Motherhood: The Job That Never Pays

Once you hop on this train, there is no looking back. This isn’t a transactional job. It is not even a full-time job. It is way more than that. It is a role that pushes you forward. From strength to strength. Regardless of your situation or circumstances. Whether you have a team (partner, other support systems, et al) or you are a lone ranger. 

On one hand, where the parent, a mother is celebrated during May, we seldom realize that this title comes with immense self-sacrifices. They encompass our identity, being, and absolute change in our existence. 

Not to forget the fathers, caregivers, and grandparents who have to take over willingly or unwillingly due to unqiue circumstances and fill the shoes of a mother. 

Motherhood is not about a female taking care of her offspring or just procreating to increase the population. It is also all those loving grandparents, looking out selflessly for their children’s children.

In health and sickness, in happiness and sadness, in life and even in death, parenting is the least appreciated designation. 

A mother’s role according to a study is equivalent to 2.5 full-time jobs. Not to mention the array and complexities of the multiple roles involved. Cook, nurse, helper, cleaner, driver, trainer, counselor, mediator, moderator, referee, buddy, storyteller, educator, and countless more.

Why celebrate a day in a month?

Why celebrate a month in a year?

Mother’s day, father’s day, and parent’s day should be appreciated every single day. 

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَجُلٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَنْ أَحَقُّ بِحُسْنِ الصُّحْبَةِ قَالَ ‏ “‏ أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أُمُّكَ ثُمَّ أَبُوكَ ثُمَّ أَدْنَاكَ أَدْنَاكَ ‏“‏ ‏.‏

Abu Huraira reported that a person said:
Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).

[Sahih Muslim 2548b]

Brene Brown writes in her book, Dare to Lead, “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them. Today, I will choose courage over comfort.”

Mothers choose courage over comfort every living day. They choose to pass on the values in action rather than talking about them. They make a conscious choice of creating a better person than themselves through their lifelong commitment to another human being. The child they care for and love selflessly. 

To all the mothers, fathers, parents, and grandparents, we celebrate with you everyday. 

Muslim Pro App Collaborates with UNICEF to Raise Emergency Funds for Vulnerable Children in Yemen and Afghanistan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  • Muslim Pro signed a one-year partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) to activate fundraising activities for the organization’s programmes
  • This Ramadan (April 2022), the first fundraising drive was launched, concentrating on humanitarian action for children in Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan
  • The Muslim Pro app is calling upon its users to donate to UNICEF and raise emergency funds for children affected by conflict

SINGAPORE, 26 April 2022 –  Bitsmedia, the Singapore-based tech company behind the world’s largest Muslim lifestyle app Muslim Pro, signed a one-year partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) to activate fundraising activities for the organization’s programmes, which has been delivering critical supplies and services to save and protect lives around the world. The first fundraising campaign has been launched this Ramadan, focusing on humanitarian action for children in Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan.

The Muslim Pro app is calling upon its users to donate to UNICEF and raise emergency funds for children affected by conflict. During the Ramadan fundraiser, its global users will be encouraged to support the life-saving work of UNICEF.

In conflict and disaster, children suffer most. During a humanitarian emergency, children are especially vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, and violence. Children living in conflict areas are worse off – they are more likely to be living in extreme poverty, for instance, or their education disrupted.

The chaos and insecurity of war threatens or destroys access to food, shelter, social support and health care, and results in increased vulnerability in communities, especially for children. UNICEF focuses on these children and their families to provide them with the essential interventions required for protection, to save lives and to ensure the rights of all children, everywhere.

Speaking about the campaign, Fara Abdullah, Co-CEO at Bitsmedia said: “There are millions of children in Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. As a global Muslim brand that serves Muslim communities across the world, it is important for Muslim Pro to step up and drive tangible impact for the children in these societies.”

Two decades into the conflict, and considering recent political and socioeconomic developments, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated significantly. Essential services are on the brink of collapse, and around 12.9 million children across Afghanistan need humanitarian assistance to survive. 

UNICEF’s Afghanistan Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal is the largest in the history of the organization.

