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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 30 Jul 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Number of Muslim Marriages in Singapore Falls despite Incentives

New Age Islam News Bureau

30 Jul 2014

Photo: Posers over Emergence of Female Suicide Bombers


 Somali Woman Killed By Al-Shabab for Not Wearing Veil

 Riyadh: 36 Teams to Secure Women-Only Venues

 Posers over Emergence of Female Suicide Bombers

 Women Lawyers Decry Increasing Widowhood in Nigeria

 Hijab: More than Just a Fashion Statement

 Turkish Women Are Laughing In Public Because a Politician Told Them Not To

 The Woman Who Faced Death for Being a Christian Has Escaped the Sudan

 Trinidad Muslim League President: Women Have a Right to Education

 Abha Couple Makes SR3, 500 A Day Selling ‘Prophetic Food’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Number of Muslim Marriages in Singapore Falls despite Incentives

30 July, 2014

SINGAPORE — Despite the enhanced incentives to nudge Singaporeans towards tying the knot and having children, the number of marriages fell last year for the first time in three years.

There were 26,254 marriages — civil and Muslim — last year, down 6 per cent from 2012, despite the rise in the number of Muslim marriages.

The marriage rates for men and women fell to their lowest since 2010. For every 1,000 unmarried residents aged 15 to 49, there were 40.5 married men and 36.9 married women, down from 43.8 and 39.4, respectively.

On the other hand, more couples went their separate ways, with divorces and annulments rising 4 per cent to 7,525 last year, while the general divorce rate for married male and female residents aged 20 years and above rose. The top reasons for divorce were unreasonable behaviour in civil marriages and infidelity or extra-marital affairs for Muslim divorces.

These trends are typical of any developed country and do not indicate that the Marriage and Parenthood Package, which has been enhanced three times since it was introduced in 2001, is not working, said parliamentarians TODAY spoke to.

Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol), a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Social and Family Development, said: “I don’t see the package as trying to encourage more people to get married. I think it is actually meant to get married couples settled down more quickly.”

Agreeing, fellow committee member Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) said the package cannot address the “emotional push and pull in marriage”.

Academics TODAY spoke to were also not surprised by the findings. National University of Singapore sociologist, Dr Paulin Straughan, commented on the rising divorce numbers: “We now marry for personal satisfaction, so when the relationship is no longer socially rewarding, many do not feel the need to put up the charade of a happy marital union.”

The figures released by the Department of Statistics yesterday showed that more Singaporeans are delaying marriage. Marriage rates fell among those aged below 30 years last year, compared with a decade ago, but rose for those aged 30 and above.

Dr Straughan said the trend of delayed marriages will continue as more young Singaporeans are focusing on their careers first.

Full report at:



Somali Woman Killed By Al-Shabab for Not Wearing Veil

30 July, 2014

Militant Islamists in Somalia have shot dead a Muslim woman for refusing to wear a veil, her relatives say.

The nomadic woman was killed outside her hut near the southern Somali town of Hosingow by gunmen belonging to the al-Shabab group, they added.

The militants had ordered her to put on a veil, and then killed her after returning and finding she was still not wearing one, the relatives said.

An al-Shabab spokesman denied the group had killed the woman.

Al-Shabab does not fully control the area where she was living, he added.

The woman's relatives, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, told the BBC she was killed at about 07:30 (04:30 GMT).

Al-Shabab, which controls much of southern and central Somalia, imposes strict rules of behaviour, including dress codes for men and women.



Riyadh: 36 teams to secure women-only venues

30 July, 2014

The Riyadh Municipality has mobilized 36 teams among its Saudi female employees to ensure security at female-only venues during the Eid festivities.

Several locations have been devoted to women-only entertainment events across the city.

The teams have been tasked with ensuring security at the King Abdulaziz Historical Center, the King Fahad Cultural Center, Prince Salman Social Center and the Al-Hokair Theme Park. This includes ensuring implementation of a decision banning mobile photography in female-only venues.

Festivities include theatricals and folkloric shows and other social, cultural and artistic activities.

The King Abdulaziz Center in central Riyadh hosts plays, poetry readings, educational activities, folklore games, female stories and creative folk shows from certain parts of the Kingdom, in addition to setting up activities, including painting, coloring, artifact displays, charitable society appeals and competitions.

