Sunday, 31 July 2011

A Student Diary: What is Ramadan?

Here is a piece I wrote for UVI Voice (University of the Virgin Islands student newspaper) back in 2008 when I was a sophomore.

A Student Diary:  What is Ramadan?
By Sana W. Hamed

The month of Ramadan began on Sept. 1, this year. This is the month Muslims all over the world fast from sunrise to sunset. This means that Muslims do not eat or drink from the moment the sun comes up until the sun comes down.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar. During this month, Muslims gain an increased awareness of worship and they also strengthen family and community ties.
            Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It helps Muslims practice self-control and help increase devotion to Allah (God). It also serves to remind Muslims of the sufferings of the poor, and this month is also used to get rid of bad habits. If a Muslim fasts all 30 days with good intentions, he or she will be forgiven for all previous sins.
            Many people may think that we are hurting ourselves by fasting and they see it as a burden, but it’s nothing like that at all. I can honestly say I always look forward to Ramadan and I hate to see it end. You can actually see family ties getting stronger; you feel more like a family since everyone sits down and eats together. We also do more things together.
           We really don’t think about food. Yes, sometimes we get irritable but we still are full of kindness on an empty stomach. We feel at peace. We become more thankful of what we have and the sufferings we don’t have. The feelings you feel when you fast are sometimes indescribable but it’s the best feeling in the world.  

Ramadan Diary        

4:00 a.m. - My alarm wakes me up, and as hard as it to get out of my bed, I ignore the snooze button and get up.
I walk into my brother room and I wake him so he can get something to eat and drink. I make my way to my sister’s room, eyes squinting from the light.
 My sisters get up and head to the kitchen while I head to my parents door. I knock to wake them up.
My sisters are already heading to their room by the time I come back, and my brother drinks some water and looks in the fridge.
 Finding nothing appealing he heads back to his room. I drink some water and eat a couple of dates, turn off the kitchen lights and head straight to my bed.

6:30 a.m. - Once again my alarm goes off; it’s time to go work. I pick out my clothes and then shower.
After my shower, I pray my Fajr prayer (morning prayer), and after that I finish getting ready. I head out for a long day.

12:00 p.m. - It’s lunch time and everyone around me is eating. I smell some chicken, rice and beans; I see bottles of water. BUT I don’t fall for temptation!

4:00 p.m. - I’m running a little late for my class.

4:10 p.m. - Ten minutes late for class, but there is no way am I going to run or in any way rush to class. It’s hot outside, and I’m walking up the stairs at UVI carrying textbooks, wearing heels and fasting. I’d rather take my time.

4:17 p.m. - I finally reach my classroom. I sit down and get a massive headache. I try taking notes and concentrating as much as possible. I’m clearly relieved as I walk out the classroom door.

6:15 p.m. – I've just arrived home and I’m helping my mother get the food ready. The dining table is set. The food is being put out on the table. I can smell the mixed aromas of baked chicken, white rice, a yogurt soup, salad, and a cake my sister’s made.  

I turn on the radio to Isle 95 for the daily Ramadan program. It has yet to begin.

6:25 p.m. - The radio program begins.

6: 34 p.m. - It’s time to break our fast! First with some water.

7:15 p.m. - The table is cleared, my turn to wash dishes and clean the kitchen.

7:45 p.m. - I head to my room to lie down for a little. My youngest sister, Mariam, comes and talks to me, telling me random stories. I start helping her get ready for bed. Then I start looking at what I have due for the next day.

1:00 a.m. - I’m done with most of my work (of course I was distracted many times until I got most of it done) and I get ready to sleep. I check to make sure my alarm is set. And then I’m out, as soon as my head touches the pillow…

UVI Voice Volume 4, No. 1 September 2008

Ramadan Kareem!

The month of Ramadan is upon us and as we prepare for the first day let us remember those who are not with us today. Let us remember the countries in turmoil. Let us remember our brothers and sisters who may not even have any water or food to break their fast. Let us remember how fortunate we are.

Most of us begin Ramadan on a spiritual high. Inshallah we maintain a spirtitual high throughout Ramadan and the rest of our lives. They say it takes about a month to make a new habit stick so let us use the month of Ramadan to better ourselves.

Ramadan kareem!!!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Presentation was a success, alhamdulilah!!

I presented my book on April 30th to my University at the Senior Seminar. Many are excited about the book just like I am. Although I have not been working on it, it is still going. Graduation is Sunday (May 15th) so my efforts have been in that direction.

I am still seeking submissions. By the end of the summer Inshallah I will have a about a 200 page book. So spread the word!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Almost there!!

Tomorrow is the day I present my project to the UVI community. Excited and a little nervous but I'm ready!! Working on my presentation as I type this. My presentation is at 1:30 so I'll be up late tonight fine tuning my work.

The book is a little over 30 pages. Although I am presenting what I have tomorrow, I will still be collecting submissions to create a bigger book. So it's not too late to submit something.