In Yemen, seven years into the conflict, 20.7 million people – including 11.3 million children – need urgent humanitarian assistance. The damage and closure of schools and hospitals has disrupted access to education and health services, leaving children even more vulnerable, robbing them of their future. Nearly four million people have been internally displaced, half of them being children, making Yemen the fourth largest internally displaced population globally.

As well as supporting the immediate emergency needs of children, whose access to food and water is severely limited, the UNICEF appeal aims to look at the long-term developments of Yemen and Afghanistan and the future of children in both countries. 

“We look forward to our continued efforts with UNICEF and encourage the global community to help out the less fortunate in any way they can,” Fara added. 

The campaign signifies Muslim Pro’s continued collaboration with UNICEF as a part of UNICEF’s Ramadan campaign. Last Ramadan, with the support through Muslim Pro’s crowdfunding efforts and donors across the globe, UNICEF was able to provide life-saving services to vulnerable families and children in remote conflict areas in Yemen and Afghanistan. These services include:

  • Emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services
  • Essential health services through mobile health teams or clinics
  • Immediate and lifesaving services to children including humanitarian cash assistance, transportation and referrals to medical and other services
  • Provision of ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children
  • Facilitating access to unvaccinated children for polio vaccination

Nik Emir Din, Co-CEO at Bitsmedia said: “We are pleased to see that our app continues to be of great support and aid to Muslims all over the world as our features help bridge physical distances in the practice of our faith.”

Muslim Pro users can donate to UNICEF throughout Ramadan until the end of April via an in-app link at (https://bit.ly/3JdwAbf) to support the emergency response in Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan.

Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries, please contact press@bitsmedia.com

Reflections on Embracing Eid in A World of Blessings

This year was about bringing people together. Many of us could finally sit next to each other in masjids all around the world. Look at each other, genuine smiles and happiness visible without the barrier of the mask. Some of us finally took in a breath of fresh air at the closest park near our homes. The moment some of us knew we could travel we hastened and journeyed for Umrah. We invited 9 individuals from diverse countries and ethnicities to share their personal stories with us during Ramadan.

Sharing The Spirit of Ramadan and The Essence of Eid

  

We have nothing but gratitude for the holy month. This world is a prison that we are currently serving our time in, to cleanse ourselves of the burdens before we spiritually ascend to Allah. It’s never too late to ask for forgiveness from one another or to ask for the ability to pray to Him fearlessly.

We would like to share a few touching quotes from the series that summarised how individuals feel when Ramadan dawns and bids farewell.

In the story Ramadan Around the World #2: Unveiling the Beauty of Islam, our Brazilian convert sister, Maryam Souza shared the story of her powerful sense of accomplishment during her first Ramadan nearly a decade ago: “The feeling that my heart was purified and my soul cleansed was a blessing. I had been endowed with the opportunity to start from scratch and all I wanted was to live long enough until the next Ramadan.” She mentioned with pride and a tad of sadness how no one could make her give up, even more so when the purpose was to please Allah and that she had already started missing everything about Ramadan.

In the story Ramadan Around The World #7: Gratitude for Allah’s Blessings, our French Brother Salah writes, “A wonderful trip that took place during the first week of March, which only strengthened our faith and beliefs as we embrace Ramadan this year. We only stayed there for a week and did not sleep much. However, despite the difficulty and fatigue, traveling to the house of Allah was really a liberation, we had the energy to do everything. It was an unexplainable phenomenon. “

This year many of us can finally leave to travel and meet our loved ones we may have not met in the past two years. Some may have lost their beloved, while some are experiencing unimaginable circumstances, struggling to make ends meet. 

While many parts of the world face chaos some of us are at the receiving end of consequences we cannot process or understand. 

In the story Ramadan Around the World #5: Displacement Devotion and Hope, our Afghan brother, Muhammed Imran shares a heartwarming note after escaping from Afghanistan last year as soon as it was taken over by the Taliban, “I shall be welcoming the blessed month in Germany for the first time ever. I am excited; unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Eid. I have left everything behind in Afghanistan. My family is not with me and my friends are still in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, there’s no chance to see them in near future. Some of the people have spent almost 10 to 15 years here and have not been able to meet their families. I can still see their faces, all my friends wearing the same clothes and shoes on Eid. I hope I’ll meet them soon, someday.”

