What would a wholistic female piety look like?

As in, female piety that doesn’t inhibit or prevent women from being complete human beings. That recognizes and celebrates women’s abilities to think, reason, create, feel, desire and love to the fullest extent of their abilities. I’ve been asking myself this question, and I really don’t know.

There seems to be something kind of haraam going on here, though I’m not exactly sure what…. Why is it that when I remember my former life as a wife and mother in a very conservative community, that this is what comes to mind? Can a pious woman own her own body??

Of course, I know what the conservative Muslim communities that I have been involved in or have otherwise encountered in the past would say. When it came to female piety, there was a sort of double-talk that constantly went on. The sameness of men’s and women’s ritual obligations—to pray five times daily, to fast in Ramadan, to pay zakat, to go on Hajj at least once—was stressed. Also, both men and women were often reminded of the importance of seeking to follow the Prophet’s example in praying extra prayers, fasting outside of Ramadan, giving in charity, doing dhikr and reciting the Qur’an.

But as some say, the devil is in the details. In reality, the details of fiqh of salat, fasting, pilgrimage, charitable giving, reading the Qur’an,… constantly remind women and men that they are not equal. And, lived practice in the communities that I was involved in underlined these inequalities even more sharply. Essentially, the fiqh plus the lived practices that I experienced helped to produce a situation in which the body of a woman was never, ever her own. It is never really under her control; unlike a man, she cannot be assured of being able to choose to engage in rituals, or to enter sacred space. And, her body was always at the disposal of others—her husband, of course, and her children, as well as to a lesser extent, relatives and guests. 24/7.

Nothing brought the internal contradictions of these ideas about female piety to the fore quite like Ramadan did. For me, anyway.

On one hand, we as women were obligated to fast just as men were, and we would start off the month listening to the sermons about how the devils are chained during this blessed month, and how every good deed that we did would be rewarded by God. We would be determined to pray tarawih every night, to recite the entire Qur’an through at least once, to make extra time for dhikr, and to stay up in the last ten nights, “looking” for Laylat al-Qadr.

But. As fertile women of child-bearing age, we were effectively put in the position of being at war with our own bodies. We dreaded the onset of menstruation, which would mean that we would lose days of fasting. We especially dreaded menstruating during the first few days of the month (then everyone would be starting the fast but us) or during the Eid (then we couldn’t perform the salat). But whenever our menses fell, we would not only miss fasts, but also tarawih prayers, and days of Qur’an recitation. And, we couldn’t go to the mosque.

We tried to stave off our menses through pregnancy and breast-feeding. So, even though Islamic law allows pregnant or breast-feeding women not to fast in Ramadan if it would be harmful to their or their babies’ health, we often tried to fast through pregnancies anyway. Because who cares about risking low birth weight when for once you have the chance of making it all the way through the month, fasting every single day?

Mind you, our “good” intentions (if fasting despite possible risks to the fetus in your womb can be called “good”) sometimes fell to the wayside, because fasting while pregnant or breast-feeding often made us really, really tired. Which was a serious problem, because Ramadan brought with it even more domestic obligations.

In Ramadan, dinner had to be ready precisely at fast-breaking time. Especially (ESPECIALLY) if there were guests. And cooking just any old food, like macaroni-and-cheese, or vegetable stew, was not acceptable, even if there were no guests that evening. (What, your husband has been fasting all day, and all you are going to set in front of him is a simple, one-pot meal??) You have to make some sort of finger food (meat pies, samosas), a nourishing soup, salad, a juice or yoghurt-based drink, rice, stew, preferably some kind of meat dish also, and a nice dessert. And tea and sliced fruit to follow.

In order for you to produce this spread, someone would have to go and shop for groceries. At least once a week. Since for years, neither I nor my best friend had cars, this meant that we would walk a couple of miles to the grocery store, pushing strollers and dragging our toddlers with us. We’d usually walk back as well. Pregnant, with our little kids, and our heavy bags of groceries. A sorry sight we made, I suppose. But no wonder we were a lot slimmer in those days. :-O

If guests were coming, then not only did the cooking have to be done, but the house had to be cleaned. And once the guests left, there would be even more cleaning to do. Especially if they too had little kids.

