Cupcakes and spirituality

So sorry I haven’t been posting much; I’m in Cairo on holiday now so I haven’t had much time.  Also I’ve discovered a new cupcake shop so that’s been keeping me really busy. Ahem.  Actually I haven’t really been very busy doing much except eating – I think I’ve had more cake these past 2 weeks than the past 6 months.

One thing that has struck me is how much more spiritual and confident I feel when I’m in Cairo.  I find it very interesting that Muslims in Holland, on the whole, are very conservative.  While Cairo also has many conservative Muslims, there are also many liberal ones.  Being a liberal Muslim myself, I find it easier to find Muslims who think like me here than in Holland – weird, right?

Sociologically there are many reasons for why immigrant Muslims often tend to be much more conservative and/or religious than Muslims in Muslim countries.  Many of them hold on to their identity very rightly while others cling onto Islam because they feel rejected by their host country.  Whatever the reason, I have often felt out of place among Dutch Muslims because I don’t agree with many of their views.  In Cairo there is just more diversity.  In Holland I sometimes found myself questioning my own beliefs because I was always the liberal Muslim.  Here there are others like me, and that’s really given me a lot of confidence.

Hearing the adhaan and getting ready for Ramadan have also been positives.  The day after tomorrow they’re going to find out when Ramadan starts. I’m kind of nervous (cause it’s so hot here – 44 celcius yesterday!) but mostly excited.  It’s nice to fast in a country where almost everyone else is also fasting, and the atmosphere here after iftar is always great.  Also in Holland iftar would be around 9:30/10:00 pm now, so I’m kinda glad I’m not there!

How is everything with you guys? (I hope I still have some readers!) Getting ready for Ramadan? How is everyone’s summer so far?


14 thoughts on “Cupcakes and spirituality

  1. We have the same kind of problem over here in Poland as you do in Holland – the fast is very long at this time of year. I’ve been preparing for nearly a month already, gradually lengthening the time. Then I’ll do the same in reverse when it’s over. Found out the hard way last year that if you just suddenly start eating normally after that long a fast (i.e. that many hours a day) you’ll never get back to normal eating habits before the next fast begins.

    Recently a lot of people have been posting about their goals for Ramadan. Do you have any goals set yet? Mine are to read through the Bible and the Qur’an, re-establish regular prayers, and make hijab workout gear (given my height it has to be made to measure – nothing with suitable coverage is available on the RTW market) so I can get back to the gym when the fast is over.

    • Wow, sounds like you’ve been preparing really well! Good tips. Before last Ramadan I never used to eat after 9 pm at night, but Ramadan changed that and ever since I haven’t been able to stop 😦

      My goal was to do Taraweeh for the first time and that’s been absolutely amazing 🙂

  2. Salam 🙂
    Same here. I’m an Iranian, have been living in A’dam for almost 3 years now.
    I really identify with you on this post, the only time I tried to go to a mosque here wishfully thinking that it will give me a sense of community, I was all but kicked out because I didn’t manage to figure out where the women’s door was 😦

    Btw, nice blog you’ve got here!

    • I must add that Iran has it’s own very specific issues in this regard and not only did I not frequently go to mosques there, but people are becoming less and less religious, but there were many more like-minded people there as well.

      AND we’ve been already fasting for a week (had some days to make up for travelling in Ramadan last year …) and it’s doable because it’s not too hot, but you do get a bit weak towards the end of the day.
      The first day we fasted this year, it was 9. hours :-S

    • Thanks Sara! Welcome 🙂
      How is Ramadan going for you? I should be back in Holland for the last 10 days or so and I’m nervous 😦
      I really want to find a mosque to do Taraweeh in in Holland. It’s been so nice doing it this Ramadan.

  3. I also studied at Leiden University (around 2002-2006) and followed some courses about Islam and history of the Middle East. I have the impression (but could be wrong) that the more ‘liberal’ second/third generation children of muslim immigrants tend to study other things than Islam or Arabic. I remember some (certainly not all) very pious-looking students in the classroom – both female (totally covered – you only could see their eyes) and male (with beards and djellabas). To me this seemed an overreaction – I think they were searching for their identity. Still live in Leiden now – it’s about 20 degrees at the moment – could be warmer!

    • I think you’re right about the more liberal Muslim students…they don’t seem to be studying Islam or religious studies or Arabic.
      I also think you’re right about them searching for an identity.

      Didn’t know you live in Leiden! We should meet up some time 🙂

  4. You know, when I was in Turkey on vacation visiting family on my husband’s side – I felt similar. Like, even that fact that I was seen praying was like “oh wow, she prays” – and here – well, since I don’t wear hijab I’m just dismissed as not “really” being Muslim. :p
    So I feel like I would fit in better in Turkey in that regards. Plus, it’s so nice having coffee shops where you can just drink tea or coffee and have some dessert at night … sit outside and talk, etc. Here our fasting times will be starting around 4:15am and ending at about 8:30pm.

    • It’s so interesting that Muslim communities in the West tend to be conservative. That’s why I like being in Cairo, where you found all types of Muslims.

      And I agree, life after iftar is just amazing in the Middle East.

  5. Ramadan Mubarak, sister…

    Just want to share with you, if you or your friends in Netherland are thinking to give cards or goodies bags about Ramadan & Eid to neighbors, kids teachers, co-workers, local firefighters/police, and so on, please check out this new business runs by two sisters:*

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