What it’s like to be a Foodie!

Written by Fatima Fizza

Edited by Pragya Shrivastava

The importance of cooking was made clear to me in that one month which I had spent in a single room of an Army mess. I had never really considered cooking as an important act in my life. My mother cooked and when she was tired or needed help our trusted manservant of long would pitch in and his food, although not exceptionally good was passably bearable. On weekends, holidays and trips abroad we ate out, Mediterranean, seafood from around the world and pizza were the staple favorites of the family (it wasn’t easy to agree on a single restaurant since we were a large family).

Even while travelling we mostly stayed in furnished apartments to allow for the occasional ‘roti and salan’ craving to be easily fulfilled. My mother, may God keep that excellent woman in great health always made it seem so easy. Then I got married and moved in with my in-laws. My mother in law was a keen cook too and despite being a working lady her kitchen ran smoothly and staple homemade food kept my stomach satisfied.

Although there was a difference in taste and variety, my inner cook still lay sleeping and setting foot inside the kitchen was not something I did much often except for the occasional baking. Cakes and Pizza I can bake since I was in grade school and except for a few special dinners and an occasional soup I was not tempted to be in the kitchen.

Then there came that one month when I was stuck in a single room and even though the mess waiters lined up daily to receive orders for any menu on this side of the Kabul River, whatever they presented each evening tasted oddly alike and of nothing I could put my finger on. So, it was this oxygen food (tasteless and odorless) that made me start wishing for a place of my own which must include a kitchen. The moment my husband and I shifted into our first new house, I focused on setting up the kitchen first (which is one place in the house where a woman who cooks spends a good part of her life).

IMG_2369With the expert help of my mother I did go about this task and started this wonderful journey of self-discovery which is cooking. Cooking is the other side of the coin which spells Foodie!


I am the average woman, trying to run a house, bring up well behaved children and balance relationships all the while trying to make something of my life. Unlucky to have been born with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I have been lucky to have life throw me a pretty amazing mix of everything and I have been learning on the job. I am an avid lover of nature, i love to read and write and occasionally paint. I’m blogging to share my personal experiences in case they prove to be of help to other thirty somethings and if not then be a source of amusement and humour. So do forgive me for my excesses in advance and comment to share your own take on my musings.

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Blissful Marriage (9)

This post is a collection of fatwas on random topics which have literally opened my eyes. You will  notice how different the culture and religion are when you will go through them.

I just cannot say this enough: if you are a guy, plz plz read them all. You just do not know how much you can change your life as per Islamic terms just by applying these in your life.

Age of marriage

Dowry

Minimum amount of Mahr

Jahez

Gifts other than Mahr

Rights of spouse’s parents

Not living with parents, Wife asking for separate accomodation

Wife’s parents not wanting her to live with her husband’s parents

Wife visiting her parents

Serving husband’s parents

Obeying husband’s mother

Divorce

Ruling on divorcing in jest

Wife asking divorce from non-religious husband or due to husband’s addiction

Acceptable reasons for Khula

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Hmmm…

Oh dear! 

This is scary…lol. Now thinking back to the time when I used to make a post literally every day, I cant believe that I am actually nervous writing this post!

Anyway, things are good with me Alhamdulillah. I know I have been away for really really long and I should be giving an update. 

Well, many of my regular readers (or who used to be my regular readers) and the ones who are on my fb list already know that I have a little boss now….she has just turned 11 months (ta-da!) which means she is getting a lil more active everyday Masha Allah and is more than enough to keep me on my toes all day long. Apart from being my boss, she is a great teacher: she is teaching me to be patient and polite and kind and well, the list is way too long.

Other than that, well, just the usual! I am hoping to post every now and then from now onwards. Wish me luck 🙂

Blissful Marriage (8)

Contrary to popular belief, Islam is the most feminist religion/systems of all. Dont believe me? Read on!

Financial Obligation

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. [4:34]

No matter how much husbands think they are favoring their wives by going out, sweating out to earn bread for the family, it is in  fact one of their religious duties. Since it is an obligation, men have to provide for all the necessities of their wives whether they like it or not and can never ever think of it as a favor to their wives because thats how Allah has devised the system. In return, women are only supposed to stay loyal to their husbands and obey  them in things which are not contrary to Islam. If a woman has her own financial income, she has no responsibilities to fulfill, at least not islamically. She is allowed to keep all to herself or spend it the way she wants to without worrying about anything. She might decide to help, but her husband cannot force her to do so.

Household Chores

We have all grown up seeing our moms spend hours in the kitchen and many of those who have been brought up in the West might even have seen our moms scrubbing toilet floors. It is inculcated in us that its a woman’s duty to do all that. Interestingly, while on the one hand, men are supposed to earn bread for the family, there is not a single ayah or hadith which I have been able to find that makes it compulsory for women to do any of the household chores! Women can actually not do any of the household chores and still not be answerable to Allah (SWT). If women do any of it, they do it out of love for their husbands and children and to help their husbands save a few extra pennies. There is no law (religious or secular) that coerces them to make dinner and then not be appreciated for it. Now if you are a married guy and ur wife attempted to make gulab jamuns for you which tasted more like kacha milk powder, get up and kiss your wife’s forehead and appreciate her for at least making an effort cuz she was not supposed to do that, she just did that out of love for you 🙂

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Just another random post

Right now, I just had some random stuff to share with everyone.

