Archive | Ramdan

This Ramadan, Let’s Call For An End To The Global Refugee Crisis

Posted on 02 June 2016 by admin

Zaid Al-Rawni

CEO of Islamic Relief Canada

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us. This is a time when Muslims all around the world abstain from all food, drink and sexual pleasure during daylight hours. To Muslims, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking; it is a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-discipline and sacrifice.

It is also a time when Muslims remember those less fortunate around the world by giving a portion of their wealth to charitable causes. Every Ramadan, here at Islamic Relief Canada, we pick a global issue that we campaign and fundraise on; and this month we’re calling for more action towards ending the global refugee crisis. It’s a topic that’s on the top of the agenda at the World Humanitarian Summit and one that the Canadian government has recognized and acted upon with the welcoming of Syrian refugees.

From Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia — war, conflict and persecution have forced over 60 million people worldwide to flee their homes. As one of the world’s leading Muslim NGOs, each year we’re finding a greater need for us to respond to the refugee crises. The effects of global climate change and wars in the middle east are destroying lives and forcing people from their homes.

As an aid worker, I’ve travelled to many countries during time of war and conflict and I’ve witnessed the compassion that local communities have shown refugees in places like Pakistan, Jordan and Lebanon. We’ve also seen action from world leaders and millions of people around the world.

Sadly as the number mounts and scale of the crisis increases for the first time, we are seeing global antipathy toward refugees. While countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Germany and Canada have opened their doors, others countries are turning to far right politicians hoping to stem the flow of people seeking refugee and settle as their neighbours. For many of us around the world, we’ve been desensitised to images of refugees walking hundreds of miles, drowning in the Mediterranean Sea and living in refugee camps for their entire life.

We are too caught up in high level political discourse on ways to end conflicts and wars, that we’ve forgotten the impact seeking refugee has on the ordinary people who seen their lives decimated.

For Muslims around the world, Islam specifically outlines specific rules and responsibilities with regards to refugees. This is shown through the example of the Prophet Muhammad when he urged his followers to flee persecution and to seek refuge in the Christian community of Abyssinia. There’s a powerful quote in the prophetic traditions which says:

“You cannot be a real believer unless you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

This is an issue that all of us here at Islamic Relief Canada feel passionate about. This Ramadan we’ve partnered up with leading Canadian NGOs, under the umbrella body of the Humanitarian Coalition to commemorate World Refugee Day. We want to remind the world that we have a responsibility to respond to this refugee crisis.

As a British-Yemeni living in Canada, I’ve been amazed at the generosity of Canadians from all races, religions and backgrounds who have come together to welcome Syrian refugees.

The world can learn from Canada’s example. No one wants to be a refugee. This is a crisis that isn’t going away anytime soon and we must act now for a solution.

Zaid Al-Rawni is the CEO of Islamic Relief Canada

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Nutritious Fasting Practices during Ramadan

Posted on 27 May 2016 by admin

By: Huda Rashid, Registered Dietitian

When we prepare for the month of Ramadan, we think of it as a time of reflection, doing good deeds and most importantly fasting. The word ‘fasting’ is often associated with the following words: ‘weight loss,’ ‘dehydration’ and ‘malnutrition.’ Did you know that it is possible to fast during this month and still meet your energy needs? Did you also know that while fasting during Ramadan, many Muslims actually end up gaining rather than losing weight? Fasting and meeting your nutritional needs may sound contradictory, but it can in fact be achieved by eating the proper foods during the morning and evening meals. You can also control weight gain during the month by not overindulging in high caloric foods after a long day of fasting! Here is some information on how to plan your meals for Ramadan.

This year Ramadan is in June and there will be long days of fasting so it is important to maintain optimal nutrition by eating nutrient dense foods & consuming the proper amounts of liquids during the suhoor and iftar meals. Fasting during Ramadan slows down metabolism in the body which means certain foods should be eaten to maintain your normal weight.

Many Muslims see no change in their weight and others may even gain weight. This weight gain is often caused by eating excessive amounts of high-fat fried foods such as pakoras & samosas, or high-fat high-sugar mithai (sweets).

It is very important to plan your meals carefully to ensure you are eating the right foods to get the nutrients your body needs to function properly.

SUHOOR (SEHRI)

The suhoor meal should be a nutritious meal consisting of complex carbohydrates containing fibre, since this will help to release energy into the body slowly, keeping you full throughout the day. Complex carbohydrates are found in grains and seeds, like wheat, bulgur, oats, quinoa, brown rice, beans & lentils. Avoid foods that are high in sugar such as breads made with white flour or white rice because these will be digested quickly and will not keep you full for long.

Your body will adjust to fasting in a couple of days but it will help to eat a well-balanced meal at suhoor. Do not binge in order to be full the entire day! A well balanced meal should include a plate divided into three portions. One third of your plate should be a source of protein such as large omega-3 eggs, PC® Plain 0% M.F. Greek Yogurt, nuts, seeds or peanut butter. One third of your plate should contain a source of complex carbohydrates; these are often foods containing whole grains such as the ones listed above. The last portion of your plate should consist of a fruit source such as a medium sized apple, banana, ½ cup of frozen mango chunks or ½ cup of berries. Don’t forget that frozen fruit is just as nutritious as fresh! Be sure to drink plenty of water at the suhoor meal and limit caffeine in drinks such as tea, coffee and pop since these cause faster water loss through urination. It is especially important to stay hydrated during the hot and lengthy summer days!

