of Jihad was the traditionally understood meaning), if it means somewhat more (yet still specific) in the modern context, or if it means there are no practical limits. The “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to Zakat has become more popular among certain non-profits as everything they do can be viewed as a public good.

Zakat donors should be skeptical of “kitchen sink” claims, even while donating non-Zakat funds for organizations that do good work. The relevant verse in the Qur'an (9:60) is restrictive in terms of the categories that are allowed to receive Zakat. If every noble endeavor can be classified as “in the path of Allah,” then all other categories would be superfluous.

Some Muslim non-profits do not offer even a feeble rationale for accepting Zakat funds for their general budget. They just do it. Muslim Advocates for example, an organization that has done excellent work, makes the “Zakat-Eligible” claim without supporting it. A call to the organization revealed they do not know why they make the claim, nor can they identify any Islamic Scholars who agree with it. They are far from alone. This can be easily fixed as described below.

Inventing New Reasons to Take Zakat

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has been perhaps the most aggressive among Muslim non-profits in inventing novel rationalizations for accepting Zakat funds. The organization cites several categories on its website, explicitly including the entertainment awards galas they host as counting towards “those whose hearts are inclined.” Another reason they give is helping people be free of bondage, undoubtedly a permissible reason for giving Zakat. But what has MPAC done here? MPAC cites their work in the “Arab Spring” and “sustainable solutions for Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

We confirmed with a call to MPAC that it has no solutions to the real problem of people in bondage in Pakistan and Afghanistan, or anything else in those countries. MPAC's work on the Arab Spring consisted of opining on current events, hosting panels in the US and participating in them. They also signed a petition to Egypt's then President, asking him to oppose proposed wording of “Sharia” in that country's constitution, as this would violate human rights. Political opposition to Sharia internationally as being a “Zakat-eligible” activity would seem to be the logical endpoint to this wild west state of affairs for Zakat in the United States. However, they went further, opining on how they “rejoice and celebrate” the military coup by General Sisi against the democratically-elected government they had previously petitioned.

The dictatorship they celebrated went on to commit one of the largest single day peacetime mass-killings of civilians in history, incarcerated and “disappeared” tens of thousands and engaged in systematic torture. Instead of working against bondage, as claimed, American Zakat was used to cheerlead a repressive military coup in another country. To their credit, unlike other organizations, MPAC is transparent about their Zakat use. This state of affairs of American Zakat is not primarily the fault of any one non-profit.

The privileging of Zakat funds for expenditures on ornate buildings in wealthy neighborhoods, expensive hotel conference spaces, panel discussions on politics, airline tickets, press releases of dubious value, interfaith networking, awards and honorariums for the already-affluent over the rights of those families and individuals in genuine need is a racket Muslim donors have been either tolerating or enabling for too long.

A Few Suggestions
  • Donors should be more purposeful about who they give Zakat to. Never accept a bald claim by a non-profit that donations are “Zakat-eligible” if the claim is not otherwise obvious to you (i.e. it is for the poor).  An independent, qualified scholar you respect should provide a specific, well-reasoned rationale to support such claims.
  • Muslim non-profits should collect Zakat. However, donation forms should allow donors to designate Zakat funds separately from other donations. Zakat funds must then be accounted for and disbursed with transparent policies different from general fund donations. Non-profits that accept grants are already used to this. Grants, like Zakat, are usually for specific, enumerated purposes and not for a general fund, so there should be no excuses. It's fine to pay large honorariums to speakers at expensive hotel banquet halls or build nice buildings in affluent communities. Just don't do it with Zakat.
  • Islamic scholars, leaders and activists in the non-profit sector should do more to protect the institution of Zakat and the rights of those in need. This starts with implementing best practices and addressing abuses taking place in the Muslim non-profit sector.

Osman Umarji was born and raised in Southern California. After spending years working as an engineer, he left his career to pursue an Islamic education at Al-Azhar University, specializing in Islamic law and legal theory. He  previously served as an imam and has spent years studying Zakah and has given numerous seminars on the topic. He is currently pursuing a PhD at UC Irvine in Educational Psychology, while also serving the community as an educational consultant.

Labor candidate Christian Kunde quits after 'smear campaign' over Hizb ut-Tahrir links

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 June, 2016 - 01:19

Candidate for Farrer ‘distressed and devastated’ about being branded a ‘supporter of terrorism’ for comments defending a spokesman for the extreme Islamic group

Labor’s candidate for Farrer has resigned over comments defending Uthman Badar, the spokesman for extreme Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

In a 2014 piece for the ABC’s religion and ethics website, Christian Kunde lamented ad hominem attacks against Badar. Badar has said that there is a “place for violence” and war in Islam “with conditions and qualifications”.

