Ramy Recap: Dogs Are Haram


a blanket on the television

Season 3

Episode 9

Editor’s Rating

5 stars


a blanket on the television

Season 3

Episode 9

Editor’s Rating

5 stars

Photo: Hulu

As season three of Ramy winds down, the drama and devastation are ramping up. The last episode left us with the death of poor Boomer, and now Ramy is dealing with the consequences. In fact, all of the men are going through it in this episode as they try to figure out who they are and what’s at stake for them. All the characters, especially Ramy and Naseem, are forced to come to terms with reality, facing some of their issues head on.

Farouk is back in America, trying desperately to come home with some news of success. He even stops off at some random guy’s house to hear about his solar-panel business idea before heading home from the airport just so he can bring back good news to Maysa and feel like less of a failure.


Naseem is with another one of his sugar babies, who’s popping a PrEP pill, which Naseem has never heard of because he tries so hard to not be a part of the queer community. Naseem’s ignorance goes even further when he starts freaking out and asking if the guy has AIDS. At one point in the conversation, Naseem shouts, “I’m not gay!” as if the man he found on a sugar-baby app is going to believe that. After the man leaves, Naseem finds him on Instagram, and it turns out he’s friends with Dena. So now Naseem is ultraparanoid. He goes to the jewelry store and asks Ramy where Dena is, and Ramy doesn’t know, but he tells his uncle that Boomer died.

“Dogs are haram anyway,” says Naseem.

And now we’re with Ramy, who, like his dad and uncle, is not okay. He basically killed his dog — the dog that Zainab’s father, his short-time mentor, told him to take care of in season two. Boomer was meant to be his teacher. Zainab’s father told Ramy that if he could be more like Boomer, he’d be on the right path. But Ramy couldn’t do it, and that must have been the last straw because now, finally, he’s seeking help. After work, Ramy goes to a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting. He’s been self-destructing for so long now and bringing everyone down with him that it was such a relief to see him finally admit he has a problem.

At the meeting, Ramy shares that he’s hurt a lot of people, and he doesn’t know who he is anymore. He wanted to be a good person, but every time he tried, he was worse because he was never himself. He would go to the mosque and try to tell them what he was going through, but they didn’t want to hear what he had to say. And then he found a teacher — Zainab’s father — but that didn’t work out either, as we know. He tells the group his parents aren’t happy. He thought that he wanted to be like them and that they were normal, but as he got older, he realized they weren’t, and he was just like them. Religion is making it only worse. His parents say they believe in God, but they’re just anxious about God, and so is he.

“I fucked up Palestine, you know?” he says. “Like, that’s on me. That’s what it feels like.”

I really loved this scene because it’s the most honest Ramy has ever been, and it’s the first time he takes accountability. In the past, he always made himself out to be a victim. He was doing all these bad things and hurting people, but everything was always about him in the end. This episode really shows Ramy’s growth over the past few years. He’s finally realizing he’s made some pretty bad mistakes has hurt a lot of people. It feels as though he’s ready to take accountability.

Meanwhile, Naseem is still spiraling. He gets to Farouk and Maysa’s house and immediately rips the Ring camera off the door. Then he goes inside and puts a blanket over the TV and starts shouting for Dena. Farouk and Maysa come downstairs and tell him they’re about to meet Dena for dinner at Peking Palace. After some nonsensical back-and-forth bickering with Naseem, the whole family goes to dinner.

Ramy arrives late after his meeting and doesn’t eat, but he insists on paying. Farouk fights him on it, and Naseem joins in until they’re all physically fighting over who will pay in the middle of this Chinese restaurant, as Maysa, Dena, and Shadi look on in horror. The scene feels like some kind of feeble attempt on all their parts to prove their masculinity when they’re at their most insecure. Farouk is trying to show he can afford the check and feed his family. Naseem is trying to prove he’s a real man, and somehow in his mind, paying the check will prove he’s not gay. And Ramy is on a perpetual mission to prove to himself and everyone else he’s a good person.

But then things really escalate when Naseem pulls a gun and threatens to kill Ramy.