IDEAS FOR SUHOOR MEAL:

  • 1 Whole Wheat Pita with 1 tsp of margarine, 1 – 2 large omega-3 egg(s) or 2 Tbsp of peanut butter, one cup of 1% milk and 1 piece of fruit such as an apple or banana
  • 2-3 cups of water or more! Flavour with lemon, mint, lime, cucumber, watermelon or basil for additional flavor. Water helps you stay hydrated and assists with digestion of complex carbohydrates.

IFTAR

For the iftar meal, break this up into two separate meals. When it is time to break the fast, consume three to four dates or figs. These foods help raise blood sugar levels back to normal after a long day of fasting. They also contain fibre, potassium and magnesium; all essential nutrients that your body needs after a day of fasting. Add in a source of protein such as a handful of nuts or seeds which contain protein, fibre, magnesium and healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which can help lower cholesterol.

Include one cup of a mixed fruit salad flavoured with one teaspoon or less of chaat masala powder or dried mango powder and fresh mint. You can also include one cup of broth or soup. Eating fruit or soup and drinking milk or water will help re-hydrate and maintain mineral and water balance.

For the evening meal after prayers, choose foods such as whole grains, vegetables, meal & alternatives, fresh fruits and of course plenty of water! Try to avoid spicy foods when possible because these foods stimulate gastric secretion and may cause an uncomfortable feeling after fasting.

For this evening meal, portion your plate to make half of your plate vegetables, one quarter of your plate whole grains and the other quarter of your plate a source of protein from meat & alternatives. Include a serving of fruit and a serving of milk & alternatives to make it a balanced meal.

IDEAS FOR EVENING MEAL DURING RAMADAN:

Fruits and vegetables should be included in every dinner meal!

  • Include a simple mixed salad such as tabouli, which contains parsley, cucumber, red onion, and tomatoes.
  • Citrus fruits should be eaten to facilitate digestion and provide vitamin C

 

Protein sources include chicken, lean meat, fish, tofu, beans and lentils. These are a good source of protein, minerals, and vitamins.

  • Limit the sodium in pulses (beans & lentils) by using No Salt Added Dark Red Kidney Beans and Red Lentils

 

Grains should include whole grain foods such as Suraj Whole Wheat Roti or Arz Whole Wheat Pitas, brown rice or PC® Organics™ Quinoa

  • Look for whole grains because they are high in fibre, check the Nutrition Facts Table on the package for 4 g of fibre or more per serving

 

Milk and dairy products include milk, yogurt and cheese

  • Choose milk that is skim or 1%, and cheese that is less that 20% milk fat (M.F.) .Try making your own paneer at home using a 1% or 2% milk.

 

Drink 1-2 cups of water or coconut water to help with re-hydration.

Having balanced meals and adequate water at suhoor, iftar and evening meals will ensure you get the energy your body needs during the month of fasting!

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10 Challenges I’ll Face Every day During Ramadan

Posted on 18 June 2015 by admin

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SafiyyaVankalwala = Lawyer, mom, researcher, internet junkie, music lover.

“What? You fast from dawn to sunset? Whoa, how do you do it? No water either, not even a sip!?!”.

Welcome to my world folks, the world of a Muslim during the sacred month of Ramadan. Ramadan is scheduled to commence later this week and I am not looking forward to it. The Islamic calendar is lunar based, so Ramadan shifts by approximately 10 days every year. Fasting during the winter months is easy with dawn being so late and sunset being so early. Fasting during the summer months is brutal — dawn is currently at 3:45 a.m. and sunset is at 9 p.m.

Religion is a funny thing and the followers of any given religion range from non-practicing to fanatical weirdos, though I like to think most people fall somewhere in the middle. In the name of faith, we (believers in God) all do things that don’t completely make sense. We argue over silly things. We can be hypocrites. We shift values when necessary. We judge even though we know we should not. But I would be lost without my belief in God and, therefore, regardless if it makes sense to others or not, I am accepting of fasting for over 17 hours.

Initially, my thoughts for this blog were to write about the wonderful aspects of fasting and why Muslims and those from other religions fast. I wanted to write about my faith in God. So I went ahead and wrote a short piece and, as I read it back to myself, I realized how little it included my “true voice.” I always like to give voice to the emotions that people do not like to vocalize.

For example, I have always encouraged moms-to-be to ignore other moms who claim that every moment of motherhood is amazing. In fact, these other moms are more likely than not lying to you or lying to themselves. Motherhood is hard and it perfectly fine to cry, complain and realize you need time to yourself; this does not mean you love your kids any less. Similarly, I would like to talk about the tough aspects about Ramadan and being Muslim.

So why am I not looking forward to fasting? Well, let’s summarize what a day in the life of a fasting Muslim mom could look like this:

1.Get up around 3 a.m., eat something nutritious and drink as much water as your bladder can hold. Dealing with your incredibly grumpy husband at that hour is far from a dream come true;

2. Try to go back to bed before it is time to wake up again;
3. Start your day and hope for least amount of interaction with Muslims who are suffering from tea/coffee and smoking withdrawal;
4. Respond to your kids 100 questions while your throat dries up;
5. Survive a trip to: (a) the zoo where your kids want to stay under the sun instead of go to an indoor pavilion and (b) McDonald’s where your kids happily eat their happy meal while your tummy growls;
6. Deal with clients who want to chat endlessly while you manage your headache;
7. Prepare dinner without tasting the food (this usually results in “oops, I forgot the salt!”);
8. Count down to sunset at least a dozen times;
9. Break your fasts and attempt to drink 8 glasses of water before bedtime;
10. Spend the night going to the bathroom on-and-off until its 3am-ish when you start back at 1) above.

If you think the above sounds easy, I dare you to try a day. Ramadan is around the corner… and I am not ready to starve yet!

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