To see is to feel… 

Activism. It’s a beautiful concept. When I started thinking about what activism entails and how it might inspire people, I first had to define activism for myself. My mind wandered and I started jotting down words like positivity, community, unity, and fulfillment. I think we can all agree that doing something, anything, for a cause you love, brings you happiness and fulfillment. A sense of unity and being part of something bigger than yourself. At least, that’s what I thought. I started digging a little deeper and low and behold, I learned a bitter truth about the term activism. 

Activism is not defined by words like happiness or collectivity. 

Activism speaks to the darkest, twisted parts of human beings. It evokes feelings of guilt, sadness, and grief. We might not like to admit it, but the times that you see the desperation a child’s face for a Red Cross commercial, or when you see a heartbreaking documentary about innocent teens being wrongly prosecuted when you hear the news about a Black boy being shot to death by police officers.

When that feeling of powerlessness all but brings you to your knees, that’s when true, real activists are born. That’s the definition of activism. It’s ironic and beautiful in a way: we feel most inspired to stand up when others are beaten down. 

Not soon after this, I made another realization. Activism is a result of a tragic and downright heart-wrenching process. For some, including myself, the pain and heartbreak of seeing others deal with hardship is unbearable and we start closing our eyes, blind to the injustice of the world. Although it is understandable, it is not acceptable. As mentioned before, in order to stand up for what’s right we have to be inspired to do so.

We have to open our eyes.

As privileged, Western Europeans it’s our duty to open our eyes, and truly see, what our brothers and sisters go through in Syria, Palestine, Yemen, and Ukraine. Some might think of this as madness, because why would you want to ruin your night by occupying your mind with injustices that you don’t have any control over anyway? It is crucial for us, people, to do so… It is truly sorrowful, but can’t we agree that at the root of wars, big political discussions and ethnic cleansing is not only a hunger for money and power but a clear lack of sympathy and care for others? Seeing what others go through truly looking and listening will give us insight into the works of our own leaders and governmental officials. It will educate us and others on who and what we surround ourselves with. It will hopefully cure the growing desensitization we have toward the people around us. 

Besides beautiful, ironic, and tragic, I’ve found that activism is also frightening. I viewed activism as this big commitment, something a nineteen-year-old isn’t capable of. But, as a result of accepting, seeing, and educating myself on activism and all that it comes with, I learned what might be the most important and defining part of ‘activism’.  

It’s about understanding that activism can take different shapes and forms. I’ve realized that activism isn’t always some grand gesture. It does not mean you have to enroll yourself into some program or volunteer at a non-profit organization. Activism can be just as helpful and fulfilling in small doses. If looking at that documentary about wrongly prosecuted Black teens lifts the shades of your judgment and prejudices against other minorities, do so! You can proudly call yourself an activist. If there is even the slightest chance of you standing up for that girl in your class that’s being targeted, you are an activist.  

Activism might entail watching that documentary about that case you’ve been putting off. It might be watching some videos about the apartheid in South Africa or looking into the origins of the Russia-Ukraine war. I want to stress the point, that everyone, whether you’re poor, rich, small, big, or have connections or not, everyone can make a difference. Everyone can become an activist. If only you let yourself be inspired. 

You have read into the history of a conflict and added very valuable information to a discussion or corrected a slightly biased teacher about a particular issue or raised awareness about Uighur concentration camps with the result of ice skaters declining their Chinese medal or voted for a group that apologizes for the racial offenses they’ve once committed.  

That right there will have more effect and power than you will ever know.  

If we can’t directly impact, let’s at least stand with them in solidarity. Let’s make sure we have their back, not giving lies, division, and hate the space to stab them in the back because of how great of a gift it is to feel truly and utterly supported by a stranger. I have been grateful enough to have had this specific instance happen and words can’t describe how fortunate, loved and fierce I’ve felt.  

Now I’m asking you, are you willing to be that person for someone else? Are you willing to enter the struggle, armed with knowledge, strength, and bravery?  

If so, buckle up, and maybe, just maybe, we will win and return home with yet another, but the final definition of activism. “Activism: (noun) actions in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue accompanied by feelings of positivity, community, unity, and fulfillment”.

