This blog is published for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the thousands of Muslims raised or reverts, or even non-Muslis, who might be living in areas where they are not able to experience Ramadan in a Muslim community; so we, at MWA, invite you to be a part of our community in Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong) Al-Baqarah 2:185

Established in 2006, Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

MWA's Isahah Janette Grant shares poem Quiet Dawn

The Quiet Dawn

A gentle stillness surrounds me
while the world quietly sleeps
the sun makes its climb towards the horizon and I offer a solemn prayer
thankfully greeting the morning and silently uttering my intention to fast this day of Ramadan
for the sake of my own soul
for the sake of Allah Ta'aala
for purity of heart and in appreciation of the many blessings of My Lord, The Sovereign
the quiet dawn, so beautiful, refreshes my soul

Isahah Janette Grant
July 27th 2012

Isahah Janette Grant is a founding member of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA), where she serves as the organization's membership coordinator. She also runs her own small business, Mindworks Publishing Inc., in addition to writing for the Houston Islam Examiner on Ms. Grant is also the author of the children's book, Sameerah's Hijab and the First Day of School and is in the process of completing her first work of fiction. She also enjoys writing poetry. She studied at Boston University in Massachusetts, majoring in print journalism and currently resides in Missouri City, Texas, just outside of Houston, with her son and husband. Ms. Grant can be found on Facebook at

Sunday, July 29, 2012

MWA's Eren Cervantes-Altamiranov shares a favorite recipe, Kibbeh Charola

Growing up in Mexico City, one of my first interactions with Arabs and Muslims was through the Lebanese community in Mexico. Although Mexico is a largely multicultural country and its cuisine has been largely recognized as a mix of different cultures, the dominant identity discourse these days is the mix between Indigenous peoples and the Spanish colonizers (mestizaje). (Read More)

    Kibbeh Charola

    500 gr. Extra lean ground beef or lamb

    1 cup of corn semolina

    Half an onion diced

    Salt (according to taste)

    2 table spoons of olive oil

    1/3 cup of pine nuts

    2 table spoons of pomegranate molasses (if you don’t find them just use one spoon of regular molasses and one spoon of pomegranate juice)

    ½ cup of fresh mint

    Black pepper to season

MWA's Aishah Schwartz shares her July 29 suhoor; it was good, too!

Eggs over-easy, fried potatoes, toast, milk, cinnamon-ginger tea and water.

MWA's Saba N. Taylor shares her Ramadan day seven enchilada iftar recipe

Masha Allah, I love all things cheesy! Yesterday I was in the mood for enchiladas but did not have all the makings for it so I decided to stop by the store today after work to pick up some things. I have two different recipes that I go between, the more commonly version, meat/beans with cheese rolled in corn tortillas then topped with red enchilada sauce, cheese, olives and green onions. Then there is the newest version that I picked up from a friend that does not require enchiladas sauce. So Good! Masha Allah!

Before I add the recipe, I must admit, I lost the recipe my friend gave me so I kind of winged it from the last two times I made it. I also did not have enough corn tortillas so I stretched it a bit. Here is the recipe I used to make this tasty iftar dish tonight. :) Insha Allah I hope you enjoy it! (should you try it out :D)

MWA's Aishah Schwartz shares her 28 July 2012 iftar

Roast beef in gravy with potatoes, milk and chocolate chip cookies for a snack. I'll use the extra portion of potatoes at suhoor with some eggs and toast, insha'Allah. :-)

Friday, July 27, 2012

A journal entry by MWA member Zainab John; Ramadan Day Six

It's day 6 of Ramadhan. Sleep just won't come, so at 1:15 in the morning I am awake, ready and eager to start my day.

As I sit cross-legged on my bedroom floor typing this post, I find myself reflecting on the days of Ramadhan that have passed so far; anxiously awaiting the days ahead. 
On a personal level, every Ramadhan acts as a reminder of my duty towards Allah (swt), myself, my community and others. It is a month to slow down and focus on what is really important; another opportunity to better myself, seek forgiveness from my Creator, and to say thank-you for all He has done for me and those I love.