So, much of our day would be dedicated to dealing with the kids, preparing the fast-breaking meal, and cleaning. Unless we had been invited elsewhere to break fast—on one hand, that would be a bit of a break from cooking, but we would make a dish to take with us as a gift, and we would also need to bathe the kids, and find them (and us) something decent and reasonably new-looking to wear.

Before iftar, the food had to be ready to serve, and the kids kept under control. (Your poor husband has been fasting all day at work while you’ve been taking it easy at home—can’t you keep the kids quiet and give him a break, for a change? What sort of a neglectful wife and mother are you??) After iftar, the men would pray tarawih. Before I had kids, I would sometimes manage to join them (and I’d be the only woman present…) but after kids—forget it. We’d be cleaning up, putting the food away, and keeping the kids from bothering the men too much, and (if guests were present) hoping against hope that the guests would leave early enough that the kids could go to bed at a reasonable hour. Otherwise, we’d be facing overtired toddler-meltdowns. Sometimes, I would get the chance to pray tarawih by myself later on.

We tended to get to bed later than usual, what with guests (or being invited elsewhere), and over-excited kids, and more clean-up to do. And, we’d have to get up before dawn, in order to prepare sahoor and pray fajr. But sleep-deprived or not, “wifely duties” and babies’ nighttime feedings are facts of life in Ramadan as well.

Somehow, we would try to find the time to pray extra prayers, do dhikr, and recite the Qur’an every day, in the midst of all that. By the end of the first week, things would be starting to fall apart. We were exhausted. And guilty about being exhausted, and about not having managed to do all the prayers and recitations that we had begun the month intending to do.

With the arrival of the last ten nights, our hopes would rise. We would do extra prayers and Qur’an recitations, and make up for all those that we hadn’t been able to do thus far. We would manage to finish reciting the Qur’an after all! And we’d stay up looking for Laylat al-Qadr. Maybe we’d manage to happen upon the time when prayers are granted, or we might even be given new insights into heavenly mysteries.

Well, sort of. Even if periods didn’t strike, then there was another problem—Eid was fast approaching. Which meant more shopping, more cooking, sewing new clothes for the kids (and perhaps self), house-cleaning…. Any spare time for worship was even more scarce. We’d try. But we’d fail. Inevitably.

I remember one year that I was determined to do i’tikaf, even for 24 hours, during the last ten days of Ramadan. I had read about female Companions doing it, and about how meritorious it is. But I soon found out that in my community, only men do it. Why? Because (I was told) i’tikaf is done in the mosque, and it’s not appropriate for a woman to stay in the mosque for such a long stretch of time, especially not overnight. But (I asked) can’t women do i’tikaf in their homes? (I had read that they can and should.)  I was basically laughed at by the knowledgeable “brother” who told me that i’tikaf has to be done in the mosque for it to count.

But nothing daunted, I decided that I would do it at home by staying in a corner in the bedroom, reciting the Qur’an, doing dhikr, and performing as many rak’ats as possible. I made the vow, and informed my husband that this is what I was going to do. So, I managed to spend a couple of hours in i’tikaf… and then a bunch of guests came over. Men and women socialized separately, of course, so the woman and her three active little kids came into the bedroom. Where else would they have gone in a tiny one-bedroom apartment?? She thought I was nuts. I could see that i’tikaf wasn’t going to be possible. And that I would have to expiate my vow. I’d have to fast three additional days.

So, Eid would arrive. We’d go to Eid prayers, chanting the takbirat in whispers behind our hands (because our voices are awrah), and sitting in the Sisters’ section behind the barrier, trying in vain to hear at least some of the sermon over the noise made by fussing children and socializing women. When we did manage to hear anything of the sermon, it would be along the lines of, “Praise God, we have had such a wonderful month devoted to worship and good deeds! We should feel really blessed! And we need to keep up the momentum! Let’s not fall into the all-too-common trap of practicing our religion properly in Ramadan, but letting it go the rest of the year. We need to work on retaining these good habits that we have developed—praying more, giving more in charity, reading the Qur’an regularly….”

