Oh, Honey!

Oh, Honey!

Honey, a halaal food, is delicious, alluring and can be paired with many foods. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, eat honey, for there is no house in which honey is kept for which the angels will not ask for mercy. For he who eats honey, a thousand remedies enter his stomach, and million diseases will come out. If a man dies and honey is found within him, fire will not touch his body.”


In many parts of the Muslim world, honey is often the most trusted medicine, making it widely available in most homes. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told his followers, “There are two cures for you: honey and the Qur’an.” Honey is also mentioned in the Quran twice. In Surah al-Nahl, or “The Bee,” Allah, the Almighty, talks about bees and the honey they produce: “there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men: Verily this is indeed a sign for people of thought” [16:68- 69]. In another verse, the Quran mentions honey directly describing rivers of honey in heaven (47:15).


Honey contains many minerals and vitamins beneficial to humans, but one of the most important assets is of its antibiotic action. Honey has been shown to be superior to certain conventional antibiotics in treating some things like diarrhea & dysentery, wounds & grazes, headaches & migraines, insomnia osteoporosis, dizziness, ulcers and much more. Cold medicines include honey as an ingredient and raw honey can treat many allergies. Humans can benefit greatly from honey which is why it’s mentioned in the Quran as a highly prescribed food.

Whether you like it in your tea or have a spoonful on your granola, enjoy some honey this week. #EatwithMuslimsMondays


What Is Halal Food, Anyway?


What Is Halal Food, Anyway?

One of our favorite questions at EWM dinner events are about the food and how it is prepared. Whether we cook or cater, the food is full of spices and flavors from around the Muslim world. We also make sure that the ingredients are all halal. In Arabic halal means lawful or permitted and refers to the lifestyle, including the dietary standard, of Muslims. Muslims eat halal foods because they have been prescribed by Allah in the Qur’an. Halal foods can refer to meat and seafood products, however pork and most meat byproducts like gelatin are prohibited. The idea behind halal meat is that the animal is sacrificed in the name of Allah and slaughtered through a quick cut in the neck that makes the animal feel the least pain. Halal foods in general have a lot of other benefits and are healthy for the mind and body because they are free from harmful chemicals and have more nutritional value. (Check out this quick list of halal foods vs. prohibited foods HERE).


Foods that Muslims eat often tells a story of why it’s recommended, when to eat it, and how to prepare it. These recommendations can be found in the Sunnah, which is a verbally transmitted record of the teachings, practices, deeds, sayings, permissions or disapprovals of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

hummus and greens.jpg

Halal food boosts the immune system and promises an overall good health which is beneficial to humans, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. As more and more people in the western hemisphere have realized the importance of eating organic, they are discovering the goodness of halal eating which in many ways is clean eating. Look out for our weekly blog series on halal foods as we dive into all the benefits from what many Muslims around the world eat.



1 Comment


I will never forget the day I put on a hijab for the first time. It was like going to sleep and waking up to a different world. The summer of 2011, I was invited to a conference in Sigtuna, Sweden. The theme for that year was “How do we live together?” One of the panels I participated in was about belonging.  There were a lot of conflicted attendees there and they talked about how they didn’t fit in anywhere. It was a familiar feeling as a little girl growing up in Somalia. The world is full of people who feel trapped and foreign in their own motherland.

Sigtuna, Sweden 2011

When I returned home to America, I decided to put on the hijab because my long beautiful brown, hair was thinning due to stress. One morning I took my daughter to school and when I came back home, I shaved my hair off in the hopes of having it grow back fuller.   I will never forget that day. It was like going to sleep and waking up to a whole new world.  The way some people looked at me, talked to me, and treated me was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Everything changed because of a piece of cloth covering my head.

As a country and people we take pride in individual and religious freedoms yet, Americans seem to be stuck on the hijab. In January 2017, I co-founded a project called Eat With Muslims. It’s designed to bring Muslims and fellow non-Muslims together giving all of us an opportunity to connect emotionally through food and stories. We encourage people to ask questions about anything and our Muslim dinner guests, who have diverse backgrounds, professional knowledge, and lived experiences, try to answer. It turns out that the burning question in many people’s minds is: Why do Muslim women wear the hijab?

The answers always remain the same, we wear it for modesty. We wear it for the same reason Jesus’ mother Mary wore it. Still, studies show that only 38 percent of Muslim women wear the hijab today. Many of them tailor it to their own preference, styles, and cultures.

In Sura An Nur verse 31: Allah says, “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty”

New London, Connecticut 2017

New London, Connecticut 2017

I can remember in 2017, I was on my way to speak at the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. When I boarded my connecting flight, I had the middle seat between two white men. I immediately noticed that one of them had a hostile look in his face. My sheer presence bothered him. I asked if I could pass by, but he ignored me and then finally huffed and puffed as he let me through. As I slowly made my way to my seat, feeling anxious, the other man smiled at me and made me feel welcome. We both noticed the hostility coming from the left side, and it was even clearer when the two movies the man chose to watch was American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty. I knew the best thing to do was to continue being my cheery self and let my hijab do its magic. Ironically, it concealed me from the dark shadow on my left and allowed me to focus on the nice conversation I shared with the man to my right.

For a split second, I thought about how if I didn’t wear a veil he probably would have been nicer to me, not discriminating against me based on my faith. However, I was quickly reminded that wearing it has been a gift from God. It has put me on a spiritual path that I don’t think I would have taken otherwise. I love my hijab and it helps me express myself as a Muslimah. It’s a part of me, even as my hair has grown back. It’s my companion and my best friend at times.