To start off, here’s something which I received as a forwarding from an old friend. Safi this one’s for you 😉

1. Once, all villagers decided to pray for rain, on the day of prayer all the People gathered but only one boy came with an umbrella…

THAT’S FAITH

2. When you throw a baby in the air, she laughs because she knows you will catch her…

THAT’S TRUST

3.Every night we go to bed, without any assurance of being alive the next Morning but still we set the alarms in our watch to wake up…

THAT’S HOPE

4. We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future or having any certainty of uncertainties…

THAT’S CONFIDENCE

5. We see the world suffering. We know there is every possibility of same or similar things happening to us. But still we get married??…

THAT’S OVER CONFIDENCE

Movie Recommendation

Traitor

A lil old, two years to be precise but for me its something which I didnt even know about till just a few days back. It’s  an intelligent  movie with mesmerizing performance by Don Cheadle (Samir) who plays a quite, devout Sudanese-American muslim snatched early in the movie for having ties with a terrorist organization. The best thing about the movie is that it stays away from racial/religious stereotyping and very clearly shows how the so called ‘jihadists’ are actually damaging Islam.

Green Zone

Wont say much about it, its an angry film and Matt Damon does a good job enacting the role of a US army officer who wants to do more than just follow the commands. So as not to add any plot spoilers, all Id say about the movie is about how power-hungry politicians would maneuver any situation to keep themselves in power. Might not have done too well at the box office (perhaps cuz at times it starts to feel like a documentary) but the movie is very well made.

Dear John

Sweet and romantic. Its a story of a handsome, polite young army officer and a beautiful girl whose love gets tested when they stay apart because of the war on terror. The whole movie rests on a very thin plot but it works because of the great chemistry between the lead characters. I would have appreciated if the ending was better thought of but over all it was a nice chick-flick.

Shutter Island

Loved it to say the least. A dark and creepy psychological thriller which may not work for everyone, especially those who want to see action packed or sci-fi thrillers. But it surely works for people who look for a strong storyline, great performances, the director’s vision about their favorite book and dont mind watching really long movies: well over two hours. This is one of the few movies with story adapted from a book that didnt really let me down. I just hope the ending was better portrayed, it leaves the people, even those who have read the book, a bit confused and asking for more explanation. In a nutshell, its a technically sound movie with a very carefully constructed plot and the type of performance that you expect from an actor of the caliber of Leonardo di Caprio.

And the Biggest Surprise!

I never imagined, not even in my wildest dream, I could ever like Arif Lohar, but this one really rocks. Or perhaps its just the team at Coke Studio that has made this version so awesome. Btw, the girl, Meesha Shafi, is Saba Hameed’s daughter and lead singer for the band, ‘Overload.’ She has an amazingly strong voice to say the least.

Blissful Marriage (6)

Divorce

Now this actually will be difficult. I was kind of delaying this post as I usually dislike talking about things which make me unhappy but its a reality of life and a very important topic as far as marriages are concerned: obviously, because marriages are the reason why people get divorced in the first place 😛 . I guess, I need to do this very very seriously. So, here it goes:

Qur’an puts a lot of emphasis on divorce and there is a complete surah (Sura At-Talaq) talking about how, if needed, divorces should be dealt with. It must be kept in mind that divorce, although allowed, should only be exercised when all possible efforts of reconciliation have failed.

The Prophet (SAW) said, “With Allāh, the most detestable of all things permitted is divorce.”

It is, thus, very important to be sure you are getting married to the right person. Obviously, no one can foresee the future but getting married to the right person surely reduces the risks. But, if a situation arises where there is no option but to part ways, it is important to follow the rules as laid by the Qur’an.

O Prophet! When ye do divorce women, divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately), their prescribed periods: And fear Allah your Lord: and turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness, those are limits set by Allah. and any who transgresses the limits of Allah, does verily wrong his (own) soul: thou knowest not if perchance Allah will bring about thereafter some new situation. [65:1]

Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy. [65:4]

From the above verses, it can be clearly seen that a divorced woman must not leave her husband’s house (or be forced to leave) until she has completed her iddat period which starts from the time the divorce is announced (when she is not having her periods) till she has had three periods. If the woman is past her menopausal age, iddat is for three months and if she is pregnant, iddat ends with pregnancy. This whole time, the woman remains her husband’s responsibility and must remain in his house.

Let the women live (in ‘iddat) in the same style as ye live, according to your means: Annoy them not, so as to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs), then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring), give them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together, according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties, let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father’s) behalf. [65:6]

Once the iddat is completed, the woman has to then leave the house in front of two witnesses.