The center also hosted famous female personalities at 5 p.m. on the first day of Eid.

The King Fahad Cultural Center, meanwhile, showed a satirical play enacted by the academy’s girls shedding light on the negative and positive aspects of being in a girls’-only environment.

The center hosts two Eid festivals, which integrates women participation and traditional folklore.

The festival represents cultural aspects across the entire Kingdom. A stand-up comedy performance was given by “Touch,” a female group, slated to perform every day during Eid. The festival has also invited three well-known poetesses to recite two poems every night.

The festival includes many exhibits, such as the hospitality corner, artifacts, coloring, painting, henna and face-painting. The activities last between 5 p.m. and midnight during Eid, while a play highlighting female participation in the upcoming municipal elections was also aired.

The Prince Salman Social Center, meanwhile, is holding a carnival, plays, comedy acts, folklore games and the national operetta during Eid.

The center also has poetry reading nights that hosts poetesses, female folk groups, international shows by Fashion Rock and several cultural and entertainment activities.



Posers over emergence of female suicide bombers

30 July, 2014

THE insurgent group operating in the country, Boko Haram, now appears to have changed strategy, using female suicide bombers, a new trend described as worrisome by Nigerians.

In the last one week, three females had been used by the insurgents as suicide bombers in Kano.

Also, in the attack against the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader and former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, security operatives arrested a man, who disguised as woman in the attack.

Consequently, Nigerians are now raising posers over the  new trend of female suicide bombers in the country.

Nigerians spoken to by Nigerian Tribune wondered why the insurgent group now targets teenage female suicide bombers.

They also raised posers on the identities of the girls, with some asking: “How are we sure they are not girls kidnapped long ago?”

President Goodluck Jonathan, while condemning the situation on Monday, said the “deployment of young women as suicide bombers represents a new low in the inhuman campaign by the terrorists and an expression of utter disregard for the dignity of the female gender, as well as a wicked exploitation of the girl-child.”

For former minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, on her Twitter handle, “this new trend and serial pattern of female suicide bombers surely should particularly worry us. It worries me stiff because of our Chibok girls.

Kano again and again. Female suicide bombers again and again - becoming trend. Our Chibok girls still in the enemy den. Are we thinking?”

A human rights group called on the Federal Government to conduct comprehensive forensic test of the corpses of the dead bombers, to ascertain their DNAs and also to clear the disturbing insinuations that they may actually be the schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State, by the armed Islamic terrorists.

The Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) wanted the Federal Government to seek the relevant technical and scientific assistance from friendly nations, who had volunteered to join it to achieve counter-insurgency strategies, so as to unravel the identities of the female bombers.

In a statement to the media, through its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the national media affairs director, Zainab Yusuf, it said it was imperative that experts were involved in the investigation of the origin of female bombers.

This, the group said, was to disabuse the minds of observers already insinuating that the female bombers may be from the kidnapped schoolgirls, who might have been hypnotised.

The organisation said “now that the armed insurgents are incessantly using alleged female bombers to unleash devastating violence on soft targets, the Nigerian government must probe the origin of these female suicide bombers, even as the Federal Ministry of Information and respective ministries of information in the North must immediately begin sensitisation campaign, to dissuade innocent girls from being lured and hypnotised into embarking on the satanic errands of detonating high calibre explosives.

“In the event that these female suicide bombers are identified to have been the same kidnapped girls, then the government should immediately deploy all resources and strategies to bring to an end, once and for all, this shameful scenario, since the military have repeatedly stated that they are aware of the whereabouts of the kidnaped Chibok girls,” the organisation said.

All over the social media, while Nigerians expressed apprehension over who the female bombers could be, they also continued to ask security operatives how they knew the age of the girls.

Female bombers have sprung up all over Turkey, India, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Israel.

In a culture where the glorification of the fallen is embraced, mothers seem to be pushing their children to die as martyrs for the name of Allah.

Reports have it that while using female suicide bombers is a relatively new trend, the female bombers had become particularly frequent among Muslim terror groups and are responsible for an estimated 30 per cent of the recent trend of Islamic suicide bombings.

One of the earliest female suicide bombers was in Lebanon in April 1985. Sana’a Youcef Mehaidli, 16-year-old member of the secular Syrian Social Nationalist Party, drove an explosives-laden truck into an Israeli Defence Force convoy, killing two soldiers and injuring one other.