Some stories are of ibadah, while some stories are of how faith can move mountains. In the story Ramadan Around the World #6: Reminisces of Ramadan and Raya in Riyadh, our Punjabi convert sister Rozinah, takes us through nostalgic experiences of her days as a young convert and a mother in 1983 in Riyadh. “I put my faith in Him and leave it. Alhamdulillah,” she says. She also adds her understanding from Surah Ibrahim [14:7],

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ

“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ’If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more”

Embracing Eid

While Ramadan leaves us renewed every year, we realize the lifeless routines we succumb ourselves to only when we are honoured with the arrival of the holy month the following year

Allah, is All-Knowing and All-Giving. The fact is, our duas are restricted to our understanding but His bounties are infinite. Our human forms are incapable of perceiving all the blessings we are endowed with since the day we are put in the wombs of our mothers.

We keep searching for faults outside and blame others. But if we look around there is so much to be thankful for. Pandemics, wars, and oppression have savaged humanity since the beginning of time. Yet, through the storms, faint rays of light are a sign that the best is yet to come.

Maybe, we can make humble and positive intentions in our lifestyle and heart and continue praying to Allah;

To grant us peace in our hearts before we look for peace outside. 

To grant us the strength to fight the voice of Shaitaan within us before we can fight it outside.

To bless us with one more Ramadan and one more chance to repent, before You call us so that our soul is not shackled by sins, unable to rise to You.

As we bid adieu to Ramadan 1443H and embrace Eid, may we continue to practice and learn from our daily triumphs and failures as we strive to become better versions of ourselves. InshaAllah.

Ramadan Around The World 2022

Do take some time and read the touching and illuminating narratives by our contributors in The Ramadan Around The World series. Read and share this series with your loved ones and friends this Eid!

Ramadan Around The World #1: Haram Zakat and Humility

Ramadan Around The World #2: Unveiling the Beauty of Islam

Ramadan Around The World #3: Just Do It! Words of A Revert

Ramadan Around The World #4: Tenacious and Tender, Tawakkul of A Woman

Ramadan Around The World #5: Displacement, Devotion, and Hope

Ramadan Around The World #6: Reminisces of Ramadan and Raya in Riyadh

Ramadan Around The World #7: Gratitude for Allah’s Blessings

Ramadan Around The World #8: All Pathways Lead To The Heart And Home

Ramadan Around The World #9: Witnessing Beauty and Unity in Diversity Through Iftar

Bitsmedia Signs SGD$50,000 Scholarship Agreement with MENDAKI to Support Local Tertiary Students Pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  • The agreement was signed at a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ceremony with local self-help group MENDAKI on 14 April 2022
  • The scholarship will support 10 Malay/Muslim students from local universities in the STEM fields
  • Both parties have agreed to award two scholarships per year, from 2022 to 2026, with each scholarship valued at $5,000
  • This is Bitsmedia’s first scholarship funding since its inception in 2009

SINGAPORE, 14 April 2022 – Bitsmedia, a Singapore-based tech company behind the Muslim Pro app, the most popular Muslim lifestyle brand in the world, forms a 5-year agreement with local self-help group MENDAKI to fund a scholarship for students in local universities, with priority given to those in the STEM field. 

A total of 10 Malay/Muslim students would benefit from this scholarship twice a year, from 2022 to 2026. Each scholarship is valued at SGD$5,000.

“At the core of the Muslim Pro brand is our commitment to empowering Muslims through technology,” says Fara Abdullah, Co-CEO of Bitsmedia and Muslim Pro.

Fara also added, “We want to encourage youths to explore a sector that is constantly thriving with innovations and limitless possibilities. It all begins with education and that a person’s financial limitations should not be a roadblock to achieving one’s ambitions and aspirations. I hope this would inspire many more students to achieve greater heights in the areas of STEM.”