By Aya Barzizaoua


Before the pandemic, it was easy to do everything and there was no social distancing or a limit in the number of people that could attend an event and there was especially no fear of getting infected or self-isolate.  

2 years since COVID-19 took place and since our lives turned upside down: we experienced lockdowns for the first time, we could not see loved ones and we had to adapt to a new way of life. It was challenging, difficult and frustrating. People struggled and needed support. And who else than young people provided solutions? 

Young activists all over the world acted indeed as decision-makers and helped their communities during this difficult time, launching campaigns to assist vulnerable people. 

In Italy, 23-year-old Nourhene Mahmoudi launched the “Outbreak of Generosity”, a campaign that inspired young European to serve vulnerable people in their everyday lives in a safe manner.  

In Afghanistan, 19-year-old Mohib Faizy has made books accessible to hundreds of children by recording himself reading children’s books that contain powerful messages about humanity. 

In Malaysia, 20-year-old student Hasan Al-Akraa, a Syrian refugee has provided food parcels to refugee families in Malaysia and has also been crowdfunding to pay hospital fees and rent for struggling refugees, especially, single mothers, orphans, the sick and numerous families. 

These are only a few of the many examples of young activists taking the lead and making a difference in other people’s lives. Their determination, concern, and willingness to help humanity prevailed over COVID-19, which did not stop or scared them from being ACTIVE CITIZENS and DECISIONMAKERS. They believed in their projects and in the impact that they would have on people. And although the world was experiencing continuous lockdowns and restrictions, those young activists used the power of digital tools to communicate, deliver their projects and connect with other young people. 

What has been done by young activists during the pandemic, is quite inspiring isn’it?  They did not give up! It is an important lesson for all of us, that encourages us to try and be in support of others no matter the situation or difficulty we face.  

This is what volunteering at FEMYSO taught me: to believe in myself, not be afraid to make projects happen and always remember that it does not matter if what we do helps only few people, because we made the difference in their lives and made their world better than it was before. 

As the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Even if the Resurrection were established upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, let him plant it.”   

This shows us that even if the world is facing global pandemics and challenges, we still have the responsibility to be active and generous in the society, do something good and help others. 

So, my dear readers, let be ACTIVE CITIZENS! 

To know more about the three activists that I mentioned, please visit the following websites:

FEMYSOblog – World Hijab Day

Dear reader, 

FEMYSOblog is coming to life, and we are excited to be sharing with you articles on various topics written by different people, coming from different life paths and who have been through different experiences. Every month, you will be reading original written pieces that hopefully will inspire you, benefit you and will encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with us. We wish you an enjoyable reading! 

World Hijab Day 

The 1st of February marks the World Hijab Day, a movement started in New York by Nazma Khan in 2013 to recognize millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty and encourage religious tolerance and understanding by inviting (non-Hijabi Muslims & non-Muslims) to experience the hijab for one day. What Nazma hopes is to make people understand why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab. Her movement became a non-profit organisation in 2018 which aims to fight discrimination against Muslim women through awareness and education1. 

FEMYSO supports World Hijab Day and denounces any discrimination shown against the wearing of the hijab. Wearing the hijab is a choice made by Muslim women that should be respected and none should interfere with it. Muslim women should feel safe to wear the hijab and should feel safe to be themselves, as it is part of their identity. Since World Hijab Day aims to give voice to Muslim women, FEMYSO is sharing stories of Muslim women that wear the hijab, to allow you to understand their journey with the hijab and to provide a different perspective. Every woman has a personal connection with the hijab and hopefully, their stories will give you a better understanding of their choice. 



“For a very long time, I knew that I really wanted to wear the hijab. But because I was living in France, I had to wait until the right time as it was impossible to wear it in school and it was then difficult at university and work. 

Finally, after finishing my studies and leaving my job, I was free to wear it. No one put obstacles despite the lack of support from my father and brother on this important choice. So, my story goes a bit against prejudices… 

Today, I’m a proud young French Muslim woman wearing the hijab and I hope that one day people in France will value me as a person full of potential, beyond my appearance and the scarf on my head.” 



“Wearing the hijab happened unexpectedly, -like receiving the revelation from God- my friend commented when she saw me wearing the hijab at university in September. Why? Because when I was a teenager and despite having parents that encouraged me to wear the hijab, I never had in mind that I would wear it in my twenties as I did not understand the meaning of the hijab and the reason why Muslim women would wear it. What happened to me? You might wonder.  