The May 21, 1991 assassination of Indian’s former Prime Minister, Rajiv Ghandi, was attributed to female suicide bomber, Thenmuli Rajatnam, member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Fourteen others were also killed during the attack.

On January 27, 2002, Wafa Idris became the first Palestinian woman to perpetrate an act of suicide terror, detonating a backpack filled with explosives in a downtown shopping district, killing one elderly Israeli man and wounding more than 100 others.

The 2002 Nord-Ost Theatre siege in Moscow, lasting from October 23 to 26, resulted in the deaths of over 170 people, including 133 hostages and all 41 attackers. Nineteen of the attackers (practically half) were females.

On January 14, 2004, 22-year-old Palestinian Reem al-Reyashi killed four Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint, during a suicide bombing attack, leaving behind a husband, a three-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.

Four females were involved in the 2004 Beslan Elementary School tragedy in Russia, which lasted from September 1 to 3, resulted in, at least, 385 deaths, including 186 children, and 783 injured.

Posing as the pregnant wife of a soldier on her way to the maternity clinic, on April 26, 2006, Kanapathipillai Manjula Devi penetrated a military hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka and detonated her explosives.

Revealing her tactical prowess, she even visited the maternity clinic several weeks prior to her attack, to maintain her cover.

Much media attention was focused on Al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri’s September 2013 call for small scale “lone wolf” attacks in the United States.

Yet, other than in scholarly writings, little awareness was made of Umayma al-Zawahiri, wife of al-Zawahiri and her 2009 open letter, calling on women to join terrorist organisations as suicide bombers.

Terrorist groups that had publicised their use of females include the Syrian Socialist National Party (SSNP/PPS), the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Chechen rebels, Al Aqsa Martyrs, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and, most recently, Hamas.

Reports are that Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Hamas spiritual leader, earlier denounced the use of female suicide bombers “for reasons of modesty,” but by 2004, changed his position.

He cited the use of female suicide bombers as “a significant evolution in our fight. The male fighters face many challenges… women are like the reserve army, when there is a necessity, we use them.”

Magnus Ranstrop, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, was quoted as touting female suicide bombers as “the ultimate weapon… you can assimilate among the people and attack with an element of surprise that has an incredible and devastating shock value.”

As one commander in charge of training female suicide bombers was quoted, “the body has become our most potent weapon. When we searched for new ways to resist the security complications facing us, we discovered that our women could be an advantage.”

Among the obvious advantages for terrorists’ use of female suicide bombers include tactical advantage, especially as element of surprise and the belief that females are non-violent.

Attacks by women receive eight times the media coverage as attacks by men.

Such coverage tends to garner sympathy for not only the victims, but the female attackers as well.

Terrorist use this sympathy in deploying female suicide bombers, knowing that it would not only assist in recruiting efforts, but gained sympathy for their efforts among the general public.

Full report at:



Women Lawyers Decry Increasing Widowhood in Nigeria

30 July, 2014

International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has tasked President Goodluck Jonathan to deploy all energies to halt the activities of insurgents in the country.

The women organisation stated that  the trend of Boko Haram insurgents had indicated that women are the worst hit by the nefarious and senseless killings and kidnapping that had been carried out by the evil group.

In a chat with journalists in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the chairperson of the body in Ekiti, Mrs. Rita Ilevbare, said the killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians through the dastardly activities of the Islamic militants had brought unprecedented sorrow to many women.

Ilevbare decried the rising wave of bomb explosions in the northern zone in recent time despite the declaration of emergency rule by the President Jonathan in three states in the northern part of the country.

She pointed out that the increased  level of widowhood among women owing to seemingly unabating terror  attacks  would further erode  the country’s family values, except  concerted steps are taken to forestall the persistent carnage under the guise of terrorism.

Ilevbare said: “Women  and children are always at the receiving end of any war and the one being experienced under Boko Haram insurgents cannot be an exception. This is simply because women have nowhere to run to. They would have to wait behind and defend their families, particularly their children even under a tense situation.

“We are mostly pissed off by the increasing level of bombing despite the emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. The heavy presence of military personnel has not changed anything and this is not good for the system.

“The recent deaths in series of bombings in Kaduna affected mostly women while the one in Kano,  Adamawa and Borno had been frightening and making the future of this country look hopeless.

