Switching from pre-Ramadan to Ramadan mode can be very challenging for those of us in the “special duties squad”… Health care professionals, security personnel, etc. It’s much better when you’re working in a place where there are other muslims to identify with. Otherwise, you have to contend with people eating, drinking and gossiping around you while you’re fasting. 
The painful part is having to (occasionally) eat suhoor and iftar in the hospital, away from your family. Sometimes, it becomes inevitable to skip suhoor when you’re in the middle of an emergency which doesn’t get resolved until fajr. Sometimes you miss the taraweeh in jama’ah and have to make do with witr plus/minus 2 or 4 raka’at whenever you’re free. You plan to finish 2 rounds of tilaawah, but you end up struggling with one… All the same, AlhamduliLlaah! 
When work gets busy, time runs fast.  Before you say Jack Robinson, it’s time for iftar. The excitement of serving humanity and saving lives makes you forget about hunger and thirst. The sight of patients in pain and suffering makes you see the home-cooked iftar as a non-issue. The constant reminder that sickness and death doesn’t respect age or status, makes you more humble and thankful. 
Personally, Ramadan makes me more patient with patients. I’m more calm when talking to them. I can listen more attentively. I’m able to show more empathy. I don’t mind if you’re malingering, I’ll hear you out and offer you soothing counselling after your rant. I feel how it is to be hungry, so I understand how a patient on “nil by mouth” feels… 
Ramadan is such a blessing and a period full of lessons. If Ramadan doesn’t make you more pious, I wonder what will. 

O Allaah, open our hearts to receive the blessings and open our eyes to see the lessons. Aameen. 
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious) – Qur’an chapter 2 verse 183. 



Breast cancer occurs when there is abnormal, uncontrollable growth of cells in the breast. These cells grow beyond the normal confines of the breast tissue and can spread into adjacent structures and distant organs. It is the most common malignancy affecting females in the western world (second commonest in developing countries – after cervical cancer). In England and Wales, over 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year with over 20,000 deaths. Men can also be affected by breast cancer but it is more rare (cf. 260 cases, 68 deaths). Mortality from breast cancer remains high in developing countries due to inadequate screening programmes. 


There is no known single cause for breast cancer but there are numerous risk factors. The common denominator for these risk factors is prolonged exposure to excessive oestrogen (the female hormone that promotes the growth of breast cells). 

These risk factors include:

*Early menarche (less than 11 years at onset of menses) and late menopause (more than 52 years before cessation of menses) 

*Advanced age (mean age of breast cancer was found to be 49years in a Nigerian study) 

*Family history (breast, ovarian or colonic cancer in first degree relatives – mother or sister) 

*History of breast cancer in a male relative 

*History of breast cancer in contralateral breast, especially if there is genetic mutation in genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.

*Late pregnancy (>30years before the first pregnancy carried to term) or no pregnancy at all. 

*Use of oral contraceptive 

*Use of hormone replacement therapy 

*Unhealthy lifestyles such as increased weight gain, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol intake, tobacco smoking etc. 


Most cases of breast cancer remain asymptomatic until they become advanced. A lump usually becomes palpable in the breast at a late stage. However, NOT ALL BREAST LUMPS ARE CANCEROUS. A breast lump can be suspected to be cancerous if it feels hard or irregular, contains solid nodular components or is fixed to the skin or underlying muscle. 

Most lumps are painless. Pain occurs in only 5% of cases. Other possible signs of breast cancer include:
*Unusual changes in breast size and shape 

*Dimples on the breast skin (orange peal appearance) 

*Retraction or inversion of the nipples 

*Abnormal nipple discharge – purulent or bloody

*Axillary lump (swelling in the armpit) 

*Dilated veins on the breast 

*Tethering or ulceration of the breast skin

*Symptoms of spread to other organs, such as lungs (cough, bloody sputum), brain (neurological deficits like stroke, seizures, etc.)  or bones (fractures) 


Because of its insidious onset, the best way to curb the menace of this deadly disease is through effective screening programmes. This will help to detect it at the early stages, whereby successful treatment can be achieved. 
What are the screening modalities available? 

-Self breast examination (SBE) : all women in the reproductive age group should learn how to check their breasts at least once every month (just after the menses)
-Clinical breast examination : once in a while (depending on age, presence of risk factors and result of previous examinations) women should have their breasts examined by a physician. Any sign or symptom detected during the SBE should be reported promptly for double-check. 
-Radiological tests : includes Ultrasound, Mammography, Magnetic Resonance Imagine, or a combination of these as indicated, depending on the density of the breast tissue and individual risk factor assessment. 


A definitive diagnosis is made through biopsy. This could be done through a needle with radiological guidance, to obtain a sample from the lump and send to the laboratory for confirmation. Excisional biopsy can also be done – a surgical procedure whereby the entire lump is removed and sent for laboratory (histological) examination. Other investigations needed to rule out, or confirm metastases, as well as prepare patients for treatment include:

Chest xray

Brain imaging

Abdominal scan

Bone scan

Full blood work up 

Renal and liver function tests, etc. 