Mdm Zuraidah Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of MENDAKI says, “MENDAKI is delighted to partner Bitsmedia and establish a new scholarship to support Malay/Muslim students who are studying in STEM fields. We hope more like-minded corporate partners in emerging and growth sectors will continue to work with MENDAKI to help our students to pursue their studies and achieve their dream”.

This scholarship is Bitsmedia’s first to fund since its inception in 2009. 

Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries, please contact press@bitsmedia.com

About Muslim Pro

Muslim Pro is a mobile application developed and published by Bitsmedia, a Singapore-based tech company. 

Starting in 2010 as a mobile application with a founding ambition of providing accurate prayer times for the global Muslim community, Muslim Pro has grown with the evolving needs of its community into a comprehensive lifestyle app serving millions of users worldwide.

The app’s main features support the religious needs of the community through its accurate prayer times and tracker, azan (call to prayer), full audio Qur’an, Qibla compass, Islamic Hijri calendar, Zakat (alms) calculation, as well as lifestyle-inspired content such as Stories, Inspiration and Community features that cater to the diverse interests of the global Muslim community.

Muslim Pro has more than 120 million downloads in over 190 markets across users of all ages.

For more information, please visit https://www.muslimpro.com.  

Ramadan Around The World #5: Displacement, Devotion, and Hope

This Ramadan we share with you a bird’s eye view of personal Muslim stories from across the globe.

An Afghan photographer shares his nostalgic memories that encompass the spirit of Ramadan in refuge camps, grand bazaars of Afghanistan, and awaiting his first Eid in the foreign land of Germany.


I am a photographer and strongly believe in the power of photography. It has changed people’s life in Afghanistan. Some of my stories completely changed the lives of roadside sellers. Thus far, I have travelled to more than 20 provinces of Afghanistan.

I was born in a refugee camp in a neighbouring country, where I lived until 2014. I completed my matric (tenth grade) there before moving to Afghanistan and began studying Journalism and Mass Communications at Kardan University, Kabul. However, my journey from Kabul to Berlin started in 2021 after the Taliban’s takeover. I was among the thousands; students, academics, artists, and government employees to be evacuated to different countries.

I belong to a Pashtun ethnic group, which is very strict in religious matters and they follow Islamic practices rigidly. However culturally, Ramadan in Pakistan and Afghanistan are not very different as we are from the same ethnic groups divided by a line, living in close geographical proximity.

A regular fasting day for me, though, is quite different. In Afghanistan, if our university or school is closed, we would sleep after Fajr namaz and wake up before Zuhar namaz. After praying Zuhar we would recite the Quran and then go to the market to bring food for iftar and visit our friends. In Pakistan, we were working as child laborers so we had to fast and work.


I remember, my first ever Roza (fast) was when I was 14 years old. The weather was still very warm, though it was about – 45°C. Eating on a regular basis in childhood and suddenly stopping for up to 15 to 16 hours daily, for a month, was difficult as a teenager. However, it was a great experience to learn sabar (patience), taqwa (trust), and parhizgari (devotion).

The first 10 to 20 days of Ramadan were bearable. From day 20 onwards, people would start preparing for Eid. They would buy food and sew new clothes.

Memories of Ramadan are unforgettable. As I close my eyes, vivid, pristine memories still flash by. The colours of the rainbow, people in a hurry, leaving everything behind to go to home and have iftar together with family. People giving each other food. Friends and family heading out to shop at grand colourful bazaars. One can only imagine how stuffy it was with an endless number of people selling and buying stuff. The bazaar was certainly not like any other average day.

An Afghanistan Bazaar Grand Bazaar, Ramadan, Afghan People,

You would also find a lot of people helping the poor through food donations and zakat

People in my area mostly worked outside the city or the country. So, they only managed to visit their families during Ramadan and Eid. In countries like Afghanistan, this was the only celebration where everyone looked happy and wore new outfits. They would also invite each other to their homes and visit relatives and friends.

When I was younger and living in Pakistan, my Afghanistan community would go to the mosque for Eid Prayers. People would bring tea, food and sweets to share for breakfast. Those are now distant memories but will stay with me for the rest of my life.