“With all these happenings, the federal government must change tactics in curtailing these evil doers to prevent further wailings and debasement of motherhood because this country is greater than any individual or group,” she advised.

Ilevbare also appealed to the men folk not to see the agitations for the recovery of the 238 Chibok girls as a women affairs, saying all Nigerians would have to consistently advocate for the release of the seized girls to bring happiness to all mothers across the globe.

The FIDA boss averred that “the seizure of these girls had assumed a global dimension to the effect that a globally acclaimed child rights activist, Malala, had to come to Nigeria to personally meet President Jonathan on the issue.

“With this, the advocacy has gone beyond the realm of gender. It is a battle for all of us because in recent time, only women organisations have consistently been holding protests  for the release of the girls. It is a battle for all Nigerians and not for women alone,” Ilevbare pointed out.



Hijab: More than Just a Fashion Statement

30 July, 2014

MANILA, Philippines - One of the most visible symbols of Islam is a dress of a Muslim woman. The word describing the head scarf is Hijab, which means veil or barrier. In Islam, however, it has a broader meaning. It is based on religious doctrine; the principle of modesty.

It is important to know that the principle of modesty applies to men as well; therefore Muslim men also wear Hijab. Moreover, the principle of modesty not just applies through the clothes that Muslims wear, but also through the way they behave.

Muslim women wear Hijab in front of men that they do not know very well. It aims to shift the attention of the men away from the body of the women, but toward her character and merit as individual.  Muslim men are mandated to treat women with respect, dignity, and honor.

In the Qu'ran, Hijab wearing was cited in Surah 24:30-31

The believing men are enjoined to lower their gaze and conceal their genitals and the believing women are enjoined to lower their gaze and conceal their genitals, draw their headdress to cover their cleavage, and not to display their beauty, except that which has to be revealed, except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or eunuchs or children under age; and they should not strike their feet to draw attention to their hidden beauty. O believers, turn to God, that you may know bliss. (Qur’an 24:30-31)

In a way, women wear the garment to refrain from being harassed.

The hijab is paired with clothing that is not tight fitting and that covers a woman’s body with the exception of her face, hands, and feet.

Traditional Muslim clothing goes beyond being a fashion statement. It reflects the culture of the people and the principles that they follow.



Turkish Women Are Laughing In Public Because a Politician Told Them Not To

30 July, 2014

The unclear boundaries between mosque and state in Turkey are causing confusion yet again. This time because of some old-timey comments made by the country's deputy prime minister.

Bülent Arınç said during an end of Ramadan speech that women should not laugh in public or talk about "unnecessary" things on the phone. He made these oddly specific demands as he seemed to yearn for a simpler time when Turkish women were more repressed.

"Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity?" he asked, complaining of what he saw as the moral decline of Turkish society.

Turkey is a secular state, and for many decades proudly so. A 1928 constitutional amendment saw to that, as did numerous reforms by the country's well-loved first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. But a little more than a decade ago the people of Turkey (who are almost all Muslim) elected the Justice and Development Party, and it's leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to power. The AKP, as it's known, has its roots as a religious political party, though abandoned those roots (many think for political reasons) in favour of a conservative democratic agenda.

Speculation over his true intentions has followed Erdogan ever since his election. He lifted a long-standing ban on women wearing religious headscarves if they work in government, for instance, last year. This seems like a step in the direction of religious freedom, a good thing. But Turkey's former secular elites, who miss being in charge, saw it as more evidence that Erdogan wanted to turn the the country into some kind of an Islamic state.

To be fair, the concerns are real. In April, Turkish pianist Fazil Say was actually convicted of "blasphemy" and "inciting hatred" over a series of comments he made about religion on Twitter. In the end he only received a suspended 10-month jail sentence. But that was hardly enough to calm anyone's Godless nerves.

Despite this anxiety, though, Turkey remains a long way from becoming a country defined by religion. The way Turkish women reacted to Arınç's remarks is evidence of that. They took to social media en masse, posting photos of themselves laughing in public, including the hashtag #direnkahkaha, which means to resist and laugh.

The main opposition candidate, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, was also quick to seize on the comments for some easy political points.

"Our country needs women’s and everyone’s laughter more than anything," he tweeted. It was retweeted more than 5,000 times in a matter of hours.



