There is an elephant in the room we need to talk about. Our treatment of women. Yes,our.
We all have something to do in improving the lives of women. Men get called out for ill treatment (not nearly as frequently as they should) but we often ignore the roles some women play in entrenching this scourge.
Since this is a big issue that is ongoing, let’s restrict this post to particular problems associated with Ramadhan.
When you single out daughters and sisters for all the housework and forget that they are fasting too, you are not being a good Muslim. Especially for some households where women must work so the family can survive. The Prophet(peace be upon him) enjoined us to make life easy for others and not difficult.
Many female relatives already take it as their roles without question to serve their family and generally manage the home. Most times, this is a thankless task. More acutely felt when these same chores are well paid for and much more appreciated when they are sourced commercially or come from others outside the home.
Please don’t treat your wives and other women in your family like slaves. Infact, in the 7th century when slavery was widespread in almost every land on earth,our Prophet (peace be upon him) led by example and treated them with kindness and fairness and made manumission(setting free) an act of Ibaadah. Many former slaves went on to take on great roles in Islamic history. A notable one we are familiar with is the first muadhin- Abyssinian companion Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him). “Even if you dislike her, be good to her”
Imagine how some men treat their womenfolk. You shout at them because Iftar is not ready, you pressure them to make feasts and do not care to get them help.
Say dhikr with her. Recall the hadithwhere the Prophet taught his daughter words of temembrance ehrn she came To ask him for a servant to ease her strain. Tell her nice words of encouragement and appreciation and please do not complain when she has gone to great lengths to get things done. Give her excuses e.g she couldn’t taste it as she is fasting too.
Let us stop demanding for perfection from only one half of our society. Boys and girls should be taught to be so good at their different but equally important roles so they grow up to become men and women that complement each other.
Don’t you think she would like to break her fast on time too? Some husbands would not release housekeeping funds on time or plan ahead with whatever income they have. Why not make things easier? Plan together. Allah has made you a leader not a tyrant. Be just and you would get that respect,love and appreciation easily. Communicate with them. Discuss ways to improve on the faults you may have noticed without being vindictive. Don’t allow them miss Salah because they are serving you. Even in heated situations try and be the mature one. When it’s all settled, this is the person that shines.
The Prophet used to wake his family for Tahajjud. Nowadays we wake our family to cook elaborate Sahurs and have them jostle to get a bite and meet Fajr by the hairs. Make it easier for them to partake in Tarawih, Quran recitation etc. Ramadhan is already a very difficult time for many women. Don’t be a burden.
To my sisters in Iman, keep going strong. Don’t stop learning new and effective ways to conserve time, energy and other resources. As you juggle Ibaadah, work, school, illness, travel,childbirth, periods, caring for the children, sick relatives, old parents, neighbours, etc this special month, may Allah ease your affairs.
Let’s help each other achieve goodness in this world and be partners in Jannah.