Palestinian Female Dabke Dancers. Source:

Wala dalouna w ala dalouna…I’m sure you’ve heard those catchy lyrics at Arab weddings and in various Palestinian folk songs and chants. You’re probably finishing the rest of the song at this point. The phrase ala dalouna came to be when builders and villagers used to form a line and join hands to stomp cracked mud into place when the weather damaged the roofs of their houses. This patching work was done to prevent rain from seeping in on stormy days. The joint effort needed to achieve this communal task is ta’awon (cooperation), from which the Arabic word awneh (help)…

Across the Arab world, I hear the same distinctive sounds; the instrumental melodies are strikingly identical in emotive strength, tonal tone, and rhythmic drive. Although there are variations, the sounds belong to one group of people. Many of the instruments used in the Middle East are from the strings, percussion, and winds families. In Palestine, some traditional musical instruments include the mijwiz, shebbabeh, yarghool, rababeh, nay, buzuk, qanun, tabla, and oud.

Mijwiz: An ancestor to the Scottish bagpipe, the mijwiz is a woodwind instrument with bamboo double-pipes and a single-reed. Hence, the Arabic meaning “dual”. Every pipe has five to…

Deeply rooted in Palestinian folklore, Palestinian handicrafts have always been living examples of their national identity. They reflect the steadfastness and ingenuity of the Palestinian people and are a crucial part of their cultural treasure.

Handmade woven straw trays:

Handweaving is a ritual heritage common amongst rural communities in the north of the West Bank today. The handwoven tray that my grandmother used to serve meals on to her guests is symbolic of the utmost hospitality that encompasses Palestinian culture. We also use it as wall decor or make them into practical items such as baskets, trays, and containers. …

The Significance, Virtues, and Making the Most of Laylat al-Qadr

Photo by Mehmudah Rehman on

The last ten nights of Ramadan are the most majestic ones. Laylat al-Qadr or the Night of Power commemorates the night that God sent the Holy Quran down from the seventh level of Heaven to the first. From there, it was placed in a special chamber called Bayt al-`Izzah or The House of Honor. Thenceforth, it was revealed by angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) over twenty-three years.² Historically, this event symbolizes the magnificence and the finality of the revelations. God told this when He said: “Almighty, We revealed it on the Night of Power” (al-Qadr).¹ He said, “The month…

Personal opinion essay

Photo by T Foz on Unsplash

Ramadan is nothing like it used to be. The most spiritual time of year for Muslims has changed from a holy month to a thirty-day Superbowl. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, sexual relations, and impure speech and behavior between dawn and sunset. This Ramadan will be a humble one for many observers who are social distancing. There won’t be any extravagant dinner parties to distract them from the primary goal of Ramadan: to attain Taqwa (God-consciousness) and get closer to our natural state (Fitrah) through the instrument of fasting and worshiping Allah (God). This year, Ramadan comes amid…

Tasneem Ibrahim

Thinking out loud. Palestinian American. Avid reader. Curious.

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