Ramadan 2012 Blog: Waz Intro

I grew up observing Ramadan all my life and often had a mix of emotions that went a little like this:

dread and nervousness that I would mess up and not be able to keep my fast followed by intense guilt because HOW COULD I DREAD such a holy time?!

In high school I was usually able to observe all 30 days because I was underweight (a combination of an awesome eating disorder I developed after dreams of wanting to be a ballerina) and I was experiencing amenorrhea. Baba (my dad) would joke that there weren’t even men who could do all thirty days.

In college, I only had my friend Sana that I did iftars with. And although, I didn’t have much more of a community, I observed nevertheless. I knew what Ramadan was about and for… and the lessons I could learn from it, but I don’t honestly believe I ever felt connected to observing the month in a way that I do this year.

I have been anticipating this holy month in my heart for so long. I have been preparing myself for the task of observing my fast during a hot, humid NYC summer and downloaded two azaan apps to let me know when it is time to pray.

As an educator, I have been preparing my school community: prepping a prayer room for students and staff and thinking ahead to two/three years from now and hosting iftars at the school (when the entire school is in session and not just summer camp/summer school students).

As someone who is newly part of a queer and progressive Muslim community, I feel like I get to be the Muslim me for the first time ever. I don’t have to explain things to others; I don’t have to go to a separate space to pray; I get to authentically be Muslim with others who love Islam and we do it alongside one another.

“Ramazan is not about just keeping your mouth closed and not eating” Madar (my mom) would always tell me as she reminded me to pray five times a day and flex the muscle of my faith emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Yes, I am ready for the workout

Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love


“For me, being both has never been a source of internal conflict. I’ve never felt Islam asks me to be something other than what I am. If Allah is closer than my own jugular vein, is the creator of my heart–ya Khalaq! ya Bari! Ya Mussawir!–the source of its blood and beat, how could I despise myself?”

Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love, captures stories and experiences of being at the intersections of Islam and queerness and its relationship to family, lovers, one’s sense of self and relationship with our faith. Terna Tilley-Gyado and Wazina Zondon utilize traditional storytelling and conversation as the medium for exploring the broad range of their experiences as queer Muslims. The stories Coming Out Muslim tell range from tales about other people’s theories about where queerness comes from, the gifts of being queer and Muslim, the tension between one’s culture and religion, and love—romantic and spiritual. Coming Out Muslim is both funny and poignant.

As lovers of Allah and humanity, we are committed to liberation and freedom for queer Muslims, and all who stand at the intersections of identities, to be the shining souls we are, our light unimpeded by anyone s prejudices, threats, “you can’t”s and “you shouldn’t”s. We are real. We are.