There was no brainwashing or forcing. I was going through a spiritual journey, learning more about my faith and God, and the more I was connecting to God, the more I wanted to feel protected and closer to Him. And I felt the need to wear the hijab to be closer to God; it represented my freedom and protection from God, like I could literally feel His presence. 

Years have passed and my hijab has been my companion, everywhere in the world I was, the hijab was with me, remembering me of God’s closeness and protection. And it has never been an obstacle to anything that I wanted to achieve, but rather an encouragement.” 



“For me, the headscarf is a private act of worshipping God. It is a form of training the self, the so-called nafs (soul) from the material world, of having a stronger spiritual orientation in the psyche and thus of becoming a stronger and more independent person, allowing in turn to be more effective in our daily work, commitments and relations. To me it is also a constant reminder of a life after death and that we get one chance to live on this world – therefore we must always strive for excellence, for never hurting others, for doing justice and fighting injustice – essentially Islamic principles. It is really important that the spiritual essence of the headscarf is not lost, due to pressure from an ever-growing unsustainable fashion industry that capitalises on a form of worship.” 



“Many will find my hijab journey incomprehensible. My decision to put it on was not hasty, forced, or anything like that but rather was purely out of my choice that was made after an unexpected spiritual journey.  

Initially, the hijab was merely a connection I experienced on a physical level. Coming from a Muslim-majority country like Indonesia, hijab is considered a social norm and standard (that is better) to adhere to. Therefore, I only covered myself when attending school and social events.  

I think the sole reason that led me to wear the hijab permanently was because of this “habit” of mine. Have you heard of “Beware of habits you inhabit”? I did not expect it to direct me to one of the biggest decisions in my life. As someone who lived on an island, I got used to watching sunrise and sunset every day for 5-10 mins. I would sit by the doorstep when I woke up, watched the sky changing colours, and felt the breeze. I found it peaceful and calming. This moment, after some time, brought me to ask myself sort of philosophical questions, “Aisyah, until when are you going to be like this? What’s going to happen when you leave this world?” I had no idea where this was coming from but witnessing the sun temporarily rising and setting made me realize I too will be gone one day. Not long after that, I found myself watching the music concert of my favourite band until 2 am as the only hijabi (felt like the coolest chick among the crowd that night). I later donated all those music band-related stuff to orphanages. That was when I started to understand that I have connected with my hijab to the deeper level – my heart. It’s so liberating.” 


Check this website to learn more about the NGO World Hijab Day: 



Ramadan During The Era Of Social Media

Social networks are often defined as a vital necessity by some, or as an addiction and dependence by some others. In his book “Bi Bakıp Çıkcm/ Let’s have a look and I will quit soon”, the Turkish author Seyfullah Şenel lists a large number of negative effects that come from social networks and that affect our mental health, for example: the wasting of time, distortion of reality, desire for attention, loss of self-confidence, bullying, etc. On the other hand it explains that if a moderate use is made by taking the positive aspects and turning them into potentials they can positively affect our well-being as a community in general and as individuals in particular. In this case, he mentions the promotion of activism, volunteerism, calls for good deeds and contribution, maintaining family or friend ties, etc.

One of the most beloved Muslim schoolars in Turkey, Nuredin Yilldiz, has dedicated an entire book to this topic, in the form of a manual for the usage of the Internet by today’s Muslims and the rules that we must keep in mind during this usage, entitled “Internet Fiqh”. The author, in this manual has focused on the permissible and forbidden aspects that accompany us during all the time we use the internet, especially social networks giving even some religious judgments (fatwas) very useful to the reader.

Both of them more or less agree to the same idea: we all have to try not to spend too much time on social media and use them to our advantage, by using them and not being used by them. But how much can be considered to be “too much” and a “moderate usage”? How can we determine if our time is wasted or we are investing it in our benefit?

Anyone must find the answers within themselves based on the amount of free time available, daily commitments and priorities. One may think that the right solution is to close all the profiles and totally distancing themselves from social networks. From a personal experience of disabling profiles for a certain period of time, I have come to the conclusion that whether we like it or not, social networks have become an essential part of our lives. The chances are that social networks and their various forms will continue for a long time. So, we can’t get rid of them or exclude them from our lives.