The Woman Who Faced Death for Being a Christian Has Escaped the Sudan

30 July, 2014

Mariam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother who was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, has finally escaped the country and is currently staying in Italy, but what’s next for the woman who has become a symbol of the oppression women face in many Sharia states?

Ibrahim arrived in Rome on Thursday, July 24, alongside her husband Daniel Wani, her young son and the baby girl she gave birth to while shackled in prison. The 27-year-old and her family met with Pope Francis in Vatican City after a surprise arrival in Rome that Italian ministers say was the result of difficult but sustained talks with the Sudan, with whom Italy has relatively good relations.

Ibrahim was arrested earlier this year because in 2011 she married Daniel Wani who, like her, is a Christian. Ibrahim was raised as a Christian but due to her father being a Muslim, and despite his being absent for most of her life, the Sudan’s sharia courts class Ibrahim as a Muslim. Due to this, they contend that she broke the law when she married outside of the Muslim faith. The courts annulled that marriage and Ibrahim was given a sentence of 100 lashes.

Then, when the court also demanded that Ibrahim renounce her Christianity, she refused. Sharia officials branded her an “apostate,” the term for the crime of casting off the Muslim faith. This is illegal in the Sudan, as it is in many places in the world that have embraced Sharia law, and it is often a crime punishable with death. As a result, Ibrahim was sentenced to death by hanging.

The wrinkle for the court, however, was that Ibrahim was pregnant at the time of her sentencing. This created the perfect storm of circumstances that drew international condemnation. The courts decided that, per the laws that govern issues like this, Ibrahim would be able to raise her child for at least two years before the sentence would be enacted and Ibrahim put to death. With the birth of Ibrahim’s daughter, in a cell with Ibrahim reportedly shackled to the floor, pressure intensified on the Sudanese courts and eventually, on appeal, Ibrahim’s convictions were overturned.

Sadly, that was not the end of Ibrahim’s fight. When she and her family attempted to fly out of Khartoum to find solace in America where her husband Daniel Wani has citizenship, Sudan’s authorities prevented her from boarding the plane. They alleged that Ibrahim’s travel documents including her passport were falsified and she was detained in the airport for several hours and denied the right to leave the country.

It has now emerged that Ibrahim was forced to take refuge in Sudan’s American embassy while politicians attempted to secure her freedom. She was allowed to fly out of the country earlier last week, and is stopping in Italy for only a few days before making her way to Manchester in New Hampshire, where her husband has a home and where there is a strong Sudanese-born community.

Sadly, Ibrahim’s bid for freedom was reportedly chased by an Islamic jihadist group that released a statement threatening to make good on Ibrahim’s death sentence. For this reason, Ibrahim is still considered under threat and it is unlikely she will be able to return to her country of birth, at least for the next few years.

Those thoughts were perhaps a distant worry though when Ibrahim met with Pope Francis last week. The family reportedly thanked the Pope for his continued and vocal support, while he in turn thanked her for her commitment to her Christian faith. The Pope is quoted as saying that he wanted his meeting with Meriam Ibrahim to be symbolic, and that it should show all women who are under threat of violence and death because of Sharia law that there is help at hand.

While we might quibble that Ibrahim’s case gained rare viral status, and that many other women and men who have been subject to apostasy laws in particular have not been so lucky, Ibrahim’s story remains a powerful example of what international focus and multi-government coordination can achieve.

We hope, then, that for Meriam, Dani and their children, this is the beginning of a new and happy chapter in their lives, all the while mindful that there is still much work to be done to free those who still suffer under death penalty laws.



Trinidad Muslim League  president: Women have a right to education

30 July, 2014

Dr Nasser  Mustapha, president of the Trinidad Muslim League (TML) and sociology lecturer at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, said, contrary to popular opinion, Islam advocates education for girls and women since it  acts  as a passport to social mobility and  contributes to nation building.

 Mustapha made the comment while delivering the Eid-ul-Fitr sermon to about 500 Muslims at  Jinnah Memorial Mosque in St Joseph yesterday.

Among those present at the special Eid celebration were Sabrina Mohammed, president TML Ladies Association, and general secretary Azid Ali.

 Imam Amzad Khan led the prayer in Arabic and Egyptian scholar Ata Mustapha led the supplication (duah) to Allah, asking him to  relieve the suffering and oppression  of people globally. 