Related: Australian election 2016: Turnbull calls Labor's Medicare attack 'the biggest lie' – politics live

Related: Why ban Hizb ut-Tahrir? They're not Isis – they're Isis's whipping boys | William Scates Frances

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Know Other Tribes: Get Busy Living Islam

altmuslim - 19 June, 2016 - 23:42
This is Day 14 of the #30Days30Writers 2016 Ramadan series. By Fouad Pervez “Asalaam alaikum, Fouad,” Abdur-Rahman, a high school freshman with a big smile and mischievous eyes says as he greets me with a handshake. He keeps a straight face, although he starts chuckling soon after. Abdur-Rahman has jumped in front of a good [Read More...]

Trump proposes racial profiling as a tactic 'to start thinking about'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 June, 2016 - 19:00

Republicans struggled to respond to the worst mass shooting in US history on Sunday, as Donald Trump proposed profiling of Muslims by law enforcement and members of Congress gave mixed messages about a gun control vote looming on Monday.

Related: Dump Trump? Paul Ryan leaves door open to Republican convention revolt

Related: As Trump founders, Clinton has perfect way to sink him: Barack Obama

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MuslimKidsMatter | The Return of the Period

Muslim Matters - 19 June, 2016 - 17:00

Assalamualaikum and Ramadan Mubarak to all the kids and teens!  We hope you are having a great Ramadan so far.  This special Ramadan edition is written by Nura Fahzy from Texas.MKM YELLOW

The Return of the Period

By Nura Fahzy

I'm not ashamed when I say this, because it's real and both genders need to be aware of it.

Ready?

Periods are a literal pain in the gut during Ramadan.

You wanna know why I say that?

Alright, picture this. You're lounging on the sofa with your smartphone, constantly switching through apps and checking every few minutes to see if Maghrib has come in yet. “Just three minutes left,” you tell yourself. When there's one minute left, you keep your eyes focused on the clock, waiting for it to switch from 8:25 to 8:26. Your eyes cross from staring at the number 5 for too long. And then, all in one glorious second, the five switches to six, and the adhan blares off from your phone. You slam your phone down on the sofa and nearly trip over your feet as you stampede towards the table you have prepared with a bowl of dates and a glass of water. After reciting your du'a, you pick up three giant dates at once and stuff them into your mouth, followed by a gulp of water. Your body feels rejuvenated as the cold, refreshing liquid soothes your aching belly. After you've eaten just enough, you head to the bathroom to make wudu for Maghrib. Suddenly, you feel a sharp pain in your belly. It's definitely not a hunger pang, because you've already eaten. An expression of despair begins to overtake your expression as you slowly realize…

Your period has returned.

Immediately, your mind pounds with panicked thoughts.

I'm screwed, I'm screwed. It's Ramadan, and my period is back. It's probably been there for hours. My fast didn't count.

I know. I've experienced it. You've experienced it. We all have.

Except for dudes, of course.

Okay! This is where I come in. Listen up, guys and girls. Just because a girl's period prevents her from fasting in Ramadan, it does not mean she is stronger to perform several tasks for those who are fasting. Why? Because cramps exist, people! Cramps hurt even more than that empty belly of yours! A girl on her period is probably dealing with even more pain than those who are fasting! Girls, have you ever been told to clean the house, cook the food, and take care of the little ones just because you supposedly have more strength? Huh! Seems like it's a universal thing.

Oh, wait. Stop right there! Yes, I'm defending girls on their periods, but that doesn't mean they can lie on their beds eating huge bowls of chocolate ice cream while they whine about their cramps. (Lying down while eating is disliked, anyway.) You can still stay productive during Ramadan even with your cramps! Your period may prevent you from making salah, fasting, and touching the Qur'an, but you can defeat that little monster using the advice I shall provide for you.

