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Showing posts from August, 2011

Ramadan Special (Days 10-21): What's In A Name?

It's funny to think that after all this time I NOW get why Muslims are encouraged to learn Allah's 99 names

We have a guest in our home, and according to Dagomba tradition, her name for the first week of her life here on earth is "Saanpaga", which means "Lady guest". The male equivalent, "Saandoo" also means, take a wild guess, "Man Guest". Total ingenuity, I know. Anyway, today Saanpaga will finally get her own name according to Islamic tradition. And during the last 10- and what is deemed the holiest- days of Ramadan too! MashAllah. In addition, as per family tradition, she will get a Dagbani middle name.

Yes, her Islamic name will most likely have "tu" affixed to the end as most Islamic female names do.  No, it's not a fad, but rather a grammatical rule, as "tu" serves as a female indicator. Kind of like the French 'e'. My full name for instance, is Jemila(tu) Wunpini Abdulai. Jemila means beauty or …

Circum-Alert: Hold The Future - The Movement Is Here

"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it." - The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) Finally, after numerous allusions on this site, I get to introduce you to a project I've been personally involved in since returning home to Ghana. As you know, our dear continent (Africa) has undergone many challenges over the years, some of which seem to get worse by the minute. In the midst of all of that however, there has always been the resilience and sheer force of the African spirit that refuses to buckle under all the pressure.
Many times I've listened to friends, colleagues, coworkers, family, acquaintainces and even strangers talk about how they would rather NOT be doing what they are doing (I believe the term used is 'day job') and would rather be pursuing something else entirely (their passion/dream). Why DON'T they? Family pressure, financial contraints, fear, unpreparedness, insecurity, time, age, lack of motivation, doubt; the lis…

Ramadan Special (Days 5-9): Perfectly Imperfect (Human)

Nor say of anything, "I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow," without adding, so please Allah!" And call thy Lord to mind when thou forgetest, and say, "I hope that my Lord will guide me ever closer (even) than this to the right road." - Surah 18: 23, Al-Khaf (The Cave)
This is undoubtedly one of my favorite chapters in the Holy Qu'ran. It tells the story of some young Muslims and their dog who came upon a cave when fleeing their enemies. Allah caused them to fall into a deep slumber, sealed the cave and saved them from their pursuers. When they awoke they wondered how long they had been asleep, and God commanded them to go into town to find out. They literally woke up in another time/era, the exact of which remains unknown to all but Allah.

Why I like it? I can't pinpoint one thing. Maybe it's the comfort of knowing that God protects his own, or that He lovingly guides us to the best path/situation. Perhaps I find it amusing that what seems an …

Ramadan Special (Days 2-4): Circles of Positivity

In an authentic Hadith, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:  "Man is influenced by the faith of his friends. Therefore, be careful of whom you associate with."
One of the distinct features of Ramadan that I have come to love is the feeling of camaraderie, of being one anther's keeper and of going out of ones way to show love and support. In my opinion, (wo)man's capacity for kindness is never more evident than during this Holy month. Its a time when complete strangers sit together in prayer shoulder to shoulder for hours and contemplate the wonders of God's creative abilities. When families who live in the same house yet have very separate lives pause for a moment and rediscover one another. When people go out of their way to lend a helping hand to the needy and orphaned in society. And perhaps, what's most beautiful, when the indescribable bond between humanity - Muslims and non-Muslims - is renewed.

Over the years and during my time away from home I have experienc…

Ramadan Special (Day 1): Beyond Peace

Ramadan Kareem! The Holy month is here again, and started on August 1 for most of the world. This year's Ramadan is significant for me in a number of ways. Numero uno, it's my first Ramadan in 6 years with my entire family in Ghana! And by family I mean nuclear family. Previous Ramadans were spent with various 'family members' in the US, France, Senegal, and virtually. So now we're back to home base, Alhamdulilahi, and that also means there are some key differences, the least not being the fact that I actually eat properly during suhoor (dawn meal) and iftar (evening meal) thanks to mummy :)

I've probably mentioned on here how every year right before Ramadan something usually pops ups to mess with my equilibrium and then the entire month is essentially spent delving within and trying to regain my internal balance. So far there has been nothing of the sort. Alhamdulilahi I'm swimming in harmony; my family and friends are close, I have an interesting job, enga…