This Ramadan, I shall be welcoming the blessed month in Germany for the first time ever. I am excited; unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Eid. I have left everything behind in Afghanistan. My family is not with me and my friends are still in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, there’s no chance to see them in near future. Some of the people have spent almost 10 to 15 years here and have not been able to meet their families. I can still see their faces, all my friends wearing the same clothes and shoes on Eid. I hope I’ll meet them soon, someday.

I like Berlin because it is a mix of cultures. You can find almost every religion and ethnicity here, so Ramadan might be colorful, but I do not think it can ever be the same as the Afghanistan community here is quite small. Being alone thousands of kilometers away from my family is difficult, but during Ramadan, it is extremely difficult.

Written by: Muhammed Imran

Curated by: Muslim Pro

About the Writer

Muhammad Imran, 24, is a photographer from Zurmat, Afghanistan, currently living in Berlin, Germany. His photos have won several awards and competitions in and outside Afghanistan. He has volunteered as an education activist and a photographer with non-profit organizations for several years. He shares his love for Afghanistan on his Instagram.

Ramadan Around the World #4: Tenacious and Tender, Tawakkul of A Woman 

This Ramadan we share with you a bird’s eye view of personal Muslim stories from across the globe. 

A UK-based Muslimah of Palestinian origin shares her struggles with fitting in, training as a gym instructor, making choices as a woman and her undying faith in Allah.


Tawakkul. Trust in Allah.

When you put your full trust in Allah, nothing bothers you. Every bad thing said about you, every hurtful action towards you, you will just brush it off. Because of your trust in Allah.

You know, Allah is just and merciful and everyone will get what they deserve. But, you should also remember that Allah is most forgiving, and if you forgive, your reward lies with Allah. 

وَجَزَٰٓؤُا۟ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا ۖ فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُۥ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

“The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon God.” 

[Surah Ash-Shuraa 42:40]

The first lockdown was life-changing. That episode of my life consisted of me making a change and to do this, I had to re-think the company I keep. I had to let go of things which are not in my control and naysayers who restricted me from reaching my potential. I focused on reconnecting with my Lord. 

As women, we are often told to stay at home and avoid heavy weight lifting exercises because it makes us bulky. Supposedly, by doing so we cause more harm than good to ourselves. It deteriorates our physical and mental being. It is sunnah to take care of our physical being as our bodies have a right on us. 

I was forcing friendships I never felt comfortable with. This affected my deen and had a massive impact on my mental health. If you are ever with people whom you do not relate to, leave.

For me, showing mercy to myself and my body was done through training and breaking stereotypes. It helped me physically and mentally; something which I could not imagine before. Even on days when I did not not feel like moving, I fit in a quick workout. 

Be merciful towards yourself and do what is right for you. Renew your intentions, knowing that you are moving for the sake of Allah. The best advice I have ever received is that consistency is the key to change. 

Be consistent in your prayers, your fasting, your seeking of knowledge and watch how your life becomes fruitful. Developing habits creates discipline and routine, and this will help you stay firm at your lowest times. 

Ramadan helps me change the way I think. I become a lot more self-dependent as it strengthens my relationship with Allah. I start understanding my situation, look at life from a positive perspective and focus on my akhirah

By the end of Ramadan, I feel like I have gained control over my wants and desires. My connection with Allah becomes stronger. My heart feels at ease and a feeling of tranquility overcomes everything I do. When I say farewell to this beloved month, Eid is a reward to mark the end of Ramadan. 

I’ve rarely spent Ramadan in Palestine; however, this blessed month is just as special and rewarding anywhere in the world. My favourite part about Ramadan in the United Kingdom is the sense of community. It is a time when Muslims collectively make an effort to practise their deen and do more good. My days during Ramadan are spent preparing for iftar with family and friends. 