The first level of management is to “stage” the disease. This “staging” provides an idea of how advanced the malignancy is. It also gives us the prognostic indices such as likelihood of cure, remission and recurrence. The popular TNM classification is used to categorise the diseases into stages 0 to IV, where 0 is the earliest stage and IV is the most advanced stage. TNM stands for: 

T-clinical staging of breast lump

N-lymph node involvement 

M-presence and type of metastasis (local or distant spread) 

Treatment depends on the stage. This can either be curative or palliative. There are 3 broad modalities of treatment : Surgery, 

Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. Other classes of treatment are:

*Hormonal therapy 

*Genetic modulators


A combination of these modalities are often employed. Palliative measures used in advanced cancer include:

-Pain relief 

-Treatment of metastatic disease 

-Psychological support

-Hospice care

-Home care and end of life support 


Breast cancer is a disease of public health importance. Thanks to the aggressive campaign for active screening and early detection, mortality rate has been decreasing steadily in the developed world but this can not be said of the developing countries. We need to do more of public enlightenment and advocacy programmes to augment the effort of the government in preventing and curing this disease. 


-NICE guidance, UK, 2016 update

-Medscape reference, Breast Cancer, 2017 update. 



Pregnancy is not a disease in itself but there are significant physiological and anatomical changes that may pose some discomfort to the pregnant woman. According to the scholars, pregnant women can be categorised into 2 as far as fasting is concerned:

1. The one who is healthy and fit, who is able to fast without any jeopardy on herself and her baby. 
2. The one who is sick and weak, who is unable to fast because of perceived harm on her and her baby. 

For pregnant women in category 1, fasting is waajib. The same ruling applies to breastfeeding mothers (after 40 days of postnatal bleeding). 

As for those in category 2, they are expected to stop fasting and repay the missed days after childbirth and before the next Ramadan. They fall in the same ruling as the sick or traveller. The evidence for this concession is in a hadith reported by Imaam Ahmad from Anas bin Maalik Al Ka’abi: “Allaah has relieved the traveller of fasting and half of the prayer as He relieved the pregnant and breastfeeding women of fasting” (hasan) 

Pregnant women can fall into category 2 due to conditions such as:

*Severe hyperemesis gravidarum (nausea and vomiting with metabolic derangement and marked weight loss) 

*Infections like Malaria, respiratory or urinary tract infections etc. 

*Pre existing medical conditions with worsening during pregnancy, eg. Sickle cell anaemia, diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, etc. 

*Longstanding infertility or recurrent miscarriages in the past or bleeding in the present pregnancy (fear that fasting may lead to pregnancy loss) 

*Any other condition necessitating hospital admission and aggressive treatment. 

Dear mothers, study yourself but do not assume. Discuss with a qualified doctor who also knows some basic fiqh of fasting and let him advise you on which category you fall into. 

“… and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you… ” (Qur’an chapter 2 verse 185)


Last year, I posted a write-up – “9 bad habits you can drop in Ramadan”. I think the list was incomplete. I  need to add one more thing – Music. Majority of the people will argue that music isn’t bad; that it is, in fact, a healing balm. I’m not going into that line of argument because there are overwhelming authentic evidence to show that music is a form of idle talk and musical instruments are tools of shaytan. (See Qur’an chapter 31 verse 6 and its exegesis by Ibn Katheer, Qurtubi, Tobraani and others) 

I had plenty of music in my head from childhood, but when I got to secondary school, it became much more. By JSS2, I could chant hundreds of musical lyrics from my memory. I bought the book of lyrics (with my meagre pocket money). I bought audio and video cassettes. I crammed every hit album as they drop. Yeah, I was that girl…

AlhamduliLlaah for Islaam. A brain that has memorized the Qur’an has no business enjoying music anymore. Music stinks when the Qur’an is being recited. The Qur’an lifts your soul in a way music can never come close to… 

The feelgood effect of music is indisputable. But is that our purpose in life? To come and feel good and die? No. We are here to worship Allaah and Allaah alone. Feeling good is not a sin, but the “feelgood experience” that doesn’t take you closer to Allaah; that even makes you disobedient to Him; is that one a feelgood?!  

How do we avoid music in a world that is full of it? Well, that’s where your intention comes it. Try your best and leave the part you have no control over. When the neighbours loud their music, loud your Qur’an. When the bus driver starts the music, put on your earpiece and listen to the Qur’an from the comfort of your mobile phone. 

Dear brethren, promise yourself to discard what is left of music in your life today. Start this Ramadan and don’t look back. It may be difficult, but it’s doable.