And we’d spend Eid day trying to make it enjoyable for the kids and our husbands and the inevitable guests… and all the while, there’d be this haunting feeling of failure. Again. We hadn’t managed to experience these blessings that the sermon-preachers had spoken of. We hadn’t formed wonderful new habits of engaging in extra acts of worship. My husband and his friends had prayed tarawih every night, had read lots of Qur’an, and had regularly engaged in serious adult conversation about religious topics at iftars. They had stayed up for at least one of the last ten nights, seeking Laylat al-Qadr. I hadn’t managed to do much of any of that. Even if I’d managed to get a worship routine going for a week or so, then menses or kids or husbandly demands or guests (or all of the above) would throw a spanner into it. Nor had I managed to be anything close to the ideal-Ramadan-wife-and-mother-and-host.

Looking back, I am struck by how the whole thing was set up, in my community (and especially, in my marriage) so that the men would finish Ramadan with a feeling of success, while women—especially harried young mothers—were much more likely to finish it feeling that they had failed somehow. To say nothing of feeling exhausted, and put-upon. Fasting men were to be catered to by women, but who catered to fasting women? But pointing that out would have been seen as me admitting that I am extremely selfish and individualistic. Meaning, that I supposedly am a stereotypical “Western woman.” The worst thing that there is to be. The alleged opposite of the pious Muslim woman.

But (I can hear those men-speaking-with-god’s-voice voices now): Sister, you are misunderstanding things! Women aren’t blamed for not being able to fast during their menses. That they are exempted from fasting is just God’s mercy. And women aren’t obligated to fast when they are pregnant either. If it made you seriously exhausted, then you probably shouldn’t have been doing it. And don’t you know—women are given innumerable rewards by God for pregnancy, child-birth, breast-feeding, caring for their children, serving and obeying their husbands, being hospitable to their husband’s guests…. Ramadan is full of opportunities for wives and mothers to gain merit. All they need is to have the intention to please God in all of their actions! And then God will inshallah reward them accordingly.

Yes, we heard this sort of thing for years. And I for one certainly tried to believe it. I tried to tell myself that women’s religious path is different from men’s, that God would hopefully reward us for child-bearing and housework and trying to be good wives if we had the right intentions, that missing days of fasting due to menses was a mercy and meant that we would get more reward for making up those days without the psychological support of a fasting community…. And that if we women didn’t do all that cooking and domestic work, then what would Ramadan be like for everyone? Someone has to do it, after all. And babies need to be fed at 3 am, and husbands sexually satisfied, and if I don’t get up in a couple of hours and make sahoor then how would anyone manage to fast the day?

Translation: Women are prisoners of their biology. And a woman’s body—her labour power, her time, her energy, her attention, her sleep, her waking, her breasts, her vagina, her womb—is everyone’s but her own. A truly pious woman is reconciled to that, as God’s will. Her identity is summed up in her lack of boundaries, her permeableness.

In that world, for a woman to take control of her own body, to even think that it is her own to control, was an act of impiety. And of almost unthinkable selfishness.

Some of the less harshly patriarchal men-speaking-with-god’s-voice voices would say that our husbands ought to have been more understanding, and helped their wives more—that after all, this is the sunna of the Prophet. But at the same time, their teachings about marriage foster communities in which men feel entitled in ways that women just do not.

The long-term results seem to be very… well… long-term. I still can’t quite believe that I now control my body.  That I can control who has access to it, who can demand labour or time or presence from it. I am very grateful that this is the case. But at the same time, I remain aware that this power is allegedly impious, and the sadness of this awareness never leaves me. I wonder if it is possible to find an approach to piety that also enables women to be whole and dignified people. And if so, what it would look like.

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  1. #1 by x_x on August 1, 2012 - 2:56 am

    An antidote to the typical Ramadan blogs we’re getting. A fine antidote.

  2. #2 by xcwn on August 1, 2012 - 3:16 am

    x_x — Thank you. I hardly dare to ask what your Ramadans were like… something that doesn’t get blogged about either.