My favourite thing about Eid is the sense of oneness, with Allah and the collective ummah. It’s a day when Muslims forget their differences and join together to celebrate. The mosques are packed for the Eid prayer. Gatherings at multiple houses and the streets are filled with joy. The whole ummah joins to collectively celebrate one big achievement we have all gone through together. Eid for me consists of calling my family back in Palestine and meeting up with friends to celebrate. 

Being firm in your faith strengthens you in ways you could never comprehend. The power we hold when we have Allah on our side is limitless. Eventually, every challenge is surmountable. You feel safe and protected with Allah. During the first lockdown in the UK, the only thing that got me through was seeking refuge in Allah. I believed with all my heart that the difficulty I was facing would pass and that Allah’s plan was greater than mine. There is wisdom behind everything even if we cannot see it. Seeking refuge in Allah gives you strength. 

Written by Uns Khatib

Curated by Muslim Pro

About the Writer
Uns Khatib is a Palestinian living in the United Kingdom. Currently, she is a social media influencer and full-time student. She aims to break the stereotype of hijabi women through her passion in fitness by showing the world that hijab does not limit a Muslimah from reaching her full potential. 

Reconnect with Food by Hanan Badri

Learn how our food creator from France creates an irresistible french omelet for suhoor and a creamy baked potato classic for iftar this Ramadan.

Suhoor: French Omelet

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 25 gram of butter
  • Some chives for garnish
  • Emmental cheese
  • Salt

Preparation:

  • Crack the eggs in a bowl
  • Whisk eggs until completely liquid
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Melt the butter at medium heat
  • Pour eggs as soon as the butter melts
  • Keep stirring and evening out the eggs
  • Add cheese to your preferences
  • Bring the pan to you and start rolling the omelet with a spatula
  • Smother it with some more butter
  • Cut some chives and garnish it on top of the omelet
  • Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Iftar: Tartiflette

Ingredients:

  • 400 gram potatoes
  • 4 onions
  • 100 gram ham*
  • 1/2 reblochon
  • 25 gram butter
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  • Cut the potatoes, onions as shown in the video
  • Wash the cut potatoes to remove the starch
  • Dry out the potatoes
  • Boil salted water for the potatoes
  • Melt the butter for the onions
  • Cook until caramelized
  • Cook the sliced ham
  • Take off the potatoes when they’re easily cut with a knife
  • In a small glass tray, layer 1/2 of the onions followed by some potatoes
  • Repeat the previous step until the potatoes and onions are finished
  • Then put some sliced ham on top followed by the reblochon with crush facing up.
  • Then finish it up by putting in the remaining sliced ham
  • Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes
  • Serve and enjoy!
*Halal Ham

Reconnect with Food by Rabia Rashad

Learn how our food creator from Europe creates a starch and carbohydrate rich potato-based savoury suhoor and iftar this Ramadan.

Suhoor: Potato Hash

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • (550g) 2 large potatoes peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 teaspoon spring onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried thymes as needed
  • 1 tablespoon crumbly cheese
  • 2 eggs

Preparation:

  • Preheat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  • Add potatoes, season with salt and black pepper, toss to coat with oil
  • Place a lid on the pan and allow the potatoes to cook covered for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high.
  • Add butter, onion and bell pepper.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and vegetables turn golden brown.
  • Season with cumin and thymes.
  • Make two holes to poach 2 eggs and add some crumbly cheese.
  • Sprinkle some dried thyme leaves.
  • Cover with for a few minutes just enough to cook the eggs.
  • Top with spring onions.

    Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Iftar: Cheesy Chicken and Potato Bake with White Sauce

Ingredients:

  • (324 gram) 2 chicken breasts, cut in small dices
  • (600 gram) 2-3 large potatoes, cut in half inch thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce or tomato paste
  • (45 gram) 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 400 milliliter milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • Dried basil leaves for topping
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preparation:

Baked Potatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 330°F/165°C.
  • Add the potatoes in an oven tray. Season them with dried thyme, salt, pepper, paprika powder and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Make sure all of them are covered with spices and oil.
  • Roast them for the next 20-30 minutes.