VIDEO: MWA's Aishah Schwartz Shares her first week of Ramadan 2012 from Egypt

Thursday, July 26, 2012

MWA's Isahah Janette Grant Shares A Ramadan Recipe: Kale and Potato Soup

16 oz of fresh Kale
1 small white onion
1 tsp Salt
3 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Garlic powder
2 tsp Onion powder
2 Beef bullion cubes
1 tsp Paprika
½ tsp Thyme
5 peeled and diced small potatoes
½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Ginger
1 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Vegetable oil
(above measurements for spices may vary, season to taste)

Bring three cups of water to a rolling boil
Add 2 beef bullion cubes, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, sugar, vegetable oil: wait for seasonings to dissolve
Add kale and onions, reduce to medium heat, cover and cook for 25 minutes
Add potatoes, cover and cook for another 20 minutes
Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!

Ramadan Mubarek Readers and MWA family!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

MWA's Sis Isahah Shares Ramadan Journal Entry: Holding fast to the rope of Allah

This morning following Fajr, while reading the Juz for the day, a particular ayah spoke to me, as is often the case for me during Ramadan. The Holy Quran is the main reason why I decided to take the shahadah and it has been a constant friend, support and light in my life. I have notebooks filled with inspiring ayat from Ramadans past and I often feel the same emotions when re-reading my old notebooks that I had originally felt originally when writing the entries. The scriptures carry me through the year and this Ramadan I wanted to share one of my entries as a way of thanking Allah Ta'aala for all the many blessings that He brings and has brought to my life. The ayat is from Surah 3, Ayat 102-103 and reads:
O believers! Fear Allah as he should be feared and die not but as true Muslims. All together hold fast to the rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves. Remember Allah's favors upon you when you were enemies; He united your hearts, so by His favor you became brethren; you were at the brink of the fiery pit and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes his revelations clear to you, so that you might be rightly guided.
When my alarm went off this morning, I did not want to get up (astagferullah), but my little 11 year old niece, excited that it is summer so that she can fast before school starts, knocked loudly on my door, reminding me to get out of bed. She and my son were already awake and anxiously awaiting suhor. Their excitement was an inspiration and I felt momentarily ashamed for not having wanted to wake up. Before accepting Islam, I had never known the beauty of fasting and praying together the way that I experience it as a Muslim  and as I witness my son and niece's excitement, I realize that we are family - kin - but we are also brethren and fellow believers together. Of all the blessings that I have received, my son and nieces and nephews are some of the greatest. They exemplify for me what it means to hold fast to the rope of  Allah and have often been the little reminders that I need to stay grateful and excited about being a Muslim.

As my niece set the table and my son vacuumed the carpet and laid down the sheets for prayer, I smiled inside, exceedingly grateful for being awake and for having been rightly guided to Islam.

MWA's Sariya Contractor shares a grateful Ramadan Monday poem

I am grateful for the sunshine and the glorious English summers day,
Banishing the dankness of the grey rain cloud, Oh! how the sun blazes away...
The flowers dance in the garden, the tomatoes redden on their vine.
and the fat pigeon swings precariously on a twig of pine...

In the midst of this beautiful morn, I must write - at my laptop's
beck and call!
But then I seem to be a writer - Oh! dear and all...
So the sun it sings a new happy song...
Me I write, while my heart sings along

And so I am grateful for all I am blessed with and all that is to come.
I am grateful to be part of nature's melodious hum.

© Sariya Contractor 2012

Dr. Sariya Contractor is a convert to Islam and a Sociologist at the University of Derby, specialising in the Sociology of Religion. She is also a University of Derby project researcher for the Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality Project in the Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences. Her recently published book, 'Muslim Women in Britain: Demystifying the Muslimah' is available at 

Aishah's 7/24 suhoor; this one was, masha'Allah, just right!

