In which BIB meets Yaqub Renwick, a convert, poet and sound engineer all rolled in one! We discuss Turkish kebab shops in Acton, living on the Thames and a couple of cases of not so mistaken identity on account of the beard!
Tommy ‘A-Man’ Evans of ‘Beard is Beautiful’ fame explains in a powerful spoken word the experiences of many white Muslims in Britain including myself.
The elation of reversion, before the gradual realization that not all is as it should be post shahadah, the needing to find your own way – to bridge that gap between Islam and British culture, whilst maintaining your own individuality.
His also touches on the blessing / curse of being white in a Muslim community still burdened with something of a colonized and / or cultural mindset in a way I’ve always struggled to articulate.
Christine Amina Benlafquih invites us to try this aromatic condiment in a myriad of ways.
What comes to mind when you think of ginger? Asian dishes such as teriyaki, baked treats like gingerbread and ginger snaps, or perhaps a beverage along the lines of ginger ale? For many years, that was pretty much the extent of my own encounters with ginger, but today the spice represents considerably more.
In my Moroccan kitchen, for example, I use ground ginger almost daily in dishes which run the gamut from savoury soups and stewed veggies to well-seasoned chicken, meat and fish preparations. Use a little, and ginger can be described as fragrant, sweet and peppery; use a lot, and you’ll notice that it’s also a bit fiery.
The Qur’an cites ginger as a food of Paradise:
“And they will be given to drink a cup whose mixture is of ginger.” (Al-Insan:17)
There is little to be found in the Sunnah with explicit references to ginger (zanjabeel in Arabic). However, one hadith narrated by Abu Said al’ Khudri shows that the Prophet (SAW) tasted and shared some preserved ginger which he received as a gift from the Byzantine emperor. (Medicine of the Prophet)
In addition to being a remedy for colds, flus and respiratory infections, ginger is widely recognised as an effective treatment for indigestion, heartburn, diarrhoea, flatulence and nausea. Some pregnant women find that ginger alleviates the symptoms of morning sickness, while some travellers conclude that it’s useful in combatting motion sickness.
While these therapeutic qualities are notable, ginger’s chemical properties go beyond improving how one feels. Ginger is also said to improve the memory, increase sex drive, benefit the circulatory system by reducing cholesterol levels and preventing blood clots, and work as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal and anti-viral. It can be used to treat headaches, muscular and joint inflammation and menstrual cramps.
Ginger in fresh rhizome and dry, ground form is available all year round. The rhizome can be refrigerated (or peeled, wrapped and frozen) to preserve its shelf-life; dry ginger should be stored in an airtight container and replaced every few months.
Although the flavour and pungency of fresh and dry ginger differ a bit, one can be substituted for the other using a ratio of 4 to 6 measures of freshly grated ginger to every 1 measure of dry.
The plethora of international dishes which call for ginger make it easy to incorporate this sunnah food into our diet. To get started, try these easy recipes:
Ginger and Honey Tea
Fresh ginger tea is a healthy concoction that can aid digestion, soothe an upset stomach and provide relief from cold and flu symptoms. Honey, another sunnah food, adds flavour and additional health benefits.
• 2 ½ cups water
• 1 ½ inch section of fresh ginger
• 2-3 tbsp honey, or to taste
1. Peel the ginger. Cut into thin slices and put it in a small pot with the water.
2. Bring the water to a boil and allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or a bit longer if you prefer a stronger tea.
3. Strain the tea into cups, add honey to taste and serve.
Grilled Ginger Salmon
This Asian-influenced marinade works well with salmon, swordfish or firm fish steaks. You can also try it on chicken or turkey breasts.
• 1 kg salmon
• ½ cup orange juice
• ½ cup soy sauce
• 1/3 cup honey
• 2 tbsp Dijon style mustard (optional)
• 1½ tsp dry ground ginger
• 1½ tsp garlic powder
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Wash the fish. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisking until smooth.
