Eid al-Fitr Mubarak 2016

Eid-al-Fitr 2016

Once again, we have been fortunate to have experienced another Ramadan. A month of fasting, sacrifice, giving, piousness and self-discipline. We’ve been blessed with yet another chance to improve and put our dedication to test. Another opportunity to experience the essence of Ramadan and seek the immense spiritual treasure therein.

We’ve been given a new possibility to pursue benefits for both mind and body. And through socializing at iftar, prayers, and self-control by practicing good manners, we have made our best attempts to build a feeling of peace, tranquility and self-satisfaction that we hope will extend beyond this month.

May Allah accept our attempts in the month that has passed, and grant us the opportunity to improve our efforts in the future. I wish all Muslims a happy and blessed Eid al-Fitr!

Last Night in Jalalpur Jattan

Last Night in Jalalpur Jattan

As I am praying alone in my bedroom, the electricity suddenly goes out. Complete darkness. I cannot even see my feet where I am standing. I continue to pray, in utter darkness. A distant generator starts up. A dog is barking far away. The occasional car or truck passes by on the road just in front of the house.

I finish my prayer and just sit quietly on the prayer rug. It is warm, must be over 30°C in the room, more likely closer to 35. The darkness feels suffocating, and at the same time strangely calming. I know my way around the room. And I know my mobile phone is on the bedside table. It is charged so I can turn on the flashlight app. Still, a strange kind of panic is floating just below the surface of my heart. Suffocating. I need to get out!

I walk upstairs to the roof. Electricity is back, and I see lights in the buildings across the road from our house. The evening is clear, and a gentle breeze makes the weather just perfect to be outside. It is quiet but for the occasional vehicle driving past the house.

The sun is setting and the partly overcast sky shows a graduation from deep blue to orange. Beyond the houses across the road I see green fields stretching out into the hazy horizon. This calm and fresh evening is my last here in Jalalpur Jattan before I head back to Norway. A perfect evening setting the scene for a sad goodbye. And I wonder when I get to see this sight again.

Happy Constitution Day, Norway!

Fering av Norges nasjonaldag

Photo from my archives (2010). Crowd weaving their flags and cheering as the children’s parade walk by, in celebration of the Norwegian constitution day on May 17th at “slottsparken” (the Palace Park), near the Royal Palace, downtown Oslo, the capital of Norway.

Instagram @Sadphaze, http://ift.tt/1XwEJMN

Last of the Dreams (Part 3)

Last of the Dreams Part 3

Coming back from the ceremony, she feels tired. It is late and she has to get up early. Still, she does not feel like going to bed, on this, her last evening as a girl. Her younger cousins take turn to decorate her with Henna, they too tired from the evenings festivities.

As she closes her eyes a couple of hours before dawn, tucked in her bed, she holds her hand outside the covers for the henna to dry in the warm glow of the natural gas heater beside her bed. She quickly falls deeply asleep. And dreams. Her last dream as a girl. And as dawn breaks, the henna on her hands half dry and starting to crumble and flake off, her dream fades away.

Last of the Dreams | Last of the Dreams (Part 2)

Blood Moon

2015-09_Blood Moon

Super moon, blood moon, and a total lunar eclipse. All happening last night!
Last time anyone saw this sight,
was back in eighty two.

Many have opinions about this phenomenon, and say they’re right!
I choose to see it as a beautiful light,
and wonder if I will live to see it next time too.

Beyond the Stars

2015-08_Beyond the Stars

There are other worlds beyond the stars;
More tests of love are yet to come.

This vast space is not lifeless;
In it there are hundreds of other caravans.

Do not be content with the world of colour and smell;
There are other gardens, and other nests, too.

What is to worry if you have lost one residence?
There are other stations to sigh and cry for!

You are an eagle, born to soar;
You have other skies before you.

Do not get lost in this maze of day and night;
There is, for you, another space, another time.

Gone are the days when I was an isolate in the crowd;
Many here now are, confidants of mine.

Happy Pakistan independence day August 14th – Pakistan Zindabad!

Poem (in Urdu) by Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, The Poet of the East, from Bal-I-Jibril (Gabriel’s Wing), 1908

Eid al-Fitr Mubarak


Every year, as the month of Ramadan draws close, I feel like standing before a mountain to be climbed, wondering if I will have what it takes to make it all the way to the top. This year, with 20-hour days in the middle of the summer, that mountain seemed taller than ever.

Now, with only a day left of of fasting, reflecting back, I admit to myself that I didn’t take the ideal route to the top. In fact, it wasn’t even a particularly elegant one. Still, somehow, I feel I got there. And I pray that it counts.

May Allah accept our sacrifices in the month that has passed, and grant us the opportunity to improve our efforts in the future.

Have a blessed Eid al-Fitr celebration!



As the moon starts to cut into the bright yellow disc of the sun, I realize what is about to happen. In a few moments, the light will be gone.

As the moon positions itself on top of the sun, almost fully covering it, my heart feels heavy. What if there was no way to feel the warmth of the sun on my face? To be able to close my eyes and feel the light, too intense even behind shut eyelids? The warm sensation taking my mind away, freeing it for a moment from the sadness that fills my heart.

And then it is over. The moon is gone, the sun shining as bright as ever. My spirits rejuvenated, I head back to work, filled with enough energy to keep me going for another day.

Last of the Dreams (part 2)

2015-03_Last of the Dreams part 2

She has celebrated numerous henna ceremonies before, but her own ceremony is nothing like she has imagined. It seems that chaos is everywhere. And although the whole world seems to be happy, she knows many to be superficial smiles. Worn only for the evening as a gesture of good will. As she sits with her husband-to-be, and receives countless best wishes together with large amounts of oil applied to her hair, she thinks back on her life. And one by one her dreams pass by in her mind.

Last of the Dreams | Last of the Dreams (Part 3)

Last of the Dreams

Henna ritual

Finally, the long-awaited time arrived. She had been dreaming about this moment since she was young, imagining how it would be, when it would happen and where. For the bride, who is soon to depart from her childhood home,  the day of the Henna ritual is long and exhausting, but a day where she is closer to her family than she has ever been before. Like waves bringing an untied boat close to shore before carrying it far out to sea.

Last of the Dreams (Part 2) | Last of the Dreams (Part 3)

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