Poached eggs, minus the toast because it had molded (ewww!), watermelon, date milk, anise/green tea (mix) and water. Actually, this meal was just right! Al-hamdulillah. :-)

MWA's Saba N. Taylor shares a Ramadan poem, 'Month of Mercy'

Month of Mercy
By Saba N. Taylor 

The sunsets
The new moon rises
All eyes gaze to the mountian's horizon

The month is new
The air is swift
As believers welcome the blessed guest

With vows of patience
And lips pressed sealed
Hearts are washed as heads are kneeled

Fasting by day and praying by night
Seeking guidance and closeness
to Allah the Most High

Moon waxing, moon waning
To the beginning and the end
The Month of Mercy will pass and come again

Ramadan Mubarik! 

Saba N. Taylor loves to travel, read, write and blog (and not particularly in that order.) She writes children's stories and book reviews of children's books. Check out her blog The Family-Ship Experience for picture and chapter books that engages, entertains and educates. You can also find more book reviews, author interviews, giveaways and updates of her own writing experience and works on her writing blog, Of Thoughts and Words. Saba's published works include three teacher study guides published by Muslim Writers Publishing, a fourth in the works. Saba's work has been published in three anthologies and an assortment of online magazines. She has been a member of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) since April 2010.
Facebook, Twitter @worddiaries, The Family-Ship Experience (blog)
Of Thoughts and Words (blog)

Monday, July 23, 2012

MWA's Aishah Schwartz shares her seaside iftar - July 23, 2012

Iftar on the beach (Red Sea).

Iftar on the beach (Red Sea).

We're only three days into Ramadan but look what MWA members have already been up to!

Ramadan 2012 - Announcements
Ramadan 2012 - Photos
Ramadan 2012 - Poetry
Ramadan 2012 - Journals
Established in 2006, MWA is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

Aishah's Ramadan has finally commenced: the pizza has arrived :-)

Chicken, cheese & sliced tomato. I ate the whole thing!

MWA's Nancy Biddle shares a poem 'Oh Ramadan! Day Two'

Oh Ramadan! Day Two!
By Nancy E. Biddle 

Day two is sprung and fasting is again begun
by tomorrow it will be easier as your schedule gets busier
racing to help those in need and Quran of course to recite and read
What bliss is there in all of this
Is found in the closeness drawn to Allah you miss.
Quickly draws the hour of the night of power
Prepare for it ahead by getting out of bed
Every night to supplicate
For the last minute do not wait!
Oh Ramadan the month if mercy and abundance
Allah pour down your blessings on all Muslims requesting
And let us take advantage of this chance
To seek redemption and the open doors of heaven.
Ameen! Ameen!

(c) Cherenancy Poetess 2012
Republished with permission.

Nancy Biddle was born in Montreal Canada in 1966, Nancy spent her first nine years raised in the quiet suburb of Pointe Claire until her father was contracted for a position that took the family to Singapore, Australia and Indonesia. It was through the transitional phases of each family move that Nancy formed a foundation of open-mindedness and a passion for world concerns. Nancy received her accreditation in Teaching English as a Second Language from Concordia University where she earned her B.Ed (TESL) in 1992. At the age of 35 Nancy found herself led to embrace the religion of Islam and is currently heading up four projects aimed at making a difference in the world: I Love Islamic Fiction (Branding Islamic Fiction with Fame and Prestige), Cherenancy Poetess (Power Dawah Poetess), Blue Olive Productions and Nancy E. Biddle (Public Figure, Writer, Poet, Rabble Rouser: Tsunami Maker). She is also an award winning poet.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

MWA's Aishah Schwartz shares a few thoughts and a poem on the essence of Ramadan

The essence of Ramadan cannot be encapsulated into just one thing; it is, indeed, multifaceted.

For me Ramadan is full of mini-miracles.

Over the past few days I had allowed myself to be taken-in by sentiments of sadness that somehow this evening managed to seep out through my fingertips onto my keyboard -- the result being a small poem. And by the time the poem reached its end, suddenly the memory of someone near to me, who had much greater cause to feel sadness, sprung to my heart. It made me reach out to her, and it made me reach out to another person to whom I needed to express my gratitude.

