Dr. O blogs at Muslim Medicine, a site that strives to serve only the freshest grade-A certified ẓabiḥah ḥalāl comedy. Contact your local ḥalāl butcher for more details.
Did you ever stop to wonder what it would be like if Muslim families could also celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah in their own homes? Of course you didn’t – that’s haram. Muslims have a profoundly intimate holiday meant just for ourselves- a spectacularly grand culmination of an entire month’s worth of fasting, prayer, fasting, devotion, fasting, worship, remembrance, fasting, charity, fasting, self-reflection, fasting, and fasting. We have something no other faith has, and that’s the blessed day of Eid’l-Fitr. Now if we could just get a day off from work or school to enjoy it, that would be fantastic, but hey, we’ll settle for cutting school and calling out sick from work to have a day of merriment, festivity, and busting a groove:
Eid’l-Fitr is a day of tremendous joy and unparalleled happiness that marks the conclusion of Ramadan with memorable golden moments of heavenly songs, ecstatic dances, loud fanfare, triple-awkward hugging of random people at the mosque, heartfelt family reunions, gift-giving to all your loved ones, and ugly fighting over moon-sighting while declaring others who don’t follow your sighting as deviant for keeping their fast on your day of Eid. This, my friends, is the beauty of Eid’l-Fitr.
Eid’l-Fitr – the other Islamic holiday that goats actually enjoy
Of all the Eid festivities, what everyone looks forward to the most isn’t gorging on food mid-day to celebrate the fact that the word “lunch” has finally returned our vocabulary (and to your stomach) for the rest of the year, nor is it the notion that the sins you commit now can totally go back to being blamed on Shaitan. What everyone (kids most of all) always look forward to year after year are the EID GIFTS.
When’s the last time an ‘Eid gift made you feel like this…?
Without a doubt, gift-giving is one of the major highlights of Eid and it solidifies the bonds of love we have for one another, because nothing says love like an envelope of Eid money with your name on it. But that’s where the stress comes in. The hours upon hours spent racing through malls, toy stores, online catalogs, Wal-mart’s discount sale section, and if you’re really desperate- your own closet, all in search of suitable Eid gifts for everyone on your list. Gift-giving is a highly-refined and deeply intricate art, and fortunately for you, here’s a quick 5-step guide to show you the tips and tricks that’ll make your Eid gifts unforgettable this year.
1 FIND OUT WHAT YOUR RECIPIENT WANTS
This is perhaps the single most important aspect of Eid shopping. The best Eid gift givers are the ones who tailor each gift to fit the likes of each recipient. Apparently it’s human nature to like money, which is why simply giving cash or gift cards for Eid is a lazy but easy cop out- but offering actual gifts that people secretly want is probably the greatest feeling of joy you could give them.
So this is finally your chance to be a super secret FBI agent, and spy on someone else for a change to gather intel on their likes and wants (feels kinda cool when you’re not the one being victimized by blatant FBI spying, hmm?). When they drop clues about things that they’ve had their eyes on, or stuff that they’ve always wanted to have but couldn’t get for one reason or another- that’s your golden opportunity!
Try disguising yourself as common household furniture to eavesdrop on conversations. Someone’s bound to drop a hint sooner or later…
Same for your other loved ones or friends- play a detective and try and figure out what kind of stuff they’ve been asking about lately! Husbands, brothers, and dads- when you’re out and about with your loved one, keep an eye on her and watch carefully when she window shops- sisters usually drop subtle hints about fancy clothes, accessories, or items that catch their eyes.
Here’s a tip, married guys – if you’re on a tight budget, DON’T take her window shopping to a jewelry store before Eid.
Sisters, want to get a gift for your dad, husband, or brother that isn’t something played out and cliche like ties, thoubes, and cologne? Guys are easy to figure out- we’re simplistic folk who enjoy the more fundamental things in life, like peace and solace in our bathroom time, or a leg rest for reclining when we spend hours frothing at the mouth over a sports game.