Chicken

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onions and chicken and cook it for 6-7 minutes.
  • Season with cumin powder, garlic powder, red chilli powder, salt.
  • Stir well until well combined then add diced bell pepper.
  • Add the tomato sauce, stir, and leave it on heat for 2 more minutes.

White Sauce

  • Melt the butter in a skillet.
  • Slowly add the flour, while vigorously whisking, so it can be absorbed into the butter.
  • Gradually pour the milk and keep whisking until the sauce becomes smooth and thick.
  • Season with salt, black pepper and dried oregano, and turn off the heat.

    Bake
  • Transfer roasted potatoes in a large casserole.
  • Top them with the cooked chicken.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  • Sprinkle grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  • Top with dried basil leaves.
  • Slide the tray into the oven for the next 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

Serve and enjoy!

Reconnect with Food by Rouba Shahin

Learn how our food creator from the Middle East whips up delectable savoury muffins for suhoor and chicken pies for iftar this Ramadan.

Suhoor: Zaatar and Cheese Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 25 gram melted butter
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 400 gram feta crumbled
  • 125 gram halloumi cheese diced
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves shredded
  • 1/4 cup chives chopped
  • 1 tablespoon zaatar
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dry mint
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 3 cups self-raising flour sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°.
  • Whisk eggs and add all ingredients except for the flour and baking powder. Mix well.
  • Add flour and baking powder, and fold in until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tin. This dish is meant to be rustic, do not flatten the mixture once poured into the tin.
  • Rest for ten minutes and then bake in preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve.


Iftar: Musakhan Chicken Style Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken cut into ¼
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 medium onions diced
  • 3 teaspoons sumac
  • 1 teaspoon Bharat/Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season
  • 2-3 ready-made puff pastry sheets (thawed)
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 50 gram unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (extra)

Preparation:

Musakhan Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Place the yogurt, cumin, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the yogurt mixture and combine well.
  • Arrange the chicken skin-side up in a baking dish. 
  • Roast in preheated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Remove, shred, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, place the oil in a frying pan, sauté onions on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onions soften and are lightly golden but not caramelised.
  • Remove from heat, add the sumac, bharat, and chilli.  Mix well.
  • Combine the onion mixture with the shredded chicken.

Mashed Potatoes

  • Cut the potatoes in large chunks and cook in boiling salted water until tender and soft.
  • In a small saucepan heat, place the butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted. Blend the buttery milk mixture with the cooked potatoes and mash until smooth and creamy.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Pastry Filling

  • Grease the pan’s base and sides to line a 26-centimeter springform tin with puff pastry.
  • Place your springform tin over the pastry sheet and cut around the base.
  • Place the round pastry sheet inside the tin.
  • With the second pastry sheet, cut a long strip as wide as the rim of the tin and, place it around the edge of the pie tin.
  • Gently press the edges of the base and rim together with your fingers to seal. 
  • Spoon the filling into the pie tin.
  • Top with mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with black sesame.
  • Drizzle with extra olive oil and bake in preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden in colour.

    Serve.

Ramadan Around the World #3: Just Do It! Words of A Revert

This Ramadan we share with you a bird’s eye view of personal Muslim stories from across the globe. 

An introverted European revert shares his caffeine crunch, the approaching dread and zeal of fasting during his first Ramadan, and the exchange of Dutch and Malay cultures through iftar. 


As a Muslim revert, you can often feel alone, and I certainly have felt this way especially in the early years after converting. When you are going through a significant and life-changing event you have the natural urge to share it with others. For my non-Muslim family members it was hard to understand the concept of Ramadan beyond not eating and drinking whereas for my Muslim family members Ramadan has become second nature.

It was sometimes difficult going through all these new feelings and emotions without a proper outlet. This is not to say that there is no outlet at all. In fact, there are amazing communities where fellow reverts can get together and discuss anything and everything related to Islam. In Singapore, there is ‘The Converts Central’ podcast that focuses on sharing lessons learnt from stories told and challenges experienced by converts.

As a convert, going to the mosques in touristy areas of Singapore, I was often seen as a tourist (who can blame them), but after growing a beard and becoming a regular at the mosque nearby my workplace, others’ perception of me changed.