Al-hamdulillah for Ramadan.

Al-hamdulillah for everything.

The Tear 
By Aishah Schwartz 

I was sitting here alone,
feeling the gentle glide of a tear...

push itself over
the rim of my eye.

Then I found myself sitting...

absorbing how it felt slowly rolling down my cheek.

My head tilted left—

as I sat in a listless slouch—

the trail had no where to go,

but down the seam of my smile-less lips.

Reaching the end,
it tripped down the side of my chin,

to land on my shoulder—

where it was absorbed by the soft cotton fabric of my nightgown.

And I remembered you.


Aishah Schwartz, an American Muslim revert to Islam since April 2002, is founder and director of the 2006 established Washington, D.C.-based Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and a retired 17-year career litigation legal assistant.
Ms. Schwartz is also a published freelance non-fiction writer and photo journalist whose aim is to counter misconceptions regarding the Islamic faith and members of the Muslim community.
As a woman traveling in the Middle East, Ms. Schwartz's role as a civil and human rights activist has focused on the rights of Muslim women and the plight of the Palestinian people affected by the Israeli imposed illegal embargo on Gaza. She has also been reporting on revolutions in the Middle East as a Demotix photo journalist since January 2011.

MWA's Aishah Schwartz shares an after iftar Ramadan day two photo essay

Women's prayer hall.
New friend at Taraweeh prayers, Sharouk.
Two friends wearing matching abayas.
A young woman reading Qu'ran.
Ramadan street decorating.
A little shopping. (I spy a you?)
Can't wait for it to chill!
Suhoor (Ramadan AM3); oatmeal, scrambled egg w/cheese, toast, watermelon, milk, anise tea & water.

MWA's Janette Grant hopes you'll be inspired and connect this Ramadan; learn how!

By Isahah Janette Grant

As Ramadan begins, many Muslim families prepare for the month of fasting and self-restraint by turning off their t.v., setting the alarm clock for at least an hour earlier than Fajr to have enough time for Suhor, and making a better effort to hold their tongues and forgive others if conflicts arise. Ramadan is a favorite time of the year for Muslims not only because of the blessings that abound during this time but because of the camaraderie and joy evident amongst the believers. It is said in the hadith, the collected traditions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), that the Prophet (pbuh) was most generous during the month of Ramadan. Whether Muslims intentionally emulate his behaviors remains to be determined, but regardless, there is a generosity of spirit and good will most prevalent amongst the Islamic community during this time of the year.

In our current media age where many Muslims are now online, believers are able to interact with one another globally during this blessed month. If a Muslim is unable to attend the mosque or if there are no mosques established in the areas in which they live, there are websites and social media groups available for staying involved in the Islamic community during the month of Ramadan.

One of the most popular global initiatives surrounding the celebration of Ramadan is that of 30 Mosques. It began in 2010 with the 30 Mosques in 30 States endeavor where Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq’s Ramadan decided to visit a different mosque every day during the month of Ramadan. Their road trip across the United States has since become famous and held dear to many Muslims around the world. The trip spotlights Br. Aman and Br. Bassam’s travels, but supporters of the donated more than $12,000 in online donations to make the project a success.

Last year during Ramadan Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq visited a different state each day and blogged about their experiences each night, highlighting stories about the people they met, the mosque they prayed in and the food that they ate upon breaking their fasts. This year, 30 Mosques will be releasing short films throughout the month of Ramadan and invite others to get participate and share their stories by contributing through their social media websites using hashtag #30Days. Visit their website at for details.

Another great way to stay abreast this Ramadan is by following the Celebrating Ramadan Blog with the Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA). The writers of the MWA Celebrating Ramadan blog share their Ramadan experiences, journals, pictures, poetry and even recipes as a way of uniting the Muslim community and inspiring one another towards working good deeds. MWA was established in 2006 and is an internationally based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and Islamic faith.

