Eid again - this time really for the Muslims who went on hajj. Nevertheless, the other people celebrate, too: sheep are slaughtered, new clothes are worn, and people get together. Let's not forget that Eid is not just having a few days off, but it's all about the remembrance of Allahas well: It was narrated that the Prophet, , said: "The
Day of ‘Arafah, the Day of Nahr and the Days of Mina (i.e. the Days of
Tashreeq) are days of festivity for us, Muslims. They are days for
eating, drinking and remembering Allaah." [Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah] [At-Tirmithi: Saheeh] Repeating Takbeer starts from the night of ‘Eed, and lasts throughout the Days of Tahsreeq and ends with the sunset of the 14th of Thul-Hijjah.
manner of Takbeer is to say: Allaahu Akbar (Allaah is The Greatest),
Allaahu Akbar, La ilaaha illallaah (None is worthy of worship except
Allaah), wa Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, wa Lillaahil-Hamd (Praise is
due to Allaah).
We have no power cuts these days but rather non-power cuts. The electricity may come for ten minutes or so every now and then but that's about it. I admit, we've gotten used to it, so it doesn't bother me too much. It may bother shopkeeprs that all frozen foods have gone off and Internet cafe owners that they have to run the generator all the time, but having no electricity can have some advantages, too. People get to do other things than watch TV all day, for example. Indeed, we should always look at things from the positive side :)
Whoever follows news on Yemen will regularly come past an article about early marriage. Some call it child marriage. According to Human Rights Watch, some 14% of Yemeni girls marries before the age of 15, and about half before the age of 18. Activists now want a law that sets the minimum age for marriage at 18.
However, this may not be right for everyone in this country. True, to marry off a girl that is herself still a child is, at least, questionable. But why not set the minimum age at 15 or 16? Think about the countryside, where more than 70% of the Yemenis live. People there tend sheep, plant grains, coffee, or qat, gather fire-wood, milk their cows, etc. etc. Activists say that girls who marry early are deprived of education. But do farmers really need a secondary school education? Or is basic education sufficient for their lives? And anyway, most village children don't even have access to a secondary school. So, if a girl of 15 or 16 is mature enough to help run a household, why wouldn't she get married?
Things may be different in the city, but we should still keep in mind that people should have freedom in their personal lives. Moreover, if the minimum age were set at 15 or 16, this doesn't mean that the girl cannot marry at age 18 or older! The law should only aim at avoiding harm, and leave the rest up to the people themselves.
... and what is a child anyway? When I was 15, I worked as a cashier in a supermarket on weekends. And in those days, that was an accurate job since bar codes were not yet used. I was not the only young cashier - there were about eight of us. The bread and meat sections were also staffed by high school students. In fact, the whole supermarket was runned by 15 - 17 year-olds on weekends. Would they have agreed on this had we been 'children' in the true sense of the word? Of course not! It shows that a 15 - 17 year-old can take on responsibilities.
I am obviously not trying to say that all girls should marry before they are 18. Some may not be ready for it. But some others might be - and that's a personal choice.
Most families here eat shafoot during Ramadhan because of its refreshing taste, but it can also be served during the rest of the year. It consists of lehoh (a sort of pancake), yoghurt, and zahaweq.
How to prepare:
1. Elsewhere on this blog you can find the recipe for zahaweq. Mix this with yoghurt and a little water so that it is not too thick. A small dish of shafoot requires approx. 200 ml. yoghurt. Keep the mixture refrigerated until no. 4 below. for the lehoh:
2. Mix two parts of white flour and one part of millet ('dukhn' in Arabic). Add a pinch of salt and a little yeast. Knead a dough with lukewarm water and then add more water to make it really liquid. Cover for a couple of hours. When it is rather 'bubbly' it is ready to use.
3. In a non-stick (TEFAL) frying pan, pour some of the watery dough. Don't add any oil. If you can cover the frying pan well, you don't have to turn the lehoh over. If not, you should. Repeat until you've used all the dough.
4. Put a piece of lehoh on a plate. Pour half the yoghurt/zahaweq mixture over it. Then put another piece of lehoh on top and pour over the rest of the mixture (if the plate is very small, you can use three pieces of lehoh instead of two). Decorate with a little salad in the middle.
- You should prepare the last step (no. 4) right before serving. If you do this too early, it becomes soggy.
- If you can't find millet, you can use wholemeal flour instead. Your lehoh will miss the typical taste the 'dukhn' gives it, though.
- Lehoh is best eaten the day it's made.
The whole country will have at least a week's holiday. Everything (except some shops) will be closed, many people travel to their villages, and others to the coast. So whoever stays behind can enjoy an empty and quiet city for some days, inshallah!