Many of us are familiar with the verse in the Qur’an that is translated as, “It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them…” (Surat al Baqara, aya 187). There are workshops across the country dedicated to introducing, reviving, and strengthening the Islamic principles of marriage using the building block, “Hunna libaasun lakum wa antum libaasun lahunna.” What does it mean for my husband to be my garment and I his? Spouses are protectors of one another, they beautify each other, they elevate and provide a respectful presence for the other. They also cover flaws. There lies great beauty in this divine metaphor. Time and time again we encounter this imagery and without even realizing it, we divorce it from its greater context, confident in its ability to stand alone.
In the blessed month of Ramadan, however, let us try to sincerely contextualize it. You see, this verse was revealed within the verses that are dedicated to Ramadan. How much better can our Ramadan be if we focus on inculcating this metaphor within our homes? We think about our kids and giving them a memorable Ramadan. Rightly so, we think about the needy and how much we can possibly pinch out of our budget for charity. Our parched throats crave water and the pangs of hunger are difficult to subside. We strive physically and mentally and sometimes we lose steam. What a wonderful gift it would be to have a fresh garment acting as a shield- not from the forces of nature, but the forces of our very own desires. Husbands that push our comfort zones so we don’t sleep through sahoor and will occasionally forgo the masjid so their wives can taste the sweetness of taraweeh in congregation. Wives that encourage putting a little more inside the masjid donation box and limit the onslaught of food when it comes time to break the fast.
We are all capable of being these garments, fortifying the walls of our homes with the remembrance of Allah and beautifying each other with a kind word and smile. Be light with one another during this hot month of Ramadan. At the same time, be of strong enough material to protect against the desire so many of us experience of returning to our normal schedules (also known as “the mid-Ramadan dip”).
It’s a difficult task being a garment- flowing, ebbing, protecting, hiding. Sometimes we, as garments, do not fit right at all; we’re itchy, wrinkled, faded, tight, stained. But what’s beautiful about us is that we have an ability to change our measurements, our color, even our material. Let us strive to be beautiful garments that we ourselves would want to wear.
Marwa Aly is a mom to one affectionate daughter and currently resides in West Hartford, Connecticut. She prays that everyone is enjoying a blessed and fruitful Ramadan.