soul’d (memories of ramadaan)

Ramdh, “burning of the feet from heat”

Ramadha, ‘intense heat”

Ramad, “the heat of the stones arising from the intense heat of the sun”
And yet Ramadaan brought a coolness of spirit; satin pools offering respite from the insistent fingers of the sun.

And the whisperings of the Shayateen, kept far from us, we’re told, during the fast, which amplified to me just how much of our baseness is our own, the internal conflicts – civil wars.

Praying in evening congregation – hundreds of souls binded by the lifting of one finger, “God is One”, wired firmly by the “Aameen”, in one supplicant voice – I held Hope by the shoulder, “we will smash through our schisms, if only we all prayed together.”

And don’t tell me that women should not pray like this, don’t tell me that masaajid and congregational Eid salaah are not for those born without a y-chromosome. These are times of Fitnah, only because we’ve kept mothers away from that which will feed their children.

And as swiftly as Ramadaan shades us, that is how it leaves us, open; with a longing for 11 lunar births to whole the soul. May its legacy live on in the little things we forget; give off yourself in ways that will not lessen you- smile without motive, acknowledge those with hands cupped at traffic lights, be kind to all who join you on your path.

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I am a writer and photographer (look up my work on based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have an MA in Creative Writing from the university currently known as Rhodes. My writing accolades include winning the 2014 Writivism Short Story Prize and the 2020 Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize for my debut collection, Zikr.

12 thoughts on “soul’d (memories of ramadaan)”

  1. wow. that was some awe-inspiring writing.
    every year it’s the same old thing: feeling that sense of loss post-ramadaan. so this year I decided to try to maintain (at least some of the) “habits” I practiced in ramadaan and it’s working so far but it takes a bit more will-power in these not-as-blessed-months for some reason.
    not going to comment on the other issues raised in this comments section, except to say that I 100% agree with Bilal’s view.

  2. “And as swiftly as Ramadaan shades us, that is how it leaves us, open; with a longing for 11 lunar births to whole the soul.”

    11 months between fasts is very long; but its recommended to also fast 6 days of this month (Shawwal), and then there’s always the other sunnah fasts throughout the year.

    We may not have Ramadaan the whole year round – but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep that very special act of fasting with us the whole year round.

    And to inculcate these additional fasts – while we’re young – stands us in good stead for the future, when we’re older and may not have the physical strength to keep extra fasts outside Ramadaan.

  3. 🙂 Saaleha is pleased at the feedback. Engaging debate on these issues is fundamental.

    Re chronology of the posts – i started this one just after Ramadaan, where it remained as a draft until I found the time to do it justice, I changed the date to keep the consistency of posting entries as they’re completed.

  4. nice post dude. Ramadaan is always too short but somehow (no matter how small) we’re spritually better off in the end then when it began. of which i am grateful.

    ignoring the concert, women mosque and towards the end music issue’s.

    focus on what ure blog elluded to and what Muhammad said…Unity. especially as we build up to the Hajj. The media consistantly seprates us creating divisions amongst us.we starved together, we prayed together, we cried together, we ate and celebrated togehter…lets start living together.

    Peace out.

  5. I feel like such a hypocrite noe that I am out of Ramadaan and see all the goodness I had practice start to slowly vanish from me. I hate that I am one person in Ramadaan and another out of it.

    As for Music in Islam, and Women in the masjid… anything that brings you closer to Allah(SWT) is worth doing.

    Let us not let minor issues divide us, our generation should be the one to change this.

    We need Our Unity 🙂



    P.S. Ditto on the poetry, your words spring worlds.

  6. i think women should be alowed to the mosques. It is only a problem because of our Indo-Pak misogynistic backwardness.

    Most communities in Cape Town provide women the oppurtunity to attend Taraweeh, they dont seem to have angry lightening bolts devasting the jammats

    Get over yourselves

  7. That was very beautiful.

    I think women should decide for themselves where they want to pray. Some prefer home, others prefer masjid. Let each do what they feel most comfortable and let nothing hold them back from either. I myself like both 🙂

  8. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog, but it definately won’t be the last! Wow. You have a certain sense of poetry lacking in most of the blogs I’ve visited. (That was no aside to anyone else with a blog, I’m just commenting on different styles) I really like your style; if I had a blog I would hope to write like this.

    Also, you are exactly my mind on women in the mosque. Ditto for Bilal and his comments on music being haraam.However its just flat impossible to convince most muslims on this point, so I keep my mouth shut. I willingly admit that my beliefs have more to do with an overwhelming inner sense of what’s right and wrong than what anyone tells me. Not that I totally disregard the rules and the scholars, but I believe in the importance of individual discretion. However, for most brothers and sisters in the deen that kind of thinking is kufr at its finest.

  9. Hmm.. *sigh*

    No comment on you attending the concert- I was going to attend too- but didn’t coz I’m not much of a LIVE fan. But I have no problems going to concerts with artists that I enjoy. Music is not Haraam- and I don’t want to waste my time debating this!

    On women attending the Musjid. I think many people make statements that they either can’t back up becoz:
    1) That’s what someone told them. 2) Someone also told them that they are not ‘qualified’ or intelligent enough to read the Quran or Sunnah to see for themselves.

    I would suggest that we all be mindful of our own sins and that we all study our Islam- and by study I do not mean googling the fatawah on Music or Women in the Musjid. Fatawah can be whatever you WANT them to be!

  10. well, yes the order of the posts made me wonder too. Concert – Ramadaan. Odd. But that’s not really the point is it. It is sufficient to have had these thoughts, is it not? As for salaat, I give the meaning of a hadith which goes something like this: DO not prevent your women from performing salaat in the masjid. But it concludes saying: but their houses are better for them.
    So salaat at home, according to some scholars, carries more virtue for a woman. That said, I think at least that women should have a choice.
    Being a mother of four, I doubt whether I would make it to the masjid for all my salaat, or that I would want to give up the comfort of being able to pray in ‘that old, but still a favourite cloak’, but taraweeh in Jamaat every now and again would have been great.
    Pity that Ramadaan is not enough to get us to stop sinning against Him, neglecting Him, and forgetting of that precious gift, Taqwa.

  11. Honestly, very well written post…

    Although some criticism and jokes might be aniticpated due to the timing…

    fida, although you have doubts as to whether the Prophet’s wives read prayer in the mosque or not, I believe there are enough ahadith that prove that they practiced I’tikaf with the Prophet.

  12. your previous post was on a concert you attended ??? . . . and your next post on “post-ramadaan” ??????? ( not judging you….just wondering??))

    maybe u should switch them . . .

    BTW ,…. i strongly believe a womans place is in the home (wait till you have kids) . . . none of the prophets wives (pbuh) read salah at a musjid?? correct me if i am wrong . . .

    also….it may not be wrong for a woman to read salah in jamaat in a musjid . . . but if they do not come in contact with the males (which is highly impossible) then its fine . . but it seems there is more “fitnah” than “fatwas” swirling around our minds . . .



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