On the other hand, a misuse of them can have negative effects on our faith (Iman). I would like to list some tips that are more related to our priorities and responsibilities towards ourselves and towards the community to maintain a good state of what can be called “spiritual health”.

Create a group of friends kind of a social circle with whom you meet regularly.

You may think that you do not need to meet your friends face to face when you regularly talk on the phone all the time, chat or send endless messages during the day. But it’s not the same thing. Maintaining a face-to-face-relation is very important for our faith: it is enough to remember here the logic behind some forms of worship which are builded under the principle of  the union (congregation) such as praying five times in the mosque (especially for men) on Friday (Jummah So through brotherhood and cooperation among each other we improve our iman and work for common goals for the benefit of religion. We live in an age that pushes us to be as connected to the virtual world as possible but not at all focused on the importance of face-to-face communication. Loneliness has turned into an epidemic disease according to The American Psychological Association. The effects of loneliness are astounding and are taking on unimaginable proportions. No matter how active you are on social media, you will not recover from loneliness unless you have a strong connection to your relationship

Keep some things private

Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an: “Those who spend their wealth [in Allah ‘s way] by night and by day, secretly and publicly – they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.”(2: 274)

In the Qur’an, then, we find both forms of giving: secretly and openly. The balance we have to find between these two forms must be seeked in ourselves by questioning our intentions: whether we are doing this to show up, to brag, or to inspire and motivate others to do the same.

As we care about our work, which we publish openly, and there is nothing wrong with taking care of our image, we need to multiply the hidden work. There is nothing more beautiful than words and deeds hidden between you and God. These reinforce piety and fulfill our need to maintain a relationship between us and God and out of sight.

Do not activate the autopilot option

Our finger is so used to scrolling that it has become a mindless maneuver. The brain muscles act in such an instinctively way that it can happen that we take the mobile phone in our hands, either during a conversation or by performing another activity, and we start scrolling without even being focused on the phone, in fact, but on the activity in question.

Try to avoid this, because Ramadan is a good time to let go of addictions. Stop for a few seconds each time you pick up the phone. Meditate on why you opened the Internet: to send a message, to keep up to date with the latest news, to read something interesting, or to share anything you think might be helpful to her others?

Temporary fasting.

As we fast from food and water we can fast from social media too. Try to withdraw from social networks for a few days or on a certain day for a few hours. Close your profiles for a while because this time period helps you focus on your life and your priorities outside the virtual world.

At certain times of the day, especially in the evenings when a person is usually gripped by feelings of sadness and self-judgment because he has not been able to meet certain daily goals, staying on social media can be very unhealthy to our self-esteem. This is because people usually prefer to share positive aspects of their lives with others and are reluctant to share daily failures or challenges. Deactivation helps us to separate ourselves and meditate on the fact that we are responsible for what we see and how we see it. And remember this hadith- Rasoolullah (Sallallhu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favours bestowed on you.” [Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim] 

Post as less as possible and think about the responsibility for everything you post.

Since social networks have this power of distorting reality as if it were another world, people take the courage to express things that in real life they would never have dared to say. But we are responsible for everything we write as well as for everything we say with the difference that in social networks there are traces left, a wide audience will witness, while in the real world words can be forgotten or only left in between two interlocutors. But if we repent and seek forgiveness, are we able to do so publicly? Are we able to do this in front of hundreds of thousands of followers? Scary, isn’t it ?! I recall in this case the prophetic saying: “Whoever brings a good habit or tradition to Islam, will be rewarded for it, but also the reward of all those who work after him, without diminishing their reward at all. And whoever brings a bad habit or tradition to Islam, it will be a burden on him, but also the burden of all those who do so after him, without diminishing the responsibility and punishment of those others.”

Since Ramadan is always a new beginning to get away from bad habits, we can take this opportunity to set some boundaries for ourselves regarding the use of social media. Let’s start using it, for good work and to leave good traces, and not being used by!

Nada Dosti

Healthy Recipes For Iftar: Stuffed Peppers

A fast, easy and super yummy iftar is what we all dream about (for those who cook). Stuffed peppers is a great solution for you if you’re really struggling with what to prepare for iftar. It is easy and you can use almost everything you want. You can fill the peppers with any combination you prefer; meat, beans, sauces and so on. And the beauty of this recipe is that you can also easily prepare it for suhoor alsa if you have any leftover food from iftar such as beans,roast chicken or quinoa.