2. Reserve ¼ cup of marinade and set aside.
3. Add the fish to the bowl, turning it over several times to coat it with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
4. Remove the fish from the bowl and place over medium heat on a grill (alternatively you can use a grill pan or broiler). Cook for approximately ten minutes each side, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade. Serve.
Christine Amina Benlafquih is an expert on Moroccan Food. Her culinary creations can be found on http://moroccanfood.about.com
Showing the weak-willed girly men who shave their beards just how manliness is done, the award for beard of the month Feb 2016 has to go Josh Strauss, Rugby Union flanker for Scotland and Glasgow Warriors.
Look at that beard! Rugby players getting all the mentions this month, due to their efforts in promoting the proper manly way of keeping facial hair and scaring the crap out the metrosexual Pogonophobia sufferers out there.
Honourable mentions given to the following players, especially Gonzalo Garcia who knocked the stuffing out of Owen Farrell in a huge tackle in the Italy – v – England game, even though I was supporting England it was a thing of beauty to watch.
As you can see three Italian players are in there sporting proper beards, clearly trying to make up for the disaster for manliness that the Roman Empire brought to the world by popularizing shaving.
(please note my disdain is only for those who shave, not for those who cannot grow a beard through no fault of their own)
“It’s always a good day when I don’t see Police, I really like those days when I don’t see a single police officer.”
Shaun O’Sullivan, revert to Islam
A revert brother (ok he does happen to be ginger) exposes some of the harassment that the Police can give to people when they become Muslim in the UK.
He gives excellent advice on how to deal with the Police in relation to your rights and how to stand up to Police tactics of bullying and oppression.
“Who is GINGERBEARDMAN? What does he stand for? Where does he come from? And why is he cluttering up the internet with his inane babbling masquerading as a blog?”
I am a Muslim from the UK, a revert (convert) to Islam, someone trying his best to be a good father, son and husband to those I love, an aspiring writer and a campaigner for ginger rights!
OK one of the above is not serious, strictly speaking it’s untrue. I don’t really do much campaigning for ginger rights at all, well other than the odd meme posted here or elsewhere online.
In fact I didn’t even know I was ginger until I got to about age of 11 and started growing my beard out to intimidate other school level rugby players and found that my beard grew a different colour to the rest the hair on my head.
Does that even make me ginger at all? Or am I half ginger? Does it make a difference if I shave my balding sweed and so the only hair people see is my huge ginger beard and don’t know I secretly have brown hair? (ok sort of greyish brown with bald bits)
It does annoy me a great deal though that the mockery of ginger people is the last socially acceptable form of prejudice (outside of far right social circles). I mean everyone is allowed to have a go, not just comedians. Comedians are expected to mock that which is different to the societal norm but us ginger folk just can’t catch a break even from regular people.
To make matters worse, given the number of people accepting Islam the ‘ginger Muslim convert’ is actually becoming a stereotype in the UK society with Tommy Robinson, the EDL’s former leader even noticing and joking about it on national TV, that every revert seems to be ginger, that Islam accepts ginger people and so we only become Muslim for some form of acceptance.
I mean I became Muslim fourteen years ago, there were not that many of us around back then but even I saw four other ginger bearded reverts just whilst doing tawaf when I went on Umrah a couple of years ago and makes you envy the ginger revert sisters out there who get to hide themselves away under the Hijab.
The thing is if you complain about all this evil prejudice you get accused of having a chip on your shoulder, of just being another angry ginger, like being angry and ginger are synonymous or something but I am actually quite mellow and chilled out when people meet me and very rarely get angry, even when being mocked for being ginger.
There is of-course a perfectly logical explanation as to why so many ginger Muslim converts / reverts out there, Islam has always appealed to the poor and marginalized in society around the world who have less to lose by looking at such a radically different way of life. In the UK that’s often people from the Celtic nations and it is these peoples who have a greater propensity towards being ginger.
And being Irish by decent by my fathers side of the family, and red haired English genes being present in some parts of my mothers side of the family I didn’t really have much hope of being anything but ginger, or half ginger anyway.