I hope you enjoyed MMW’s Ramadan series this past month! If you missed any of the pieces, go to this post and scroll down to the bottom for a list of all of our Ramadan writings.
Of course, we weren’t the only ones writing about Ramadan. Below are excerpts from some of the other reflections on Ramadan by Muslim women this month. Please feel free to share your own favourites in the comment section!
We’ll start off with wood turtle – who, I’m excited to announce, has recently joined the MMW writing team! We’re looking forward to her first official MMW post in a few weeks.
During Ramadan, wood turtle wrote about the challenges of making time for Ramadan while breastfeeding and taking care of her two young daughters:
“I spent the first week of Ramadan desperately trying to keep the babies quiet so the fasters could eat their date and pray the sunset prayer in peace. Then I’d pray after everyone started their iftaar— trying to concentrate on whatever peacefulness I could muster while attending to both girls. It was terribly isolating.
It’s hard feeling like you’re actually praying and not just going through the motions when you constantly have to keep your hyper toddler from smothering the baby. It’s hard practicing Ramadan when you’re not actually fasting.”
She also wrote a response to a Muslim Matters post on moms and Ramadan, this one addressed to feminist dads:
“I know how much pain it causes you to leave your wife behind at home, taking care of your children, while you and everybody else enjoys their taraweeh prayers at the mosque. I know how much you miss your family, and yearn for the day you can all grow in the deen together by enjoying the warmth and identity that comes with worshiping as a family in an inclusive mosque.
But I also know how embarrassing it is for you to bring your wife and children to the mosque, with the great hope that they will be welcomed — only to hear about the indignity they suffered after being forced to pray in a small, cramped room with other women and children. That while you enjoyed the gorgeous chandeliers, domed windows, and gold calligraphy in a large, air-conditioned room with other men, your wife had wet Cheerios flicked onto her hijab by an unruly 3-year-old, your young daughter sweated and cried for fresh air and your son ran around with other children screaming and disrupting any semblance of peace and tranquility that is always destroyed when women and children are hidden behind barriers and forgotten in basements.”
Dear Muslim Mothers, you are the means by which Allah exercises His creation. You are the Prophet’s modern day vessel, interpreting hadiths in your lessons and warnings.
I want to tell you that…
… that you are part of the historic women in our faith. You are to me, among the ranks of the wives and daughters of the Prophet (pbuh). You are my mother, joining the foremothers – Aisha, Khadija, Zaynah, Fatimah and Maryam… even Eve. The pathmakers were not alone in their successes nor in their struggles and so I do allow her to take the blame alone.
… I am sorry you have been relegated to Eid Salaat alone on the mornings that the men went to masjid. I know you wanted to go and the excuse was that you take too long. The truth is, his piety was an excuse for being too lazy to help you.
… I regret that the divine breath that created both my father and you, has been altered with excuses for your relegation and marginalization… from walls outside of the masjid to the musky basements within it’s four walls.
… I dare to say the azaan under my breath because I believe there ought to be room for us for taraweh. So that you can proudly bring your grandchildren into the masjid without shame, guilt or the need for curtains to separate them from their grandfather.
… Your womb, your uterus, your breasts, your hormones, my success, how much or little you cover do not make you or measure your piety – it is your imaan.
At altmuslim, Aaron Vlek writes about spending Ramadan “in solitary”:
“I’m a female Muslim convert with no family or community masjid, and whose Muslim homies are scattered around the globe and accessible only through Facebook. I’m kind of a solitary soul anyway, so most of the time that’s okay. But during Ramadan, the loneliness hits home like at no other time. I hear about all the wonderful iftars and then wander off to the kitchen to make my solitary fare or go out to one of the halaljoints for an iftar buffets and watch everybody having the times of their lives.
But there’s more to it than that. While missing out on the community and the reality checks that only other Muslims can provide, I navigate the mysteries of fasting and give more focused attention to Quran and hadith and the intellectual components of a shared faith. There is no missing out on the unique personal trials that come with the holy month where, Alhamdulillah, no Muslim is left behind and where Allah makes certain everybody gets their share.”
Also at altmuslim, Nasia Ullas speaks out against the “all or nothing attitude” that some Muslims adopt with regards to religious practice:
“As kids, my mother instructed me and my brother to pray the Maghreb (sunset) prayer daily on time. (The five prayers aren’t obligatory on children.) She did this to instill a habit in us not to forget the prayers. We also automatically transitioned to the five prayer schedule as we grew older, without my mother pushing us to do it.
I may or may not be right to recommend this method to adults, but I am going to. For those of you who feel they have wronged so much that they have no way back, or for those of you, who haven’t prayed for the last 10-15 years, you need baby steps. Don’t always go by the “ALL or NOTHING” rule. Starting with one prayer a day and then gradually increasing to five is definitely better than staying away altogether.
You may be laughed at by few, who might say, “Oh, when did you turn religious?” You may even be lectured by a few of those know-it-all religious pundits who say, “Five is fard (obligatory). There is no use doing just one.” But, I still recommend the gradual approach.”
And at fieryfury, occasional MMW guest contributor Maheen shares some Ramadan reflections prompted by her return home to visit her family:
“I often think about my grandparents who have passed away. My maternal grandfather passed away 21 years ago and my maternal grandmother passed away almost about 9 years ago. I think how my mother lives without them in her life? I wonder how my father lives without his dad, who passed away 4 years ago. Our time on this earth is limited, we are bound to each other in relationships of love and nurture. We deem ourselves incomplete, and incapable of living without one another, yet life stops for no one. It continues its vicious cycle of living. Time flows seconds into minutes into hours, into days into weeks into years into decades into centuries. We all come to this world, and leave. When we leave, we cause pain to those we leave behind. At those moments life seems impossible to live, yet we too find the strength and the will to continue living. First we miss our loved ones every waking moment of our lives, then it becomes every other day, slowly, we miss them on happy occasions, or remember them on the day they passed away. Those people who were once crucial to our very survival , their memories start to fade and they become a distant, hazy image in our heads. Everyone around adjusts and makes themselves a little more comfortable in the space those loved ones once occupied. There remains no empty or extra space.”
What did I miss? Please post your favourite Ramadan writings from this year in our comment section!