Here’s a tip, married girls- if your husband looks at you and says “Sweety all I want for ‘Eid … is you ♥,” consider it a TRAP. He’s just kissing up to get some food.
And no matter what you do, NEVER EVER directly ask your recipient what they want for ‘Eid because then that ruins the surprise, makes them feel selfish and uncomfortable, makes you look desperate, ruins the entire mood of Eid, undermines the sanctity of the family, and decays the moral standing of our ummah.
2 HAVE MERCY ON YOUR WALLET OR PURSE
Yeah, we know the feeling of despair that grows in your stomach as you peer at your massive list of family members- if you get an Eid gift for one niece or nephew, you pretty much have to get a gift for all of them or risk causing enough political strife and social revolution to spark an Egyptian Revolution in your own living room. Some families have come up with a cost-friendly solution for that- which is to have a tradition of just not giving gifts.
It’s all cute smiles and giggles until you tell them there’s no Eid gifts.
Giving Eid gifts isn’t about being a billionaire philanthropist, nor trying to be a magical Muslim Santa Claus attempting to grant the deepest wishes of all your family members by silently breaking into their homes the night before Eid and placing gifts underneath their prayer rugs. It’s the niyyah that counts, and its the genuine goodwill and love that really matters in the end. Sure, little kids never see it that way and will totally call you lame and hate you for giving them lousy gifts, but that’s nothing a few slaps and angry Islamic lectures about respecting elders can’t fix. So don’t spend ridiculous amounts of money on your gifts- give from your means, and if you want to spend a little more to show a little more love- then hey, go for it.
But keep in mind that kids nowadays have a pretty sharp memory, and they’ll usually come to expect bigger and better Eid gifts year after year. Snot-nosed ungrateful little whiners- I mean, masha’Allah, such lovable little angels, the light of our eyes and the joy of our hearts.
3 DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT GIFTS
Hey, wanna play a really fun Islamic game?
Done yet? …No? Then take your time. There’s no rush. It really doesn’t take a Grand Mufti to figure this puzzle out… just make sure you solve the Eid Gift Matchup Game before reading onwards, though- it’d be pretty sad if you had to resort to cheating on a game meant for kids. Alrighty then! Have you got your answers in your head? Hold on to your wuḍū’- we’re about to blow your mind.
So then! You just helped out Little Fatima with her Eid gifts, didn’t you? Masha’Allah, you’re such a sweet person! But you’re totally wrong. You gave the frying pan to mommy (shame on you, brothers), the beard trimmer to daddy, Super Street Fighter 4 to Billal, and then you probably got really confused between the gifts left for baby Aaliyah, Little Fatima, and Spiderman. But see… you used stereotypes and assumptions to guide your gift-selection, and you didn’t use your skills of Eid Gifting in-between the lines.
You see about 4 years ago, Mommy made a delicious egg omelet for breakfast, and after trying it, Daddy carelessly commented by saying, “meh, it tastes okay.” Since that day, Mommy has never forgotten that hurtful comment, and this year for Eid she’s getting Daddy a frying pan so that he can feel the frustration of frying food and not being appreciated for it.
Mommy bribed Fatima by offering her a My Little Pony toy for Eid if she kept quiet about Mommy’s secret plan. Billal, now reaching that awkward age of puberty, has started to grow a small itchy mustache, and Daddy’s getting him a beard trimming kit for Eid to celebrate his entry into manhood. While shopping at Toys R Us for a Tickle Me Elmo meant for baby Aaliyah, Daddy comes across the video game aisle and spots Super Street Fighter 4- knowing how much his wife loves fighting games, he decides to buy the game for her.
And now we’re left with Spiderman. And all Spiderman has ever wanted for Eid all these lonely years is to finally cuddle up with his primary care physician Doctor Octopus and watch his favorite episodes of Dora the Explorer.
Take a lesson from this exercise, friends. Eid’l-Fitr is serious business. Don’t make assumptions about Eid Gifts.
