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Showing posts from June, 2018

Creating the Ramadan Spirit : Attending a Mass Iftaar

As part of my quest to foster a stronger "Ramadan feel", as especially where I live in the modern side of Istanbul I have found it somewhat absent, we attended a local mass iftaar. The setup is that many of the local municipalities host these "mass iftaars" in the cami (musjid) courtyards, free of charge for the public. It is especially arranged for those who will not make it home in time for iftaar or are travelling, but anyone is welcome. I was really keen to attend one such event to understand a bit more of Turkish culture, and to join other Muslims in opening our fast together, a special time for everyone who is fasting. Our local cami in Etiler has the tables set up daily and so one evening we bundled up the baby and hopped on a bus, just two stops away about half hour before Maghrib prayers. There was plenty of space available when we got there, so we seated ourselves, and then joined the long queues of people who were getting ready to collect their

Overlook and Move on

Every relationship – family, friends, even the relationship you have with yourself have understandable challenges from time to time to overcome. Recently I have been observing myself and my family to understand where exactly conflict is coming from in order that it can be dealt with more effectively - and avoided where possible. My conclusion is that life will be so much better if we all just learnt how to overlook. Overlook when people don’t live up to our expectations (well not having expectations of anyone in the first place is better anyway!). Overlook when people say or do things that hurt us. Learn to ignore, make excuses. Just leave people to answer for their own deeds. Why do we feel the need to restore justice in the world? Its not our place. Overlook and move on. Why do we take everything so seriously? Why do we feel it is our “right” for someone to do x and y for us? “Why didn’t they thank me for the nice gift/gesture I did for them?” Well if I expect t

First impressions of Ramadan in Istanbul

I am living in Istanbul for the past 1.5 years, yet this is my first experience of Ramadan as I was away for the last two instances. Leading up to the month, I was quite excited to finally have a taste (no pun intended!) of what this special month would be like in the third country that I have lived in over the past few years. About two-thirds in, and so far I cant help but feel sadly disappointed. I had high expectations given the prevalent 'Muslim' culture and rich Islamic history that surrounds you here and I felt that I would instantly feel the 'Ramadan vibe' so to speak. But it turns out, its not that simple. Yes, there are more camis (mosques) here than tube stops in London, and the adhan is heard loudly and openly almost anywhere that you are. But there is also a very strong secular side to this country, especially where we happen to be living - European side in Besiktas. Here not everyone is a practicing Muslim, participating in fasting and observing the mont