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Fasting for Ramadan

Tupelo Press, 2011
193 pages, 5 x 8"
$19.95, Paperback, 978-1-932195-94-1
$29.95, Clothbound Gift & Library Edition, 978-1-936797-03-5

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From the publisher: Kazim Ali's searching descriptions of the Ramadan sensibility and its arduous but liberating annual rite of communal fasting is sure to be a revelation to many readers — intellectually illuminating and aesthetically exhilarating. Fasting for Ramadan is structured as a chronicle of daily meditations, during two cycles of the 30-day rite of daytime abstinence required by Ramadan for purgation and prayer. Estranged in certain ways from his family's cultural traditions when he was younger, Ali has in recent years re-embraced the Ramadan ritual, and brings to this rediscovery an extraordinary delicacy of reflection, a powerfully inquiring mind, and the linguistic precision and ardor of a superb poet. 


"Kazim Ali—a writer whose powers astonish in everything he puts pen to—has made in Fasting for Ramadan a book that is hybrid, peregrine, and deeply, quietly revelatory. Ali’s meditations on the month-long ritual fast unfold, across cultures and spiritual practices, the deep meaning of a chosen foregoing. These journal-born pages are both intimate and public, at once ecumenical, particular, daily, and eloquently learned; planted on the deep roots of tradition, they breathe this moment’s air. Is it possible for a work to be at once modest and an undeniable tour de force? This book proves: it is."
—Jane Hirshfield, poet and essayist, author of Given Sugar, Given Salt and Nine Gates

"Kazim Ali's Fasting for Ramadan is an intimate journey through thirty days of fasting. Like a flower wilting in a dry pot, Ali's body grows weary without food and water. But as the days go on some other form of sustenance takes over to revive and replenish him, propelling him forward so that he ends the month is a very different place than where he began. This book is more than just a simple account of spiritual hardship. It's an incisive look at what it really means to be Muslim in today's world, essential for anyone interested in understanding the multicultural fabric of America and of the Muslim community that exists here."
—Samina Ali, novelist, author of Madras on Rainy Days

"Fasting for Ramadan is a remarkable book: an intensely personal meditation — shot through with poetry, philosophy, revelation, and doubt — on one of the world's great spiritual practices."
—Toby Lester, Atlantic contributing editor and author of The Fourth Part of the World

"[A]n important book…. Written 'in that third voice, a voice between two people, neither one nor the other, neither embodied nor disembodied.' I have wanted to know what fasting in Islam involves…to admire its intentions and effects in solitude…. I hope that multitudes will find their way to [this book]."
—Fanny Howe, author of The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation and Radical Love

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