Think of Ramadan as a fresh bridegroom and you, the new bride. Imagine how the new bride prepares for the D-day… She undergoes a total beauty makeover. She goes for a medical check up to rule out any infectious or genetic disease. She buys the best of dresses, the finest of perfumes and jewelries of gold and silver to adorn herself for her groom. She also studies a lot about marriage and how to be a good wife from the first night and beyond…. 
This is how a muslim should welcome Ramadan. Begin to simulate the things you would be doing when Ramadan finally arrives (more nawafil, more qiyamul-layl, more recitations, etc). The best way to prepare for Ramadan is by fasting.  The Prophet (saw) used to fast more in the month of Sha’baan than in any other month of the year (Hadith). Fasting helps to prepare your system so that the 29/30 consecutive days  will not come as a shock to your body.
You also need to understand the physiology of fasting. Fasting is one act of worship in which EVERY part of your body participates. Fasting is a potent detoxifier. When you begin to feel the pangs of hunger, the stomach sends a signal to your brain and your brain transmits a “low time” alarm to the rest of your body. So, you tend to be less aggressive, less distracted, albeit spiritually motivated. No wonder fasting was prescribed as a way of curbing sexual urge… 
Visit a clinic and do basic health check for yourself and your family. If you have any chronic medical condition or you’re taking some medications routinely, discuss with your physician to see if you can fast and if you can adjust the dose to suit the timing of fasting. The ruling of fasting by the sick is clear. If fasting would harm you or aggravate your sickness, skip it and pay later. (Qur’an chapter 2 verse 184-185)


I think marriage is an achievement and I’ll explain why. When Adam was created, he had everything. (Now, how do I explain this to an atheist who thinks he evolved from a chimp?!) He lived in a beautiful garden with all his desires fulfilled on demand. But something was obviously missing. He was a full-grown man with testosterone flowing through his veins. He needed companionship. He needed a wife and Allaah granted him a perfect match – Eve. It was the same for Eve.  She was happy. She was loved. She had everything, too. 
Marriage is based on love, compassion and mercy. Allaah said in Qur’an chapter 30 verse 21,

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.”
It’s fine if you choose to live a celibate life, but don’t impose it on our girls. If you prefer to service your honeypot with sextoys and bring forth children through unknown sperm donors, again, it’s your choice. Just don’t corrupt our girls. Let them feel free to love and be loved. We’re here to guide and bless them – so help us God. I can’t help you if Allaah has removed compassion and affection from your heart. It’s like the feeling of analgesia after a jab of morphine; I pray you recover soon! 
My Prophet taught me that marriage is half of faith. He encouraged us to hasten towards completion of this “half”. He said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty” (Bukhaari). This is because we have no other option of satisfying our desires. This is because sexual pervasiveness is not part of Islam. 
Keep your messy feminism to yourself and stop brainwashing our girls. And yes, we do pay attention to their education and empowerment. We do honour our wives and obey our mothers. Marriage is not the only achievement we prepare our girls for, but when a girl gets happily married, we celebrate her as much as we celebrate any of her other achievements. 


Disclaimer! Adults only. Reader’s discretion is advised. 
There is no clear-cut medical verdict on oral sex. There are benefits and there are risks. Studies have shown that oral sex enhances the overall sexual health in some couples. Sexual therapists do recommend it when managing cases of desire and arousal dysfunctions. Unfortunately, the risk of transmission of STDs is enough to scare anyone. Genital and oral herpes, syphilis, HIV and HPV are among the most notable. 
People who engage in oral sex have been shown to be at higher risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer (secondary to HPV infection). The risk is higher for those who have multiple sexual partners, and in the presence of a breach in the genital (or oral) skin and mucosa (bruises, cuts, etc) 
The vagina contains a cocktail of several bacteria. A high level of personal hygiene is required of a woman who wishes to enjoy cunnilingus. It is more advisable to use a ‘female condom’ or ‘vulval diaphragm’ to shield that area and prevent the husband from picking up infections from down there. 
The husband could also use a condom. This will rule out the chances of the woman swallowing semen and transferring pathogens between the phallus and the mouth. 
In Islam, the basic principle in issues of daily life is that everything is permissible unless there is an explicit ruling that forbids it. On this basis, some schools of thought opine that oral sex is permissible because there is no evidence to rule that it is haraam. 
Allaah says:
“Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth when or how you will, and send before you for your ownselves. And fear Allah, and know that you are to meet Him, and give good tidings to the believers.” (Qur’an chapter 2 verse 223)
In explaining this ayah, scholars of tafseer say that couples can enjoy sexual pleasure with each other using any style. The only exception to this permissiveness is ANAL SEX which is explicitly prohibited in the shari’ah as seen in several authentic ahadeeth. 
 It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said: “The one who has intercourse with his wife in her back passage has disavowed himself of that which was revealed to Muhammad (SAW).” Narrated by Abu Dawood (3904); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. 
However, another school of thought believes that oral sex should be discouraged as it resembles what obtains among lower animals (especially dogs), and it is inappropriate for humans to imitate animals. They argue that the same tongue that would be used to glorify Allaah should not be seen around filthiness; such as the pre-ejaculatory fluid in men (al-madhiyy) and the vaginal discharge in women. 
Overall, we have no evidence to say that oral sex is haraam. Considering the fact that some couples have trouble achieving sexual satisfaction via penetrative intercourse alone, should they be denied the opportunity to explore other options? Should we categorize this under the “umuurun mushtabihaat” (doubtful affairs) and steer clear so as to be on the safer side? Well, there are more questions than answers on this topic…
My submission: 

Couples who decide to explore other methods of satisfying each other may, by mutual agreement, include oral sex. They should maintain a high standard of genital and oral health, and try not to ingest the genital fluids. 
WAllaahu Ta’aala A’alam.