Thanks to everyone who submitted something and thanks to those who supported me!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Have some patience!

So some people (not going to call names) have told me that they don't get the story that was posted yesterday that was submitted by Cindy Abdelaziz. It's just an excerpt!! To leave you wanting to know what happens so you can stay tuned! :) I'm debating if I should release the rest in the next couple days sooo for now I'll just think about it. ;)

Several more days and then its the big day! No not that BIG DAY (Graduation). It's the big day (this Saturday) that determines if I'm going to graduate or not -Senior Seminar.

Please try to get submissions in no later than Wednesday so that I can have time to edit, layout, and make sure everything is perfect. Email your submissions and short bio to

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sneak Peek Excerpt: Why the Jews Killed My Crush

Here is the promised sneak peek. Hope you enjoy!

Why The Jews Killed My Crush
By Cindy Abdelaziz

It wasn’t one of those typical meeting places. My job had sent me to a conference to enhance my skills and to add to my resume. To my mother’s delight, there were a few eligible Muslim bachelors at the conference, or so I was told by my nosy friends.

One of these eligible Muslim men happened to leaving for lunch at the time my friends and I were heading out. So we did what all good Arabs would do: we invited him to join us for lunch. It was an act of politeness with no ulterior intentions, I assure you.

On our way to the restaurant we started talking about random things you share with strangers that you meet for
the very first time. He was sounding better as we got closer to our destination: he was Egyptian (how I would make my mother so proud); he wasn’t illegal; he spoke fluent English; and—wait for this--he had a real job! My only issue with him thus far in our 5-minute talk was his height. But I was sure I would get over it eventually. This man was a keeper, or so I thought.

To read the rest stay tuned for the release! :-D

Friday, 15 April 2011

Sneak Peek! Front Page!

This is the front page for the book! Photo taken by Danye Gomez. Stay tuned for more sneak peeks ;)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Good News!

I've been bad. I haven't been updated like I had intended to. But other than that, good news! I'm working on layout and if I must say its looking great!! It still needs some working to it. I have about 10 submissions and I'm still definitely looking for more. Photos and poems are welcomed.

My deadline for tomorrow (technically today) is still on but I am willing to take submissions until its time for presentation, which is later this month.

As for my story, I have not decided on "my story." I do have a beginning but the rest of the page is blank. I will get there though and I will definitely share.

So for now, I'm signing out. :-)

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Deadline in a week!

I'm pushing real hard. My deadline for next week is not looking too bad but I think I can make it with your help! I am still in need of submissions. So please send me your story at

I started writing my story. Its not that great but I'm just putting what comes to mind. I'll share it in a few days.

Hope to read yours soon!!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Another Day

It's hard to believe that I have less than a month of classes left (April 23 is the last day of class...)  and my undergraduate career is over. :( So many deadlines are coming up. My Humanities Seminar Project presentation will be on April 30th. So I really have to push it and get ready. I'm still seeking submissions and still working on the layout... I am thinking about how to start my presentation. I'm thinking a bit dramatic. But not too sure yet. If you have any ideas, feel free to share :)

Just a reminder: Deadline for submissions is April 15th.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


I've received about five more submissions this week! Working on the editing and the template for the book. Kind of stressing because I need some more submissions (spread the word!!) but Inshallah it will work out. Can't believe there is only one more month until my undergraduate career is over! I am so ready for May 15!!

I have to present my progress on this project tomorrow at 4pm. Its 1:05 am and I'm trying to see what I can present. I guess I will just give the status because I sooo need to sleep.

Until another time,


Saturday, 12 March 2011


As Salaam Alaikum,

People are continuously asking me if Muslims do this or that. People would stare at me when I would speak and joke with my friends. They would see this girl covered by the Hijab, sitting and studying then joking with her friends. It made me realize that people do not see us as regular people. Some are curious and some are confused.  So for my project humanities seminar at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) (I need it to graduate), I am compiling a book of short stories from Muslims (who live in a minority country) who want their voices heard and for those who want to share their experience. Inshallah this will help dispel misconceptions that they have of us.

All topics are welcomed.   It can be about struggles in school, fitting in, fashion, Hijab, the opposite gender, religion, culture, marriage, friends, family,  finding yourself, terrorism, prejudice, adapting to the majority lifestyle (if you immigrated to a country where you are a minority)  or anything else you may have experienced.

Your story should be between 300-1500 words and be your original work. Photos and poems are welcome also.  Please email your stories to Include your full name, location and age.

Please help make this book a success. Pass this along to someone who may be interested!

A little about me.
I was born on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. It is a little island in the Caribbean Sea. I have lived there all my life. I played sports all through junior high and high school. I am currently managing editor for UVI’s student newspaper- UVI Voice.  I have been wearing the Hijab for a year now and the decision to wear the Hijab (fully mine) was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am forever grateful my parents let that decision be mine so that I can really appreciate it and love it.  In May, I will be graduating with my BA in Communications and AA in Accounting.
Thank you,
Sana Hamed