Zakat (or Zakah) is an Arabic word now used universally to mean “obligatory charity“. As prescribed to Muslims with means, it’s obligatory to make an annual contribution of 2.5% against all assets one holds for a minimum of one year towards charitable use.
A good example might be one has, after expenses, a $1,000 in the bank, gold or silver worth $5,000 and a car worth $10,000. Their total assets are at $16,000 and they’d pay a minimum of $400 against that.
Have you feared to present before your consultation charities? Then when you do not and Allah has forgiven you, then [at least] establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
During Ramadan, our foodie family has been taking turns cooking iftar meals. These past couple of weeks of making old favorites and trying new recipes has been absolutely fun. Here are our top three dishes that I hope inspire your cooking as we near the end of the holy month.
Nothing beats Mama’s cooking! I mean, she’s the one that has truly inspired us kids to be the foodies we are today. We can’t go through the holy month without Mama’s delicious kushary. A popular Egyptian street food dish that consists of rice, lentils and pasta that’s drizzled with garlic marinara sauce, and topped with crispy fried onions.
What makes my mama’s take different than most traditional takes is that she makes the typical Egyptian rice with vermicelli noodles and uses two kinds of pasta, both spaghetti and salad macaroni. If this isn’t carb heaven, it’s not kushary.
For Mother’s Day dinner, my brother Samy took a risk from his usual steak and curry dishes to make a slow cooked brisket. Alongside all the fixings, it came out pretty good! We’re talking baked potato, roasted tomatoes, garlic and corn as well as a side of sauteed asparagus for good measure.
The meat was tender and seasoned to absolute perfection. Kudos to my brother because I can’t wait for the encore!
Speaking of encores, when I make something the family loves, I’m usually almost asked to remake it. Now when my nephew raved for days about my crispy chicken tenders and waffles -from scratch might I add- I couldn’t say no when he asked for more chicken.
Thus I combined two of his favorites that I’ve made for the family throughout Ramadan into one simple dish. Crispy chicken tenders atop Parmesan penne pasta. I use boneless chicken breasts, cut into four pieces each and use seasoned breadcrumbs. As penne pasta is one of my favorites, I love coming up with varying recipes for it. This one however has always been a favorite with the family, with a light fresh tomato sauce with cheese cooked in the sauce as well as garnished on top.
Who can say no to more cheese? And I’m lactose intolerant!
Do share in the comments what’s a dish you must have in Ramadan? What’s a dish you tried for the first time? What’s a favorite you’re favorite dish to cook up?
I remember coming home from Qatar to see you for the first time, holding you at the airport and having you giggle rather than cry. I just can’t even explain all the emotions that rushed through me at that moment.
I praise God every day for bringing the joy that is you into my life. As I watch you grow into the smartest, funniest and cutest human, I’m in awe. I can’t believe you are already turning five years old. Where has the time gone?
On your birthday today, I want you to know a few things…
You are loved beyond words.
Your smile is contagious, keep smiling.
I’m extremely proud of your awesomeness.
You are amazing, never doubt yourself.
You will achieve greatness, just put your mind to it.
There are no stupid questions, so ask away.
Kindness and respect are universal currencies to be splurged.
May God make our fasts easy, accept our supplications and strengthen our faith… may God heal the ill, protect the most vulnerable and bless all the essential and healthcare workers… may God grant one and all a rewarding and joyous Ramadan… ameen.
The other day, I went out for a walk after staying home for a good week straight. Upper Great Highway by the Ocean Beach Trail was (and still is) closed to traffic. The skies were a bit gloomy, the air was cold and the waves were hushed. I just stood there in the middle of the road for a moment.
As I’m asthmatic, I’m at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than most. My last major asthma attack was on the night of January 31st. I got tested for the flu and pneumonia, which consisted of an x-ray and a horrid nasal swap. None of which was comfortable, all of which came back negative. I had to go to Urgent Care about a week or so later as my allergy symptoms didn’t elevate since. This took place before I realized that COVID-19 was spreading, fast.
San Francisco and most of the Bay Area have sheltered in place since March 15th but most of my family and co-workers sheltered in place prior to that as a precaution. Life has been different, interesting, amusing, and frustrating. I’ve had to adjust, adapt, postpone and reevaluate my priorities. I’m no parent but I’ve had to help step in and home school my first-grade nephew. It reminded me of why I never continued on the career paths of being a teacher or pediatrician but grateful a million folds for those that are.
As I stood there facing the gloomy skies above the sea, I kept thinking despite it all, this was a reminder of our blessings. We live in a friendly, family-oriented, and supportive community. I’ve been in better touch with family and friends than ever before, just checking in on each other and making sure everyone is OK. I’ve seen neighbors and community members on my walks and even under masks and six feet apart, we see the smiles.
Where our national leadership has failed, our community leaders have risen up to take charge. Our healthcare workers and first responders the world over have been working tirelessly to care for us, even when they themselves need to be cared for. Our grocery stores are stocked, our restaurants are delivering, and even my tiny desk for work was shipped sooner than expected.
The people behind all that goodness remind me of our blessings, much of which we take for granted. They give me hope that we will get through this uncertainty with a bit more faith, gratitude and empathy. The absolute humility that has come out of this pandemic have truly restored my faith in humanity.
And as I stood there in the middle of the road, I saw a small ray of light through the gloomy skies. Seeing it as a good omen, I took out my phone to capture this moment.
I am a firm believer that when God puts us to it, God will pull us through it. So have faith that this too shall pass. Please, if possible, consider volunteering or donating to causes out there supporting our communities, front line and essential angels. Check on your family, friends and neighbors regularly when possible. If you need someone to talk too, know that I’m but a message away. And please, I urge you all to continue to stay home and stay healthy. We will get through this, together!