The preparation time of this recipe is 20 minutes while cooking one hour. And while it is cooking, you can take advantage of pre – iftar precious time and make duaas. 

For this recipe you will need:

  • 8 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (about 4 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese (4 ounces)
  • Cooking spray
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish (optional)


  • Start by heating the oven and then prepare the baking dish. Heat the oven to 375°F and meanwhile, prepare the peppers and filling.  
  • Use a small knife to cut a wide circle around each bell pepper stem to remove the tops. Chop the tops and set aside because you’ll use them in the filling. Season the inside of each pepper generously with salt and pepper. Place the peppers into the baking dish, wedging them together as needed to fit in one layer; set aside.
  • Now cooking the filling. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add chopped onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning and chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the ground beef, diced pepper tops, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook on medium-high heat, breaking the meat up with a spatula as it cooks, until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice and drained tomatoes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Now is time to stuff the peppers. Evenly divide the mixture among the peppers. Sprinkle the cheese over the peppers. Carefully pour 1 cup of water between the peppers into the baking dish.
  • Cover and bake until tender. Spray one side of a large sheet with aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place it sprayed-side down over the peppers and cover the baking dish tightly. Bake until the peppers are softened but not mushy and the filling is heated through, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with scallions if desired before serving.

Enjoy it!

Eid Is Coming, Gift Ideas For Your Loved Ones

One of the most special things in Islam is about celebrating. It is special because this concept is applied when you really have something to celebrate about. And Eid al Fitr is not an exception. We will be celebrating for fasting 30 days for Allah’s pleasure. 30 days fasting with the hope of having our mistakes forgiven. 30 days full of hope and fully committed to have our worship the best way possible. Eventually this kind of celebration is very amazing and feels so special. It really makes you proud cause you reached something so worth it. 

“So for this let the competitors compete.” (83:26)

 This ayah says it all. Aiming high, means aiming about the hereafter, the pleasure that Allah will provide for us eternally.

With that being said, you might love sharing some gifts with your beloved ones to celebrate what you’ve reached so far during this Ramadan.

  • Mugs. This is a cute souvenir and most people love it and are kind of addicted to it. Luckily you can easily personalise them by adding any cute element or even reminder quotes you’d like to have for a long time to your loved ones. 
  • Laptop Sticker. You can get some nice geometry style laptop stickers. Maybe find some elegant designs, based on Zalij geometry and make your laptop addicted friends feel happy!
  • Books. We all have book lovers in our friends and relatives circle. So find an amazing, inspiring and special book, for your most book addicted person, and surprise them this Eid. It’s very true that book lovers might have tons of books on their bookshelves, but still love having more and more. Make their wish come true, this Eid!
  • Prayer Mat. You know, there are a lot of people who love having cute praying mats. If you give them a nice one, you can really amaze them. And maybe come through their mind whenever praying and have the chance to be mentioned on their duas!
  • Beauty Box. Self care is very liked in Islam. We are required to take care of ourselves, stay clean and healthy. A beauty box can be a nice gift for your sister, friend, spouse, parents, for any one, both genders. You can buy one, or even buy separated products, and beautifully organise them in a box. 
  • Perfume. Since we’re at the beauty stuff, a perfume can be an ideal gift. We all love nice scents, just like our beloved prophet (pbh). Make people remind you and increase love among you. 
  • Rainbow Qur’an. Gifting a colorful Quran to your friend can be very significant, especially if they made it to complete the reading of this special book during the month when it was first revealed.
  • Beard Oil. Encourage our muslim brothers to take care of their beard. It is an encouraged act in Islam to keep you beard and yeah, nowadays it’s trendy also.

These are some suggestions, but of course you can come up with more ideas depending on the preferences of your beloved ones and your possibilities. But still, even if it is something small, it is meaningful. Get connected more with each other and never give up on gifts because they bloom love among you.  Our beloved prophet says: “Give gifts to spread love to one another. “ And Eid is just a perfect time!