4 MAKE SURE YOUR EID GIFTS DON’T OFFEND
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking- “This is Eid’l-Fitr, for crying out loud! How could giving an Eid Gift ever be a bad thing?!” First of all, stop crying out loud – it’s Eid. Why are you crying about Eid, anyway? Man up. Second of all, Muslims are pioneers in the field of stinging criticism, and even something as universally wonderful as Eid Gifts can become a means of making subtle commentary.
Suddenly Karim didn’t feel so excited about getting Eid gifts from his wife anymore
Sometimes the choices you make for Eid gifts may backfire, and land you in serious trouble, or worse- may jeopardize your health and well-being.
Layla gave her brother an Eid gift in return: a free trip to the hospital
5 BE GRATEFUL
So your aunt gives you pants that don’t really fit you, your best friend gives you a pack of diapers as a joke, and your mom gets you a cute Pokemon t-shirt despite the fact that you’re 25 years old. Sometimes Eid gifts aren’t exactly what you expect, nor what you’re hoping to get at all. But the point is to always remember that these gifts, no matter they may be, are always given out of love for you, and anything that you receive (or don’t receive) is from the mercy and bounties of Allāh .
Keep in mind that not getting your XBOX Kinect this year or getting just $10 from your grandmother is not something you should ever complain about or throw tantrums over. Every gift, regardless of how small or grand it is, is a blessing that deserves your respect and thankfulness. If you’ve got the means, try to give something back that either matches the gifts you’ve received, or goes above and beyond it. That’s true love right there.
And above all else, remember your brothers and sisters abroad whose Eid celebrations are far from joyous, and anything but happy. They may not have grand celebrations, epic feasts, expensive gifts, or glittering Eid clothes- but their happiness on that day means just as much as yours, and truth be told… …they really do deserve and desperately need that glimmer of joy more than we do. So don’t just keep them in mind- keep them in your hearts as well.
For all of the deeds that you’ve accomplished over this past month, for all of the people that you’ve helped and comforted, for all the nights you’ve spent alone pouring your heart out into your duas, may Allāh accept all of it and reward you all immensely for everything, and reserve for each of you a beautiful abode in the highest level of Paradise. May your good words and actions during this month be returned to you a thousand-fold on the Day of Reckoning and may they anchor your scales in favor of spending an eternity in the wondrous Gardens of our Lord.
May Allāh grant you and your families His blessings, protection, provisions, and the very best of opportunities both in this world and the next, and may He bring you all together and increase you all in love and happiness both with your close friends and with your families. May this Ramadan be the month that secures our entry through the grand gates of Ar-Rayyan.
5 Reasons The Muslim World Needs a Jon Stewart
There will be many who read the title of this article and think – of all the many, many things that the Muslim world does need – they’re pretty sure that a middle aged liberal Jewish comedian isn’t one of them.
And they would be wrong.
Who am I kidding? Even Hijabi Barbie is front page news for us
But I’m here to make the case that we could also do with our own version of Jon Stewart.
No. This doesn’t count…
Well, here are just 5 reasons:
1. Someone who tells it like it is
Politicians and leaders often like to hide behind semantics and carefully scripted soundbites. They speak like they’re afraid of what might happen if the masses understood what was actually going on.
Probably with good reason.
Then here comes Jon every weekday evening cutting through the garbage and explaining things in simple, direct (albeit American) English.
A dose of raw, passionate, straight-talking truth? Suddenly, college students are interested in the debt crisis or police brutality.
The Muslim world could do with a few articulate souls who manage to move beyond preaching to the converted and instead, try and reach out to the disaffected, the uninterested and the disenfranchised.
Someone who could dumb it down without the dumb part.
2. Someone who is fair
It is well known that Stewart is towards the more liberal end of the spectrum. [Understatement alert]
You would expect him to constantly and mercilessly pick on Fox News and Dick Cheney.