Seattle, Washington 2018

My hijab holds a lot of secrets which is the wisdom behind its revelation. It’s said that we cover when we are youthful and nearly perfect so that it covers our imperfections later when we really need it, which happened to be the case for me. Just as women are encouraged to be modest, men are too, and each of us has the right to express what modesty means and how we want to live our lives. And at the end of the day, a hijab is just a piece of cloth, a piece of clothing so let’s leave it at that.

1 Comment

Affirming the humanity of all people affirms our own humanity


Affirming the humanity of all people affirms our own humanity

It has never been hard for me to see the good in most things. I guess you can call me an optimist.  In  Steven Pinker’s 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, he argues that “human life is becoming not worse as many seem to feel, but globally safer, healthier, longer, less violent, more prosperous, better educated, more tolerant and more fulfilling.” I too, believe this to be true even with a recent rise of tribalism that seems to be sweeping many parts of the world, including America.

OH MANKIND Frames on patio.jpg

O mankind! We created you all from a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other not so that you may despise each other.

Surah Al-Hujurat, Chapter 49

As a hijab wearing Muslim woman and a mother of two girls (who love putting on their hijab), I should be more worried, but I have never been more hopeful. This feeling of hopefulness also has a lot to do with my work on the Eat With Muslims project, which is all about building bridges between people and communities that would never meet otherwise.  Yesterday, Ilays and I had the honor of hosting an EWM gathering in the beautiful home of Gail and Tom. There were about 35 people, mostly Christians and Muslims from different walks of life that came together for lunch. The food consisted of basmati rice, lentils, hummus, soft pita bread, garbanzo and bean salad, yogurts and chutney, sautéed vegetables, and marinated chicken and beef dishes.  The guests loved all the delicious flavors, full of spice and love. After lunch, we sat in a circle and shared stories of ourselves. We laughed and even teared up a few times.  We listened and learned interesting facts about one another. 

ISSA and Aisha.jpg

One of my favorite moment’s from yesterday was when a couple from Senegal, Issa and Aisha, spoke about growing up in a predominantly Muslim country, with a five percent Christian population. They told us how the different communities all live together in harmony and even celebrate each other’s holidays. Mr. Abdulkadir Aden, a Somali gentleman with a rich understanding of world history, added how Senegal electing a Roman Catholic, Léopold Sédar Senghor, as their first president. Furthermore, even Zambia had Guy Lindsay Scott, a Caucasian Zambian, as Vice-president and acting President in 2011 and 2014. These are facts that people don’t often mention when it comes to accepting one another’s differences and trusting in one another. Other guests talked about their life changing experiences when they visited the holy land. Many of our guests just started branching out of their circles and have realized the benefits of other perspectives and cultures. 

group Aug 13.jpg

I feel privileged to do this work of peacemaking and friendship building. We are invited to people’s homes, places of worship and even work spaces to bring love and light between our brothers and sisters in humanity. We must always remember that we are humans first and we share this one village called Earth. We are all safer when we protect one another and consider each other’s well-being because we all deserve the right to life and liberty. When we affirm the humanity of all people, we affirm our own humanity. 


flower aug 13.jpg



We had a wonderful time as we invited a group of forty strangers together for a dinner in West Seattle. However, like Will Rogers said, "A stranger is just a friend I haven't met yet," and we certainly made lots of friends that night. Here are some lovely notes left by our new friends...

Thank you so very much for inviting us to share a meal and connect through storytelling last night. We had a wonderful time.  I feel so lucky to have met you guys. I am so grateful that you had the idea and created space to have conversation and connection by bringing people together over a meal - Lisa

Thank you for putting yourselves out there so visibly and for calling upon us to do new things and make bridges instead of walls. Thank you for feeding us...body, heart and mind. -Deborah

I was truly inspired by Saturday's dinner, and the food was fantastic too. Thank you for having us. We really enjoyed it. I think we all share similar values on making connections and friendships outside of our normal space. -Sam

I want to thank you for a wonderful time last night at the “Eat with Muslims” event.  I had some wonderful conversations. -Marsh



On February 4th, Eat With Muslims went to Portland, Oregon in order to highlight the story of Salma Ahmed who is a Filipino-American Muslim woman. She took us to see the new school that the Muslim community had built. It’s called the Muslim Educational Trust of Portland, and Salma and her husband Dr. Musud serve on the Advisory Board. While we toured the facility, the man in this picture came to us and said, “I just wanted to let you all know that I stand with you. I brought flowers to let you know that so many of us support Muslims in our community and we don’t agree with any of the hate speech or crimes." Then he handed the flowers to Salma and we all chatted for a bit, reflecting on how we can be a better society.

When he left, the security guard told us that all the flowers on the front desk were brought by community members from all around Portland. It was an emotional thing to see, really. All those beautiful flowers reminded me that we are generally loving, kind human beings. And even though it feels like the hate crimes, racism, and bigotry are overwhelmingly sad, I believe we can grow from here and be proactive citizens that show love to one another. Americans always find a way to pull together when it counts. America is where the greatness of humanity can shine because everyone in the world is represented here. We can work to live up to the ideals this country symbolizes and also acknowledge where we have failed. How do we keep growing and appreciate one another? I think it does start with simply saying “I Stand With You” like our new friend was kind enough to say.