 “It is not Islamic to say women should not be educated,” said Mustapha. “Islam teaches men and women should have the same basic rights. There are rights for children. When you see what  is happening (with Boko Haram abducting schoolgirls in Nigeria) then you would realise that is not happening.  “They give the impression Islam is against education, science and technology. It is about promoting obscurantism. It is operating at a later date. The religion is perfect, it is we who are not perfect,” he added. 

Making reference to the Qur’an, Mustapha said: “The first revelation was the command to read. God taught man  the use of the pen. The emphasis was on reading and writing. The Prophet said the seeking of knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim male and female. Women are expected to be educated to the fullest. The wife of the Prophet Muhammed  (Isha) was a scholar. She would memorise the entire Koran. She taught people in her time and she interacted with males.

 “Some people feel women are not supposed to interact with males. Isha  is a known transmitter of the sayings of the Prophet (Muhammed). From her time of the history of education, women were involved in education. There were many women scholars in Islam. The world’s first university was founded  in Morocco. It is in  the Guinness Book of World Records.”

Mustapha denounced the ideology that women and girls should not be educated as “a way of oppressing women”.

“They have a right to be educated. It is given by Allah. The only way  they could perform that role is if they are educated. You can have women in any field of study and research. As long as they dress modestly and interact with dignity, there is no restriction in terms of their participation in society at all levels.”

He paid kudos to women who have made strides in fields like politics (Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar) and business (Chamber of Commerce CEO Katherine Kumar), but he reminded them that education was meant to uplift individuals and communities. 

 “The purpose of education is not to be proud and arrogant, but to understand and assist  the communities. Islam is about positive development.” 

Asked about education activist  Malala Yousafzai, who is currently in T&T, Mustapha said: “What she stands for is supposed to be the norm for Muslim women. They are supposed to pursue education. There is no such thing as the ‘silent female’.

 “...What has happened to her has shown how people  in some societies have deviated from the true religion, but because of the patriarchal (male-dominated) situation it exists. I  don’t think we have a problem in these parts. In our society, women are now educating themselves to the highest level.”



Abha couple makes SR3,500 a day selling ‘prophetic food’

30 July, 2014

ABHA — Hard work and a nose for innovation helped Ali Said Al-Ahmari and his wife Jumai’ah to pool their resources to earn a quick buck.

The Al-Ahmaris kept it simple when they used their knowledge and skills to good effect during the holy month of Ramadan.

They hit upon he idea of selling food that included ingredients used by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and also include foods mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, Al-Watan daily reported. And their efforts earned them SR3,000 to SR3,500 daily.

Ali holds a master’s degree in education and works as a teacher in one of the schools in Asir. His wife also holds a master’s degree and works as an education supervisor in the region’s Education Administration.

But after work, they join forces to sell their specially-cooked food in the Ramadan market of Khamis Mushayt. Throughout the holy month, the 50-year-old Saudi national stayed in the market from 3.00 p.m. until sunset to sell food prepared by his wife Jumai’ah.

“I benefited from reading books on prophetic medicine and the scientific miracles in the Holy Qur’an as well as books on herbal cure. I used this knowledge to make some money for my family, and daily my take home was between SR3,000 and SR3,500,” Al-Ahmari said.

“After attempts to prepare special meals, most of which contain ingredients mentioned in the Holy Qur’an like ginger, sweet basil (raihan) and olives, among others, the idea came upon us to prepare and sell these meals.

“My wife, who is an education supervisor and holds a master’s degree, is the one who gives us inspiration in many of the recipes. She prepares the meals daily at home while I and my two sons Muhammad and Said sell the meals.”

Al-Ahmari joked that big firms too are making use of his ideas, but they rebuffed him when he approached them.

He said: “I approached one of the big dairy companies with a project for the production of special kinds of juices, but they rejected the suggestion. However, after some time I found similar types of juices in the market.”

Al-Ahmari, however, was happy with his humble serving. For the stall got packed not only for the quality of food, but the additional services the owner provided.

Al-Ahmari went beyond selling the meals; he used his knowledge to provide eating tips to customers. He asked customers about the diseases that afflicted them and he accordingly advised them to take certain foods that are beneficial and avoid some that could prove unsafe.