But this doesn’t stop him from pointing out the hypocrisy and ineptitude of those he supports. Watching the Jewish American Liberal Stewart rip apart Israel during the last Gaza war showed he was a man of some principle.
The Muslim world could do with leaders who are willing to tell hard truths to their home crowds just as much as they were willing to rail against their natural enemies.
3. Someone who nurtures talent
Over the years, the Daily Show has attracted young and unknown aspiring comedians and turned them into confident stars. From Steve Carrel to Steven Colbert – Stewart hasn’t just surrounded himself with sycophants but with talent that pushed him to do better.
Again, the Muslim world could do with leadership that produced more leaders rather than ever more dependent followers. How amazing would it be if the Muslim world served as an incubator for good leaders, where people were valued and flourished and…
4. Someone who pushes the intellectual boundaries
If the Daily Show was to pander to its demographic, they would have movie and rock stars on every evening to plug their latest asinine movie or album. Instead, you were as likely to see an interview with Taylor Swift as with the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Stewart often nailed the balancing act of being entertaining to his audience whilst also encouraging them to broaden their intellectual horizons.
The Muslim world could do with leaders who focused not just on individual spiritual inspiration, but also on societal temporal aspiration as well.
Translation: Where’s the Muslim equivalent of NASA?
5. Someone who tells it with a smile
Lets face it, for someone who has been on TV 4 nights a week for more than 15 years – Jon Stewart has surprisingly few gaffes to highlight. There were only a handful of anger-related meltdowns. There were definitely no unguarded moments where he “heroically” rails against an elected government, but stays silent about a coup and the mass murder of innocent people whose political viewpoint he disagrees with.
No caption would do justice…
Whatever Jon did, he did with grace. He skewered you like a kebab and cut you up like a … kebab. However, he did so with a politeness that made it hard to dislike him.
The Muslim world could do with leaders that managed the art of making a point without making an enemy.
Now some will read the above and wonder why someone who holds as many opinions at odds with Islamic orthodoxy as Stewart should be cast in a favourable light by us. To them I say that I am not advocating taking our religion from him. In fact, the qualities described above are Islamic qualities that are rooted in our deepest traditions, yet somehow are best exemplified these days by non-Muslims like him.
You don’t have to accept his views or his politics to be a fan of the way the man simply excelled at what he did.
And what he did, was shine a searing light on the state of his nation so that maybe, somehow, some way, they might just realise that they could be so much better than they are now.
If that isn’t something that the Muslim world needs right now…then I don’t know what is.
MuslimKidsMatter | Muslim Teenager Posts
Muslim Teenager Posts
By Nura F.
Don’t you hate that awkward moment when you read a Teenager Post you can’t relate to because of how different your lifestyle is from that of many other teens? I’ve stopped that, with my new Teenager Posts for Muslims! The point behind my Muslim Teenager Posts is to provide the countless Muslim youth with appropriate posts to view on the Internet, seeing as there are not that many appropriate ones. Muslim Teenager Posts can also show non-Muslim teenagers what it is like to be a Muslim as a teenager. It is a perfectly harmless, entertaining, and small way to spread Islam, especially since so many of the children these days spend their free time on the Internet. I hope that my Muslim Teenager posts will change the way people think about Muslims and will be relatable for Muslim teens everywhere.
Nura F is sixteen years old and is working to become an author for both children and teens. Her two favorite genres to write about are humor and adventure. Outside of her writing career, Nura loves to bake, read, and draw. She is also an avid blogger and keeps a number of blogs: one about her baking creations, one containing passionate rants, and one about reflections on ayahs in the Qur’an (which she really, really needs to update). Nura lives in Texas, USA, with her parents, sister, and two younger brothers.
(Attention, writers! Muslim Kids Matter is a regular feature at Muslim Matters. New articles for kids are posted every other Sunday. You’re welcome to send in your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
After #TweetlikeABC and #FauxNews: Jon Stewart’s Take on Palestine-Israel Coverage