  1. The Easiest Thing You Can Do Is Make du'a!!

Ah, yes. Du'a. You know, the beautiful thing about du'a is that you can make it anytime. You don't need to be in a state of wudu, you don't need to sit in a certain position, and, in some cases, you don't even need to speak! No du'a is ever wasted. And another great thing is, you can use du'a to ease your period pains. Oh, but don't just make du'a for yourself! Make du'a for your family and friends, and even those you dislike! When you make du'a for someone without them knowing, the angels will say, “Ameen, and for you as well.” What you give to others, you receive in return! Imagine how many great things can happen to you if you make du'a for more than one person. Just imagine…

  1. Can't Touch the Qur'aan? Put That Electronic Device to Work!

The one great thing I find about modern-day electronic devices which we all know as smartphones, tablets, and iPods, is that you can download a Qur'aan app and read the Qur'aan from there, even if you're on your period! And if you don't want to recite, you can just listen to your favorite surahs by your favorite qaris on shuffle. Don't make up excuses now. If you have a smartphone, use it for Qur'aan. And anyway, if you're at the point in your life where you already have your period, you're too old to make excuses.

  1. Be A Maid

I know what I said before. Period pains can prevent you from doing any housework. But in those days when your period is almost over and the cramps don't hurt as much, you can help out the fasting people in your house! You can clean the house, cook their iftaar and set the table, and entertain the little ones (if you have little ones). You can also play the Qur'aan for the others as they whine about their hunger (even though they're supposed to be reading Qur'aan).

  1. Do Something For Yourself!

Trying to ignore that exercising routine you made in 2011? Aching to put a new painting on your walls? Itching to try out that new cake recipe? Avoiding that book you're writing because you let writer's block overtake you? Well, procrastinate no further! Use these 30 days of blessings to feed your hobbies! It takes about 21 days to develop a habit, so if you train yourself every day to do something you love, you'll never have a minute to waste. I've included this in the list because since you'll be on your period, you'll be able to eat and have a lot more energy and strength to do what you love.

  1. Help Out the Community!

Do you live near a soup kitchen? Perhaps an animal shelter? Why not go and help out your community and earn more ajr by serving those in need? The Prophet (peace be upon him) told the sahabah that a person who feeds a fasting person gets the same reward as the fasting person. Imagine all the ajr you'll get from feeding others while you yourself cannot fast! The more people you feed, the more reward you get. Think about that for a moment. And you can also offer to babysit kids while their mothers pray taraweeh. When kids are left roaming around in the musalla during taraweeh prayer, things can get pretty crazy. Why not earn yourself some ajr by entertaining the young ones and letting the mothers pray in peace?

Aside from the tips I have provided, there are a few more things I need to say. Mostly to YOU, dudes!

Guys, I know you have no idea what it's like to have a period, but that doesn't mean you can bash your female relatives for doing nothing during their shark weeks. Don't tell her to do anything if her period has just started because that is where the pain is worst. Here's a note to keep to yourselves: NEVER get a girl on her period angry! Give her a few days, and then see if she is comfortable completing tasks for you. Don't think that just because she is able to eat, that she is stronger to do things that you can't do. The body needs food during this time.

Oh, and girls, one more thing to note. Don't treat your period as a hindrance during Ramadan. I know it's annoying how you have to make up your fasts after Ramadan is over, but periods are natural and you should expect them to pop up during this month. Besides, if they never came throughout the whole month, I'd start worrying, wouldn't you?

JazakumAllahu Khayran, dudes and dudettes, for taking the time to read this article! Girls, start working on your Ramadan productive schedule, alright? And dudes, please be respectful of girls on their shark weeks.

And that's all I have to say! May we all have a productive Ramadan this year, ameen!
Nura F. is a young Muslimah with a strong passion for writing. She is currently working to join the writing industry for Islamic literature. When she is not writing, Nura spends her time drawing, baking, blogging, and reading. She really enjoys editing her friends' pieces of writing as well. Nura currently resides in northern Texas.

Who is Being Excluded in Our Muslim Communities?

altmuslim - 18 June, 2016 - 22:14
This is Day 13 of the #30Days30Writers 2016 Ramadan series. By Charles M. Turner Every Ramadan, I open my Quran and begin the month-long task of reading it to completion. It feels routine at first, something I’ve come to expect. Yet, when I open to those first few pages, I’m struck with a sense of [Read More...]

Iftar at Kirribilli House: this is the Australia I'm proud to call home

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 June, 2016 - 06:25

The absence of such an event at the prime minister’s residence in the past said a lot about the implicit sentiment. Turnbull should be lauded for changing that

Hosting an Iftar at the prime minister’s residence can seem a very simply, purely symbolic gesture. Iftar (meaning “breaking fast”) is the first meal at the end of a day of fasting for Muslims observing Ramadan.

Related: Malcolm Turnbull uses Iftar dinner to warn against division after Orlando massacre

Related: Malcolm Turnbull regrets inviting homophobic sheikh to Iftar dinner

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