6 Things You Should Stop Asking Your Muslim Friends During Ramadan

6 Things You Should Stop Asking Your Muslim Friends During Ramadan

No, seriously, please stop.
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For the record, I am not annoyed or mad when people ask these questions or make these statements. In fact, I am glad. I am glad because people are interested and care enough to ask. But, hearing these statements every year when Ramadan rolls around gets tiring.

1. Not even water?

This is my favorite question. I find it so funny. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from drinking, eating and sexual activity for a whole month. So yes, not even water.

2. Why can't you sneak food? It's not like anyone will know, right?

Sneaking food would defeat the whole purpose of fasting. And I'll know and so will God.

3. Aren't you hungry?

UMMM. Imagine not eating for like fifteen hours. How would you feel? There you go, you answered your own question. Even if I am hungry, it does not matter because I cannot eat.

4. Why can't you fast if you have your period? Isn't it sexist?

I have actually heard this multiple times. Muslims are excused from fasting if they are sick, elderly, children, or if they are menstruating.

5. Is it okay if I eat in front of you?

YES! Someone else fasting should not inhibit you from eating whatever you want. Part of fasting is building discipline and controlling the urge to eat.

6. Aren't you doing this to lose weight?

Um, no. Losing weight can be an unintended consequence of fasting. But, so can gaining weight, due to the carb-heavy and oily foods consumed. I'm doing this because as a Muslim, I am obligated to and want to.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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I Went Abroad To 'Find Myself' But To My Surprise, I Was So Wrong

Finding yourself is like a Jenga tower and my hands shake too much.

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When studying abroad, I feel like you either go to find yourself or you soon realize you will not return the same person you were before.

Whether it was purposeful or completely by accident, being abroad changes the deepest parts of you that you never realized could be changed. When we are home, we are a solid Jenga tower where everything fits in place as it should. Then as you leave your comfort zone, you have to take away some old pieces and rearrange things to better suit your new environment.

Some pieces are harder to remove and some glide out of place so easily, you question why they were there in the first place. All the while, you feel a bit more unsteady and you don't look up to realize you've grown taller than you ever were before.

Morocco is a beautiful country that I love very much. I thought I knew the reality of Morocco and what I was getting myself into. So many parts of this journey have been beautiful and amazing but there are things I haven't shared in the light of social media that I have been struggling with.

The main thing I am struggling with are the rules in Morocco.

You can walk in the middle of the highway, but you have three pairs of house shoes and rules on when and where to wear those shoes. I thought I always dressed modestly but I learned very quickly that I do not. I have struggled to find the balance between being modest enough, but not too modest to wear a hijab because that is something I should not do.

I have felt like there is this list of rules floating above my head that I can't reach to know what they are, so I keep breaking all of them.

I have really felt like I have lost my identity.

I thought coming to Morocco would allow me to find myself, but I am told when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, what to wear, how many layers to wear, when to sleep, how long to sleep, what emotions I am allowed to feel, when I am allowed to feel them, how I am allowed to show my feelings, and so on.

What is the line between being culturally sensitive and being culturally puppeted?

I have cried and prayed so much. Not once have I wished to go home. Not once have I questioned God's plan. He has told me that my identity is not found in what rules I follow and which I break. My identity is not found in what I wear or how I wear it. My identity is not found in anything I do or don't do. My identity is found in Him alone.

That hasn't changed anyone around me, but it has made me stronger. It has given me an image of the plan God has for me. He gave me the image of a Jenga tower. Parts of me have to be taken away, worked on and put back in a new place in order for me to grow. While I might wobble and feel unsteady, God has a steady hand. He will not move too many pieces so that I fall over.

But even if my Jenga tower falls and everything I am crashes down, He will build me up again.

When you are finding yourself, if you really want to change, it is going to be hard, you are going to be unsteady at times and things will get messy. I have definitely seen how I place my identity in the hands of those around me. I went around the world looking for myself only to see how silly it is because I am found in Christ.

You can tell me how to dress and how to feel but that is not who I am. I am a child of God and He is pleased. Anything beyond that is man-made.

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