“Shoot me,” Ramy says, instigating his uncle. It’s a shocking moment in which we see Ramy really doesn’t care if he dies. He has nothing to lose anymore, as his life has really just hit rock bottom. Finally, though, Naseem puts the gun down and demands that Dena go talk to him outside.

“Am I like a hostage right now?” she asks.

Maysa yells at her to go talk to Naseem because she’s good at talking, and anyway, he always has a gun, so Maysa isn’t worried.

“Go, therapy,” she says to Dena.

Outside, Naseem is losing it. He tells Dena, who is very confused at this point, that her friend Azam is a liar. They didn’t even have sex, and he was just a sugar baby. Finally, everything clicks for Dena, and just as she’s about to ask her uncle if he’s gay, he interupts and says he’s not. At that point, Naseem is crying, and as bad and problematic of a person he is, the scene is kind of heartbreaking. He’s never been honest with anyone like this before, and of everyone in the family, Dena is certainly the best person to come out to.

“It doesn’t stop, it doesn’t stop,” he says. “It fucks everything. I don’t understand. It pesters inside of me. I don’t know what it is. It’s not me, but it controls all of me.”

In an effort to connect, Dena opens up to him about how she never took the bar, and suddenly, the nice moment comes to an end when Naseem, who is pleased to hear this news, tells her it’s a sign from Allah that her destiny is to become a wife and mother.

Throughout the series, Naseem is mainly comic relief. He’s racist and sexist and says all the wrong things, but somehow the show is so good at making us feel for him when it focuses on his interior life and insecurities, even if it’s just for a moment. Laith Nakli is very convincing as Naseem. He’s great at switching from the comic to the serious in the blink of an eye.

In the final scene of the episode, Ramy visits Dennis in jail to break the news about Boomer. Before Dennis was arrested last season, Boomer was everything to him. Now he wears a taqiya, an Islamic skullcap, and has a full beard. He joined the brotherhood — not the Muslim Brotherhood, just a brotherhood of Muslims.

“Dogs are haram,” he pantomimes when Ramy tells him the news.

Ramy is shocked Dennis doesn’t care since Boomer once meant so much to him. (I was shocked, too!) Dennis then asks what’s going on with Zainab and “the little one.” Apparently, Zainab has been visiting with the baby, which Ramy knows nothing about. This episode seems to have been all about honesty, and the secrets are spilling. I can’t wait to see how the finale brings everything together.

• In Islam, if you touch a dog or if a dog licks you, you have to do wu’du before praying because it means you’re not clean. Muslims do wu’du (ablutions) between prayers if they’ve used the bathroom, had sex, or touched a dog. But for some reason, many Muslims believe having a dog, or even interacting with a dog, is a sin. Arab countries often have a stray-dog problem because no one wants to deal with them. But the idea that dogs themselves are haram is nonsense. Dogs are not haram, and both my Muslim parents have dogs. Unfortunately, it’s a common misinterpretation of a random rule, so Ramy definitely got that aspect of the culture right.

• When Ramy is at the sex addicts’ meeting, he says, “My problem killed my dog,” and everyone looks at him, kind of disturbed. He quickly adds, “No, I didn’t fuck my dog.” One person goes, “Thank God.” Even in the serious, more heartfelt moments, Ramy does a really good job of adding a touch of humor.

• When Naseem covers the TV with a blanket because, according to him, there are cameras in the TV, Maysa asks, “Is that for Boomer?” Farouk asks if it’s his way of telling them to mourn for 40 days, as is required in Islam. Maysa, though, says it’s 40 divided by 7 because of dog years, of course.

• At dinner, Shadi asks Farouk about the girl he life coached because she’s been giving Farouk rave reviews. But Farouk says he can’t share her business. Nice to see he’s sticking to his promise of confidentiality.

• Before the sugar baby leaves, he tells Naseem his commercial is the gayest thing he’s ever seen, and has Naseem seen the comments? Naseem immediately checks the comments on the video, and they are hilarious. Every single one implies he’s gay. They call him a bear, they make memes, and one person wrote, “We stan a beefy queen.” Absolutely incredible.

Ramy Recap: Dogs Are Haram

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