(Hint: It is not to save us from sexually out-of-control men.)

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Years ago I gave up wearing hijab for about three months. I stopped covering my hair. I gave up wearing the scarf. At first, it was glorious. My hair was… so free. And fun. I tried different hairstyles I would not normally do because they would not work under a scarf. It felt pretty. I felt normal.

I had stopped wearing a headscarf because I didn’t know why I was wearing it. I felt like a fraud. When people asked me, I had canned lines from Muslim websites and memes I could regurgitate. But none of them rang true in…


It is not Muslim Christmas.

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The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.” [ImamTabarani]

A Month in the Calendar

What is Ramadan? Honestly, Ramadan is a number of things.

First of all, it is simply one month in the Muslim…


And she didn’t even have to be near it to die

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There is a lovely wildflower that grows wild in woods and fields throughout the states east of the Mississippi River in the United States. Its scientific name is Ageratina altissima but it is commonly known as white snakeroot.

White snakeroot is a perennial and produces clusters of small white blossoms. It grows to a height of four to five feet (between one to one and one-half meters) tall.

Even though it is a pretty plant, especially when blooming, it was named appropriately. Just as a snake can have venom that can kill, so does this harmless-looking plant. …


The Oneida silverware on my family’s table was

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When I was a child, my mother always liked a perfectly set table. I must have been about six or seven when she taught me to do it. Setting the table was always my job after that. I enjoyed making her happy with a beautiful table for dinner. I was so good at it that when I needed to give a demonstration speech in school, I chose the topic, “How to Set a Formal Dinner Table.”

My mother carefully packed her wedding china, crystal glasses, cloth napkins, lace tablecloth, and the shining silverware that was her pride and joy for…


This one is way more interesting and can lead to riches!

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Have you heard of the book, “The Secret”? I bet you think you have. But not this one. This is a different book of the same title and it is much more interesting than the one everybody thinks of when they hear it.

The book you are probably thinking about supposedly tells you how you can think yourself rich. The book I am talking about can actually bring you riches.


Can a urinary tract infection make a person hallucinate?

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My father has never been the best at being accurate. He is quite the storyteller and loves to exaggerate. Even more so, he loves to hide details that may expose him when he thinks I will disapprove. I have written about my dad’s narcissism, but it doesn't mean he doesn’t know when he had made a bad choice in life.

Even though I have always known to take what he says with a grain of salt, in the past few months things have gotten out of control with his stories and I couldn't figure out why.

I guess I didn't…


Buy control of your life by evaluating who you pay it out to.

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Everyone says that ‘time is money.’ But do we really treat it that way?

This thought really hit home for me last year after I spent Christmas day helping my father move. It was a horrible experience. He was in no way prepared and did not have a single thing packed. As he was currently staying in the psychiatric ward of a hospital, we had very limited time to accomplish anything and could take very little with him.

He did not want to give up his apartment but everyone else (me and professionals) agreed it was time. …


The Watseka Wonder was America’s first documented case of spirit possession.

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Tonight, my local library hosted an online Zoom presentation in anticipation of Halloween. It was a talk given by Curt Strutz, a paranormal investigator who has a show on YouTube called Paranormal Generation. During the presentation, Strutz discussed two haunted structures in America, one of them being the Hoff house in Watseka, Illinois. The story of spirit possession in the house intrigued me so I decided to look it up for further reading.

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, here is the story of the Hoff House and the mysterious woman who said she was possessed by one of…


Greeting customs of Muslims and how to handle the differences.

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I once was able to attend a roundtable discussion panel at the University of Iowa on the subject of Student Immigrants. The stories the students who had come to America from other countries told were fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking. I was riveted for every second of it.

After it was over, there were the customary lines of people waiting to meet and greet the panel members. I don’t remember what I exactly wanted to say, but there was one panel member that had come to the US from Bahrain that I was especially keen to talk to.

I waited eagerly…


Lessons in following destiny learned from ‘The Alchemist‘ by Paulo Coelho.

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In August of 2019, I went to Europe. I went to visit my husband’s home country of Kosovo and to meet my in-laws for the first time. There was no good reason we had not gone earlier even though we have been married for five years. Just your basic procrastination and fear, as well as a lack of funds. The plane tickets alone cost $2500.

Though I had never been there, I have known since I met my husband that I wanted to live in his country. I have known that just a visit there would change my life. …

H F Sylaj

HF Sylaj writes about anything weird: history, religion, her own life. She lives in WI where she knits socks and talks to plants.♡h.f.sylaj@gmail.com

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