The Productive Muslim organization will be providing a Ramadan series through their affiliated website Productive Ramadan where their free e-book, 30 Tips to Stay Productive, can be downloaded. Productive Ramadan provides daily reminders, weekly emails, online courses, clever animations and lots of Ramadan resources for staying productive and healthy throughout the month. Visit their website at for more information or Like the Facebook page.

Locally, Maryam Masjid Islamic Center (MIC) in Sugarland will have Isha and Taraweeh prayers nightly as well as Iftar dinners every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the month. This weekend, Hamza Ghia will give a talk entitled How To Get Closer to the Quran: Looking Deep Into Our Hearts on Sunday, July 22nd 45 minutes before the start of Maghrib prayers. MIC will also host Usama Canon, Parvez Ahmed and Ubaid Evans after Taraweeh prayer on Saturday August 1st who will give the talk, Daily Dose of Dawah: Islam Through Your Actions.

And The Muslim American Society, MAS Houston will be hosting their annual Ramadan Iftar community dinner next Friday, July 27 at 6:30pm. The dinner this year will be held at Maharaja Restaurant located at 3711 Highway 6 South in Houston. For more information call 281.717.4622. Zakat and Sadaqa donations can be submitted to MAS Houston and their renowned Houston Quran Academy at MAS Houston will be hosting their annual Ramadan Iftar community dinner next Friday, July 27 at 6:30pm. The dinner this year will be held at Maharaja Restaurant located at 3711 Highway 6 South in Houston. For more information call 281.717.4622. Zakat and Sadaqa donations can be submitted to MAS Houston and their renowned Houston Quran Academy at

(Reprinted with permission of author.)
Isahah Janette Grant currently resides in Missouri City, TX and is the author of the children's book, Sameerah's Hijab and the First Day of School. She is a founding member of Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA), an internationally based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions of members of the Muslim community. Her published works include poetry that has been published in three anthology collections and articles that have been published in the Providence Journal Bulletin newspaper. She currently owns and runs Mindworks Publishing, a community based desktop publishing business, and is working on completing her first work of fiction. She studied at Boston University in Massachusetts majoring in Print Journalism and writes poetry in her free time.

MWA member Khulood Arendse enters her third Ramadan

On the eve of my third Holy month of Ramadhan as a Muslimah, I looked back on how my fascination - and if I may call it - romance with Islam started.

I am the youngest of three, raised in a Catholic home; we all attended Catholic primary school, but I guess being the youngest, my parents gave me the freedom to explore life a little more than my siblings may have been allowed. Ironically, however, my first taste of Malay culture was through my brother. He had joined a Malay Muslim choir. I suppose its safe to say that my parents preferred us having Muslim friends because there was no alcohol or wild, late night parties; little did they know - but that's another story.

Being a good daughter, I attended church dutifully and even became a catechist; participated and served on various organisations within the church, and maybe because of church politics - even though I loved teaching and being with kids - I still felt something was amiss and thus, I drifted.

So it happened that my mum befriended a young Muslim woman who had just had a baby, and also ran a Madrassah. When she returned to work at the end of her maternity leave, I would babysit and listen in while she taught her students. Thinking of them now I smile to myself; so sweet.

Her baby was eight months old when her husband announced they were going on their hajj, and wanting to know more, I helped their family with preparations.

When the couple returned from hajj, I was awe-struck by their stories, close to tears at times thinking, "I want to go, too." But it wasn't my time yet.

Some time later I took a temporary position as a day house mother for people with various forms of mental disability, filling in for permanent staff who went on leave. It's the kind of work that requires lots of inner peace and patience, and once again, I felt myself drawn to Islam. Similarly, I also found solace in the peace and tranquility of Islam when finding myself in a failed relationship.

It was only in my 39th year that I made the step to accept Islam in preparation and commitment to a new relationship. It was after my 40th birthday on the 15th January/30th Muharram, that I made my shahada and was all set to start not only a new journey, but I was also to marry. Then my mum, who had been present at my shahada, began to show signs of Alzheimers. As her symptoms grew worse and more aggravated, my relationship became more strained. Mum ended up hospitalized and was diagnosed with full on Alzheimers and dementia; a week after she was released, my engagement ended.