Valbona Brahaj

Getting Ready For Laylatul Qadr

Known as the Night of Power, this is a very special night and definitely needs a very special treatment and attention from each one of us. 

Whoever establishes the prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not to show off) then all his past sins will be forgiven.

And this information provided by our beloved prophet, tells us that this is a life event. It is a night when we should really consider adding effort more than ever before and take advantage of the greatness of this night. To pray more, to connect more with Allah(swt), ask from Him to forgive us and make our life better. Staying organised would be a good idea in order not to miss any of the rewards of this special night. Here’s our list of suggestions:

Make a list of duas

Think of what you want to ask from Allah and write it down. It is important in order not to get distracted and forget about your desires. Allah loves to listen to your voice asking from Him, so don’t feel ashamed to ask. Ask what you need the most, but always start your prayer by thanking Him for what you already have. We often become so ungrateful and take most of our good things, for granted. Make sure you also ask for forgiveness and seek Allah’s guidance about reaching the best in the next Dunya, and that is what truly is worth it. 

Put your effort tonight

First feed your mind with the idea that this night is not as every other night. It is rare and living it, means so great. Once you feed that mindset, work on your To Do List and stick to it.Make every moment counted, because we never know if we will be able to reach this night again. Rather do we know that we will be alive even the next coming day. It is worth it so much, to give your all, this night!

Pray longer

Take some more time when praying. Talk to Allah and pass some more time with Him. Stay longer, and feel it deeper. Strengthen your connection with Almighty and really important – take some time before starting your prayers. Take a moment and reflect more about Who is Allah, in front of Whom you’re staying during salat? It is something that we often forget about and it turns into a speedy salat for most of us. If you really follow this approach during the whole Ramadan, not just during the Night of Power, it can become a habit and it is definitely worth it.

Make this dua

Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: I asked the Messenger of Allah: ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’ “(Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi).

The transliteration of this Dua is “Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee”. Make it part of your list of duas and train your tongue to often repeat Istighfar. It will open to you many doors.

Valbona Brahaj

The Importance Of Suhoor

Many of us might struggle to wake up for suhoor and some might not know and understand the wisdom behind. That’s why this article will focus on the benefits and importance of having suhoor, by giving you also at the end some tips on how to motivate yourself to wake up.

Suhoor is the Ramadan early breakfast and it is the moment to energize ourselves before starting a day of fasting. Some of us might skip it since it requires waking up very early before the sunrise and eat, or some might not be hungry or not feeling to eat at a very early hour; they then just wake up for fajr and then go back to sleep. 

It is comprehensible to have those sort of feelings or thoughts, but if there was no wisdom in suhoor, why would then the Prophet (swt) recommend us to wake up from our sleep and perform this important sunnah? He in fact would recommend his companions to have suhoor as he said: “ Have Suhoor for verily there is a blessing in it.”  

You might wonder now, what is the blessing that the prophet is talking about?

These are some of the blessings: 

  1. Following the Prophet’s sunnah;
  2. Differing from the People of the Book;
  3. Strengthening ourselves for worship;
  4. Repelling bad characteristics that are usually associated with hunger such as anger;
  5. Opportunity to engage in charity by providing suhūr for others;
  6. Opportunity to make dhikr and Du’ā at a blessed time.

You can see that within performing Suhoor you will only be benefiting from it, as you will not only revive one of the prophet’s beloved sunnah, but you will also receive Allah’s and the angels’ prayers as it is said in the following hadith: “Indeed Allāh and his Angels send Ṣalāh upon those who have Suḥūr.” The prayers of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) means that He mentions the person who has suhoor amongst the highest gatherings and the Angels’ prayers means that they ask for istighfar (forgiveness) for that person. Imagine, Allah mentioning your name and the Angels asking for istighfar for you just because you are having suhoor while everyone else is sleeping. That is a really big blessing and an opportunity that none should ever miss!!! Hence, we understand how valuable and precious is suhoor for Allah and now we have no excuses for skipping this important moment before praying fajr. Everytime that you don’t feel motivated to wake up for suhoor, just remind yourself of the big virtues that you will benefit from and tell yourself that you should never lose this great blessing that Allah is giving you. And remember that you will be rewarded and that you are not alone, that other Muslims are eating at the same time and that you are also having the Angels and Allah’s company. Moreover, waking up for suhoor is essential in order to make the intention of fasting, as the prophet said:” Whoever does not have the intention of fasting before Fajr, there is no fast for him.” So, if you want your fasting to be valid, you will have to wake up and  make the intention. You can make this dua to renew your intention: “Bi saumin ghaddan, nawaito min shahri ramadan” (translation: I intend to keep the fast for tomorrow in the month of Ramadan).                                                                                                If you do not feel hungry, just drink some water and eat dates or fruits. It is very important to follow this sunnah as it has blessings.                                                                                                                                            