I think as a non-local convert you will always get the odd stare, but this is something that you learn to deal with over time. I have learned to not see it as a negative, but more as a curiosity.

I reverted to Islam in September of 2013, a month after Ramadan that same year. Fortunately that meant I had almost a whole year of practicing Islam before the next Ramadan. In anticipation of Ramadan I would often ask people for advice or tips: “How to survive Ramadan?” 

I still saw the approaching month of Ramadan as something to dread or worry about. I had never ever fasted. Often, people would advise me to try fasting for a day or to start Ramadan by fasting half-days.

Personally, I never saw fasting half-days as an option so I went ahead with the most common advice: “Just do it”.

However, as a heavily caffeinated individual, I wish someone had recommended slowly reducing my caffeine intake in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. It took me quite a while to get used to the withdrawal headaches which worsened the feelings of dread.

Once my body and mind adjusted to fasting from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm every day, I started feeling the sweetness of Ramadan. While the feelings of dread just melted away, what helped a lot was the realisation that it was not just me going through this. In fact, there is a huge community out there and we were all celebrating Ramadan, together. 

Alhamdulillah, over the years I have learned to manage my own expectations and found an outlet for my thoughts and feelings in prayer and self-reflection. These days, I look forward to Ramadan.

I have always felt privileged as a revert. My non-Muslim family embraced my new identity while my Muslim family welcomed me with open-arms. My employers have been accepting; they let me pray and fast.

Moreover, I am fortunate to live in a country where you are never more than 10 minutes away from a mosque and never more than a minute away from a nice halal meal.

Al-Abrar mosque in Singapore where I did most of my first prayers.
Al-Abrar mosque in Singapore where I did most of my first prayers.

After four years of embracing Islam, I returned home, to the Netherlands. It was an odd experience. As a Muslim, I felt foreign in my own country. The things that I used to eat, I was no longer allowed to enjoy; the festivities that we celebrated as a family were no longer proper for a Muslim.

Being a Muslim in a non-Muslim household was unusual. I suddenly missed my bidet, a lot! I also learned that doing ablution in wintery weather is no fun either. Nonetheless, I look forward to celebrating Ramadan in my home country someday, perhaps in 2033 when Maghrib is at 4:30 in the afternoon. In terms of cultural differences, I realised that the standard European/Dutch greeting (3 kisses on the cheek) is no longer appropriate for Muslims, especially when greeting those of a different gender. 

As an introverted revert — maybe an introrevert — Eid has been a bittersweet holiday for me. When Eid arrives, our lives go back to normal, but not before eating back all the weight we lost during Ramadan. 

The local culture of visiting relatives and friends has always been slightly nightmarish. In the weeks after Eid, every weekend will be full of visits to houses of relatives, colleagues and friends. As Tim, I am only asked two questions: “Can you speak Malay?” and “Can you eat spicy food?”. However, as Nasir, I expect a lot of questions during these visits. Perhaps, about my Ramadan experiences or on my knowledge of Islam. The last two Eid celebrations have been oddly quiet due to the ongoing pandemic, but I am looking forward to seeing people again and eating delicious food!

Multicultural iftar (evening meal after sunset during Ramadan) meal.
Multicultural iftar (evening meal after sunset during Ramadan) meal.

Every year, I look forward to my mother-in-law’s home-cooked sambal goreng, which consists of bean curds or tofu, long beans and tempeh, made of fermented soybeans, fried in chilli. I love to share a little bit of my own culture and cuisine by cooking for my family and guests; I bake a Dutch apple pie or make a hearty beef stew. 

Muslim baby in semi-traditional garbs
Baharudin, in semi-traditional garbs

This Eid is going to be especially different for me as it will be the first Eid where we can bring along our son, Baharudin. It is going to be his third Eid, but for many of our friends and relatives it will be the first time seeing him.

Written by: Tim J.
Curated by: Muslim Pro

About the writer,
Tim, 34, is originally from the Netherlands. He is currently working in Singapore as a Marketing specialist in a technology company. The love of his wife also helped him find his way back to Islam.