Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 2: The Sinful Sisters

"Dear fasting sister! Beware of the Ramadan bandits! Beware of those who eagerly wait for the advent of this month so that they can steal people’s minds and attract their attention"

"As soon as Ramadan is about to start, many satellite television channels begin competing with one another for the shows that they will present. They broadcast “Ramadan Shows” that in reality have nothing to do with the spirit of Ramadan or the acts of worship during this month."


"Dear fasting sister! Beware of frequent visits to malls and marketplaces during this month, especially during the last ten days. Try not to leave your house except when you have to. Beware of extravagance and exaggeration in food and drinks."


(Source: http://www.muslimsofcalgary.ca/data.php?s=5&action=3&id=1303&ts=43)


Upon reading the article, of which there are snippets above, readers get the impression that during Ramadan, women love to gossip, watch fake Ramadan shows on satellite television, eat and sleep a lot, and waste their time doing nothing or paying attention to things that do not matter.

Of course *forehead slap*, how could I have forgotten that women are the only ones that are guilty of such sins during Ramadan?? While the men are all busy at work, the women have nothing to do lest waste their time dilly-dallying around their house and malls, or texting friends about the latest gossip.


Such attempts at "preparing" women for Ramadan, in my eyes, fall flat on their faces and fail. Is this what the 21st Century Islam looks like? Writing posts that chastise women to stop performing stereotypical sins? I would have been much more OK with the post had there been an equivalent "Dear Fasting Brother"...which was nowhere to be seen.


Here's my version of what it would read:


"Dear fasting brother! Beware of thou repeated requests for multiple curries with which to break thou fast! Do not impose on thou wife more than she can bare, as she is already handling multiple duties in the house and has been taking care of children all day, and lo! she needs energy to focus on her own fasting and spirituality."


"Dear fasting brother! Beware of the lures of the internet and mindless surfing from when you arrive home at 6:00pm until five minutes before the breaking of thou fast! Beware of the lure of television with all its sinful moving images! Set firm boundaries on both these activities, lest thy fall into sin!"


Now, THAT'S what I'm talking about! Stereotypical? I can do that.


Here's another blog I read yesterday, again pointing fingers at women for falling into these traps when MEN could just as easily be found guilty:


http://hidayasisters.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/20-common-mistakes-made-during-ramadan/


With points such as "eating too much", "sleeping all day" and "fasting but not giving up evil", these are easily applicable to men. I am not sure what is some Muslim's fascination with pointing fingers at women as if they make or break the Ummah's Ramadan?! Why can't we be fair and write gender neutral entries that are encouraging, such as Imam Khalid Latif does for the Huffington Post, rather than pin point on stereotypical points?


In the same entry above, I also disagree with the author stating that a woman's reward for fasting is severely reduced if she does not don the hijab. AGAIN, we are assuming that women who wear hijab are more pious than those who don't, their intentions are always pure, and their level of spiritual attainment is at the right place to reap maximum Ramadan points. Let's not discourage those who are struggling through their own jihad (or who are perfectly fine with where they are at!) by now saying they have been deducted points. We do not speak for Allah, and need to take more of a positive stance rather than being Muslim grumps about this issue. I am guessing that there is a LARGE majority of Muslim women all around the world who do NOT don the hijab. Are you now speaking for Allah when you say that their fasts are not valid? I would certainly hope not.


So yes my fellow readers, let's stop acting like we're back in pre-Islamic times by placing the focus and blame on how Muslim women supposedly corrupt Ramadans. Let's do what we're supposed to be doing this time of year and ensure that we treat everyone with the same positive and level-playing field that they deserve to be treated with.


And Allah knows best. 


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