Author: mzabteam

In Conversation With Ahmad Ikhlas: On Dub Poetry, Faith and Travel

“The first step is intention. Once that foundation is established then the balance will naturally follow.“ Read on as we catch up with Ahmad Ikhlas, an international dub poet, reggae and garage musician who draws on his Jamaican heritage and his British upbringing to form a unique style of music and poetry, used in praise of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We are curious to know more about what led you to being a dub poet, reggae and garage artist? Could you tell us more about your developmental experience and the influences that shaped you to do what you do today?I grew up listening to reggae in it’s various forms Rock steady, ska, dancehall, lovers rock revival etc. I guess it’s part and parcel of growing up in a Caribbean household.  This genre had a strong influence on my style and delivery as a Garage MC which came as second nature and something I unconsciously perceived. I’d perform weekly on Pirate Radio stations and in clubs. When I became serious about practising my faith I gradually …

An Interview with Sabah and Muneera of ‘Black Muslim Women Bike’

MZAB magazine caught up with Sabah and Muneera exploring their outdoors initiative ‘Black Muslim Women Bike’. Read on as we explore the minds of these two adventurers and the inspiration behind this initiative. Who is behind Black Muslim Women Bike? Muneera: Black Muslim Women Bike started almost by accident, I started cycling just before lockdown when advised to do so by the doctor due to an on going injury I had from running. I was told I need to build muscle and I may never be able to run again which was devastating because I had been running on and off since about 2014 when my friend Nisa Ali come to visit me in the UK and told me about a triathlon she was training for. I was looking for ways to keep fit, I can’t swim, I didn’t have a bike, so running seemed like the easiest thing, all I needed was myself. So when the doctor told me that, I thought at least I can try cycling. Good thing, in terms of timing, …

Untitled: Mariam Ali

If it means I can create words that reach Uranus and Saturn I surrender to God’s will. Even if it means cutting open my chest with my bare hands and taking out this heart using the dripping blood as ink I surrender to whatever befalls the softest of them all. But please continue beating a beautiful drum like rhythm because this sore spot will soon grow bright green leaves ready for summer.

On Turkish Tea And Rumi: An interview With Döndü Kazankiran

Where are you from and what does your name mean? I’m from the Netherlands but my family is from Turkey. My name means “Return/turn”. There is actually a funny story about it which I would like to share. In the olden days when a Mother gave birth to a lot of girls, they would name the last born girl “Döndü” so the next child will hopefully “turn” its gender and be a boy. This tradition and name is popular in the middle of Turkey called Anadolu (Anatolia).  What has brought you to London? In 2015 I came to London to do an internship. I met my husband and fell in love with him and when I finished studying in The Netherlands I moved to London so we could be together.   What do you love about your culture the most? Even though I was born and raised in the Netherlands, my big Turkish family has always taught me about the Turkish culture and manners. What I love the most is our warm hospitality. This can …

On Nature and Gardening With Sally Hallywill

ON NATURE AND WILDLIFE  Sally Hallywill cares for the plants and wildlife at Lordship recreation ground in North London. Read on as we catch up on all things nature… I really like your theme of ‘sanctuary’, because it resonates so much with what I feel about the ‘outdoors’, and, at the moment, the specific places I choose to spend that time in. These are Lordship Rec, which I feel so fortunate to live near, and my shared house and land in France, where I started a small Orchard with a view to managing it organically both for the benefit of us humans who spend time there, but primarily for ‘nature’ to have a refuge from the extensive surrounding fields of industrial agriculture. This summer in particular I am also spending a lot more time with my sister and mother in south Norfolk, and enjoying the utter tranquility and wide open spaces around their village in the countryside. My main interest is not so much in ‘gardening’ – I sometimes describe myself as an ‘anti-gardener’, but in …

Without a thought he walks…

Almase is a young writer based in North London who enjoys writing stories and micro-fiction Without a thought he walks… His brilliant cloth sways in the rhythm of the wind, his ebony skin complimenting the colour. The yellow sediment encircles his earthy brown sandals effortlessly rising to remove clarity from the man’s view. Helplessly, he clings to his cloth just a little tighter, his almond eyes squinting at the unforeseeable expanse. Just as the wind gathers strength its energy is unleashed and the sand  particles instantly drop to the surface, his independent cloth stills and the wind echos its dwindling howls into the distance until it sleeps to wake again. Burning from the inside out, his legs gradually reach the surface, quietly, he sits. Old age has overcome him, becoming undoubtedly noticeable from the milestones reaching the top of his face to the bottom and his salt and pepper hair; yet he is young- in the hope of getting younger as each day passes.  Minutes pass and as he searches through the backless sky, a gesture …

Hana Mahmoud Mohamed Saey: The Soul of Palestine

SANCTUARY Two years ago, for the third year of my History and Arabic undergraduate degree, I had to choose from one of four Arab cities for a year of study abroad. I chose Nablus in Palestine. I had an idea of what my trip might be like. From a distance, Palestine somehow still felt very familiar to me. Palestine was frequently in the news for starters, often at the centre of tensions within the Middle East. But also, as a Muslim, and as the daughter of a Christian mother, for me Palestine was very much at the centre of another type of world too.  JERUSALEM It was just after dawn. Daylight was bleeding into the night sky as the moon began its slow descent into the horizon. Crowds of people quietly rushed through the narrow and winding market streets of the Old City, making their way to the Eid Prayer at Masjid al Aqsa (the Furthest Mosque). Worshipers were dressed in their finest attire and the smell of musk filled the air.  My friend took …

Dreams of Rural Senegal: Starting a Bio Farm From Ground Zero

Assietou Diop is a French agronomist, based in La Rochelle specialising  in the management of rural territories. Read on as we catch up with her about a project close to her heart. “Sanctuary” … I think it’s important for everyone to be able to introspect, question and not be afraid of loneliness. It is in solitude that we learn to really know ourselves, to improve, to evolve and to refocus on what is really essential for us, by distancing from the world around us as well as those who can influence us, sometimes in the wrong way. From my point of view, too many people are afraid of this loneliness which is nonetheless at certain periods of life essential not to lose oneself. “Solitude is the nest of thoughts” as a Kurdish proverb says. I was born in Bordeaux (France) and grew up in La Rochelle. My father is Senegalese and I bear the name of the mother of my paternal grandmother. My name comes from a character from the Qur’an “Assia” who was the wife …