Thus when they fulfil their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endued with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out. [65:2]

Obviously, the divorced couple might realize later that they have made a mistake and might wish to remarry. There is a condition to it, commonly referred to as, Halalah:

A man divorced his wife and she married another man who proved to be impotent and divorced her. She could not get her satisfaction from him, and after a while he divorced her. Then she came to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! My first husband divorced me and then I married another man who entered upon me to consummate his marriage but he proved to be impotent and did not approach me except once during which he benefited nothing from me. Can I remarry my first husband in this case?” Allah’s Apostle said, “It is unlawful to marry your first husband till the other husband consummates his marriage with you.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 63, Number 190]

Triple Talaaq

There are four famous different opinions among the scholars on this issue. The first opinion, which is the opinion of the four dominant schools of thought, is three divorces given together at a time befall and the woman is divorced. The second opinion is if the woman has carried out sexual intercourse, then three will befall, and if she hasnt, then only one will happen. The third opinion is from the Shia school of thought, which says that three divorces at a time are nothing and have no legal status at all. The fourth opinion is this is only to be counted as one divorce. Among these different views the fourth opinion is the strongest and most logical.

The opinion that three divorces uttered at once is to be only counted as one is the opinion of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddiq (RA) and Hazrat Omar (RA) during the first two years of his caliphate and several of the Ashra-e-mubashira. The conclusive opinion of these sahaba is from authentic texts, which shed light on this controversial issue. It was only during Hazrat Omar’s (RA) caliphate that triple talaaq was imposed as a law of the state and not as an innovation in deen.

In the time of Allahs Messenger (saw), Abu Bakr, and the first two years of the caliphate of Hazrat Omar (RA), the three pronouncements of divorce were regarded as one divorce. So Hazrat Omar (RA) said: People have made haste in an affair they used to practice with patience, so supposing we execute it on them, so he executed it on them.

Jokingly Divorcing the Wife

Although it sounds absurd but some people do end up saying the ‘three words’ as a joke! A fatwa on this might be able to clarify confusions about it.

Wife’s Right to Divorce

Many people think of it as a taboo to discuss divorce before getting married. Now thats an important aspect of being married so why be so scared of it? Discuss at length how you want the ‘contract’ to be finalised and this is one important issue. Although I was not able to find anything in the Qur’an about it, you might like to see a fatwa on this.

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Blissful Marriage (5)

Sex

It must be made very clear that extra-marital or pre-marital sex is simply not allowed.

Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; – and any that does this (not only) meets punishment.[25:68]

Having clarified this particular issue, it must be noted in all other references, the Qur’an very explicitly talks about sex with the spouse. And the Qur’an actually talks about sex in a lot more detail than we think. All it does is put certain limitations which are in fact much less than we often impose due to our ‘cultures’ and ‘traditions.’

Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe. [2:223]

So it basically means you can have sex whenever and wherever you feel like rather than the much accepted night time. I have seen a lot of families not giving enough privacy to married couples during the day and making faces if someone desires some privacy apart from night. So if you have a married couple at home, dont just barge in to their rooms, and dont try to be as nosy as you would like to be.

Many people have taken this particular verse as being something which allows anal sex. The Qur’an does not explicitly talk about anal sex. However Tabari states, “The Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said, ‘Allah (SWT) is not ashamed of the truth (the Prophet (SAW) said it three times). Do not enter women in their anuses.'” On the other hand, Sahih Bukhari is astoundingly confusing on the matter:

Narrated Nafi’:

Whenever Ibn ‘Umar recited the Qur’an, he would not speak to anyone till he had finished his recitation. Once I held the Qur’an and he recited Surat-al-Baqara from his memory and then stopped at a certain Verse and said, “Do you know in what connection this Verse was revealed? ” I replied, “No.” He said, “It was revealed in such-and-such connection.” Ibn ‘Umar then resumed his recitation. Nafi added regarding the Verse:–“So go to your tilth when or how you will” Ibn ‘Umar said, “It means one should approach his wife in ..” [Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith No. 50]

Now, can you really believe this….it leaves a blank space!!! Being so confusing, I would recommend that you simply follow the commonly held belief that anal sex is haram. At least that will keep you safe.

The only limitation on sex that I have been able to find is about having sex during ‘that’ time of the month.

They ask thee concerning women’s courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, ye may approach them in any manner, time, or place ordained for you by Allah. For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. [2:222]

The ayah again talks about having sex “in any manner, time, or place.” The choice is pretty much your own. This ayah also brings to the spotlight the fact that the act of sex and the resulting secretions are pure and clean. This opens up another aspect of debate: Oral Sex. Interestingly, the Qur’an has nothing to talk about it. However, there are certain ahadith which do talk about foreplay, I am stating one here:

The Prophet (SAW) said, “No one among you should have sex with his wife like animals; rather there should be a messenger between them.” When asked about the messenger, he said, “It means kissing and talking”. (Tahzibu’l-Ihya, vol. 3, p. 110)

And who says sex is not allowed during Ramadan?

Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments. [2:187]

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