Now that we understand the wisdom that comes with suhoor, let me share with you some tips that will help you to get the energy to wake up for suhoor:                                                                                                                  

  1. Sleep as early as you can, after you finished your prayers and the recitation of Quran
  2. Set up your alarm and if you are worried that you will not hear it, ask someone of your family or friends to call you and wake you up
  3. Prepare your meal before you sleep: knowing that your meal is ready will motivate you to get up from bed and it will be easier for you, as you will not have to worry about what to prepare when you are still half asleep
  4. Before sleeping, ask Allah to give you the energy and strength to wake up for suhoor and have the right intention.

I hope that these tips will be beneficial for you and that this article has given  you a different perspective on suhoor and that it has encouraged you to follow this blessed sunnah of our beloved Prophet (pbuh).

By Zaineb Tassa

Ramadan in Malaysia!

No doubt that all over the globe, the month of Ramadan is the heart of the year. It is the month of spiritual revival, Ibadah, prayer, forgiveness, supplications. It is the month of self-improvement, of getting closer to God, of becoming a better person for yourself and others around you. Apart from that, in Ramadan we get closer to our relatives, friends; mainly through iftars, and meeting during the Teraweeh prayer in the mosque. So far, I have experience fasting in two countries, respectively; Albania and Malaysia. Even though some elements might be the same, still there are a lot of other practices and traditional activities dissimilar. If in Albania the Ramadan atmosphere can be felt and witness among Muslim community only, in Malaysia you can see it everywhere; in streets with Bazaar Ramadan during afternoon, masjids (mosques) full of worshippers, working places closing earlier than 6pm, etc. The way how Malaysia celebrate the Ramadan, makes us all to experience e very special pleasant and unique practice.

First of all, for some cities the first day of Ramadan is a public holiday. Besides, all companies’ directors are very sensitive about fasting, therefore the offices will close minimum 1 hour earlier than usual working hours. This is due to Iftar preparation.

A very special distinguishing aspect of Ramadan is the Ramadan bazaars. Ramadan Bazaars can be found at every corner all over the city, offering a huge array of mouth-watering delicacies to break the fasting during the Iftar with a very economic prize which can be affordable for the rich and poor too. No one should miss the Bazaar, because there is a variety in food and menu, especially on “kueh” (traditional desserts) that are cooked only during this month.

Ramadan is the Month of sharing the food with the needy. A very unique tradition regarding this point is the distribution of Bubur Lambuk. Bubur Lambuk is a creamy rice porridge which is cooked in the mosques by many volunteers and it starts distributed after Asr prayer. You can see very long row of people queuing to get this kind of soup for free. Some volunteer will stand to train/bus stations just to give one cup of soup to the passengers.

Apart from that, the mosque offers Iftar, open to everybody. It’s amazing when you find there rich people too. When I asked one of my directors: “Why do you break the fast here?” She replied: I want to make the Doa with imam, pray congregational, and wait for the Teraweeh prayer. I feel much better in mosque sitting to eat at floor among other Muslims.” A sense of friendship is obvious as everyone sits close together and shares the meal.

A festive atmosphere can be felt throughout the month. The roads, major shopping malls and houses would be extravagantly decorated with twinkling fairy lights or traditional paraffin-fuelled lamps made from bamboo sticks and Local Eid songs are played.

Even though fasting in a hot and dry climate can be quite challenging for some, Ramadan in Malaysia is an irreplaceable experience which I am gonna miss if I decide to leave this country one day.