I suppose some thought that would be the end of my romance with Islam, but I knew better. Allaah Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala knows, Islam is where I've been getting my strength to cope with mum's illness ever since; simply stated, it is my refuge!

And even I have to admit, that throughout, there has been Divine Intervention.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Oatmeal; it does a body good - Aishah's suhoor Ramadan day two

Oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon, buttered toast, milk, anise tea and water. That ought to hold me well enough, insha'Allah. :-)

Ramadan the first day; Aishah's not so typical iftar

Buttered toast sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, figs, apricots, dates with milk and tea. Don't worry, I'll eat a bit more later. I just wanted to start the evening out light to prevent my stomach from getting upset. This fasting thing is a step-by-step process the first week. :-)

MWA's Farah Kinani shares a Ramadan resolution

When I used to work as a full time journalist in Morocco, I loved to have my vacation time during the month of Ramadan. My mom and I would go early in the morning to our neighbourhood mosque for the Fajr prayer. The early breeze used to make me feel so blessed, walking while holding my mom's hand and trying our best to be among the first to arrive in order to avoid praying outdoor.

The same used to also happen two minutes after Iftar, we would almost run to our mosque and recite the Qur'an until the Isha' prayer, then perform the Taraweeh.

Many used to tell me that I wasted my days off, that I should take summer time to travel, but trust me, being off during Ramadan was a blessing.

When I moved to Morocco, things started to slightly change, then, some years and two kids later, it became almost impossible for me to go to the mosque for Taraweeh.

My kids are 10 and 8 now, and this Ramadan feels so promising to me. I may not be able to go to the mosque early in the morning, or even perform Taraweeh there every night, but this Ramadan, I'm promising myself to be the declaration I made - to myself- some days ago. To just be there for my loved ones without trying to control or anticipate, without expectations of high performance; to just be there, loving and accepting without judging - lending a hand when my help is needed and trusting when a need for independence is requested.

I already feel lighter, just thinking about me being that way, and I need you ladies to pray for me to achieve this goal.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Muslimah Writers Alliance Announces its 3rd Annual Adopt a Ramadan Buddy Campaign - with a Twist!

If you think fasting for a whole month is easy, guess again! Fasting can be challenging, but maintaining a commitment to quit smoking is a monumental challenge! Ramadan buddies are there to support and encourage one another.
July 19, 2012 (MWA) In announcing its third annual Adopt a Ramadan Buddy campaign, Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) throws in a twist this year with the addition of a promotion encouraging Muslims participating in the annual month-long religious tradition of fasting, to also quit smoking cigarettes.

It is common knowledge that in addition to being addictive, chemicals (carcinogens) found in cigarette smoke have been proven to cause cancer. Moreover, it has also been proven that secondhand smoke (SHS) - smoke that comes from the end of a lit cigarette or is exhaled by a smoker - also causes cancer.

So this Ramadan, for your health and the health of loved ones, friends and colleagues, don't the opportunity pass to make this Ramadan different and more rewarding from Ramadan's past. Commit to quit smoking.

And to help you through Ramadan and in fulfilling your commitment to quit smoking, Muslimah Writers Alliance urges you to join its annual 'Adopt A Ramadan Buddy' campaign.

What is a Ramadan Buddy?

MWA member Rasha El Khateeb and daughter Mimi create a Ramadan lantern

It's official! Tomorrow (July 20) marks the beginning of Ramadan! So, I decided to share my daughter in making a Ramadan lantern (fanoos, as they are also referred to in Egypt).

We got cardboard, I drew with a pencil the Ramadan lantern on it, cut it through and let her color it. We both spent our time doing it and at the end I hung it on the wall and my daughter was so proud that she could do the Ramadan Lantern. It was fun, too!
Mimi coloring the lantern.
Yahoo...its done! Thank you mama for helping me. :-)