Brunilda Basha

Istanbul: The City That During Ramadan Speaks Poetry, Tea & Prayer

Istanbul, where continents clash, is a place where you can find anything. This meeting place of East and West is a union of beauty, poetry, mysticism, history, and several cultures. Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “If the world were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital”. Love for this city is destined to last forever. Amidst the streets, bazaars, and metro stations, greetings echo from Merhaba to Bonjour, Hola, Guten Tag, Ciao, Namaste, Salaam, Ahlan Bikum, Shalom, Selamat Patang, and Hello.

In the Kadıköy neighborhood, history resonates through its ancient Jew quarters, Armenian and Orthodox churches. One reminisces the Byzantine Empire and the Romans through cathedrals and the Muslim Ottomans through mosques, hammams, and Islamic schools. The link in the city’s architectural language articulates the peaceful solidarity in the past, as our Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) words,

“Whoever killed a person having a treaty of protection with Muslims, shall not smell the scent of Paradise, though its scent is perceived from a distance of forty years.”[Sahih Al Bukhari]

has framed the essence of all-embracing behaviors for centuries.

From the majestic domes built by Sinan, one of the most celebrated architects, to bird nests across the walls of Saray palaces and the colorful calligraphic compositions engraved on mosque walls; Istanbul- the city of stones, the city of triumphs, home of martyrs like Sahabi Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, and the victory over oppression from Mehmet Fatih- resonates firmness and strength as much as it is has come to be a hearth of mercy for mankind. Every night stories of the wise are read, from anecdotes of Nastradin, to Rumi’s proverbs. The city’s melody is in its nostalgic poetry, birdwatching, fishing nets under the Galata Bridge, the sounds of ships passing through the Bosporus. Istanbul does not sleep, it speaks.

Seagulls fly over the ocean

In a cloudless sky tune.

Their breath sails over the bluish serenity

Merging with my heart’s cheerfulness.

Sun light warms up the soul

Passing through East & West.


Everyone remains apart!

Half of the heart beats in the city’s liveliness.

The other half in memories left hostage.

Istanbul sometimes resembles a young, playful girl, with a noble woman with white hair whose face never wrinkles. Its nature changes like that of a girl’s moods. In the morning the sun rises, at lunch it may rain and at night the stars illuminate the sky.  Its parks are tulip-like rivers, which evoke the desire to swim in them, adorned with pink, red and white roses. The narrow and steep cobbled streets are decorated with small colorful flower pots on every wooden window and white painted houses.

Voices of children buzz over the neighborhood streets. Old grannies who cannot go down the stairs to the markets, throw their baskets to the men selling fruits and vegetables beneath their windows. They place the money inside the basket and the men replace it with food for them. “Ablacim-abicim” (My sister- my brother) are words exclaimed in every market and stores.

-“Where are you from?” a taxi driver asked me one day.

-“Albania”, I replied, annoyed at his question. “We are neighbors“, I added.

-“Neighbors?! No.” he replied, with the “nooo” really prolonged. “Kardesh! Kardesh!” (We are brothers!) He pointed out twice as he took the turn to drop me at my destination.

He was right, all Muslims are brothers…

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

“The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.” (Surah Al-Hujurat: 10)

During the holy month of Ramadan, the city takes to another atmosphere. Its spirit knocks on all families, streets, mosques and parks. It’s as if everything freezes- fatigue, boredom and all your worries have escaped. You become so happy by giving. At the Sultan Ahmet mosque, Taksim Square, Süleymaniye Mosque Park and everywhere else, you can find rows of tables covered in white. Iftar invites every fasting person to join and break fast together.

The food in Ramadan fragrances

Brotherhood for God’s sake!

Round bread with black seeds,

Warm tea and dessert.

Sincere prayers in the light of the candle.

Every fasting persons knocks

for forgiveness,

on the door of the most Merciful.

In this month you experience Ramadan like the Sultan of all other months. Across the minarets of each major mosques are hung string lights with the script “Hos Geldin Ramazan” (Welcome Ramadan) which illuminate the nights of Ramadan. This tradition called “Mahya” reminds each fasting person: calm your troubled souls.

During the summer, fasting falls like a breeze under the positive atmosphere of the terraces illuminated by the magical full moon on the 15th night. The days of fasting arrive and pass one by one as the night leaves the day. In the end, Lord remains, Who, on these days has opened the gates of forgiveness for all His servants.

Every night in Istanbul,

The lamps light up the city

Adhan calls from all corners,

“Allahu Akbar”.

Brunilda Basha