  3. #3 by MK on August 1, 2012 - 11:59 am

    Reading your past few posts had me thinking all manner of harsh thoughts about obnoxious men who seem to think the world revolves around them. What can be done in practical terms to bring about change?
    Many of these attitudes will not change until we as parents tackle the way boys are brought up–this in particular requires a major change in attitude (letting go of harmful gender stereotypes and certain cultural mores for starters) and at the same time just as crucial is the need to ensure that we champion our daughters and be their biggest supporters.
    Change is slow but it is happening and like you I too hope that subsequent generations will experience a ‘piety that also enables women to be whole and dignified people’.

  4. #4 by x_x on August 1, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    We did not socialize so much during Ramadan, so the pressure was not significantly different during that time than it was during other times. What you describe is what it felt like all the time, the pressure to do everything, be everything, in overwhelming circumstances in order to be properly pious. To be expected to do the impossible meant that when I would inevitably fail to meet these expectations, I had to choose to fail myself not others. This sentence struck me the hardest: “I could see that i’tikaf wasn’t going to be possible. And that I would have to expiate my vow. I’d have to fast three additional days.” Exactly. I would tie myself up in piety knots like that all the time. In failing myself, I failed in my commitment to God which, of course, required expiation.

  5. #5 by xcwn on August 1, 2012 - 2:31 pm

    MK–I am glad that some change is happening. This seems to be an instance of it taking a village to raise a child—maybe when communities stop facilitating and promoting male entitlement, then individual men will learn to adjust their behavior accordingly. After all, I doubt that these men behave at work the way that they do at home or in the mosque. If they did, they’d lose their jobs.

    x_x — Piety knots. That’s an interesting expression. But by trying to do i’tikaf, I wasn’t just trying to meet someone else’s pious standard that I had read about. I really did want to do things like that, and I was so sad when I couldn’t—and then so guilty for feeling frustrated about my inability to do all these pious things. Because of course, I had read that a truly pious person is always content with whatever God decrees, so if I’m frustrated, God must hate me. Though somehow, God doesn’t hate my (now-thankfully-ex) husband for acting like he’s the center of the universe.

    You put it well: “I had to choose to fail myself, not others.” Yes. Absolutely. I was always being put in that position. Except that I would usually manage to fail the others as well as myself, despite my best efforts. More to feel guilty about. And this feeling of always, always failing is like battery acid on your view of yourself. No self-respect survives.

  6. #6 by luckyfatima on August 1, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    So many thoughts on this. I read an article on Muslim Matters about stay at home moms the other day that just about had be ready to barf. Yet my fellow stay at home mom friends were passing it around on FB. I must say that my days are easier than what you describe, but I still feel that once a woman has kids, her Ramadans pale in comparison to that of women without kids and to any and all men’s Ramadans.

    First off, I have insulin resistance and hypoglycemia and take metformin. I actually was foolish enough to fast for many years and went on a blood sugar roller coaster every night. I fasted during one pregnancy, too. And felt proud of it. This year, I have not fasted at all. And I feel so much better for it, physically. I used to be hardly able to move by the end of the fast due to low blood sugar, then go into some jittery sugar shock state after breaking the fast and crave carbs all night. The weird thing is that there are tons of Islamic articles floating around online about how great fasting is for people with pre-diabetes (insulin resistance) and Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent). They say Ramadan is such a fabulous time to get that condition under control. (This is really brought under control by eating a diabetic style diet with limits on sugars, carbs, fruits, and spacing meals and small snacks about 3 hours apart all day long, and eating immediately after rising in the morning, the point being to keep your blood sugar stable all day long with out dips and spikes that allow the over surge of insulin.) But if you (I) were properly in control of your condition, you wouldn’t have the condition in the first place (unless you had had gall bladder surgery or something) and sending yourself on a blood sugar spike roller coaster during Ramadan is NOT gonna help control your condition. That is just crazy and medically unsound.

    But I digress. I will say that my husband and friends do not expect the high levels of food prep and servitude that were expected of you back in the day. But I have not gone to taraweeh more than a couple of times since having kids.

    Last week I was at an iftar and my friend called the men to eat. Then she sighed, “We cook all the food, but then the men eat first.” I just said, “We should always call the women to eat first.” (That is what we do at my house. I had also been at a larger community gathering a few days before that, and the women were called to make plates for their kids, then make their own plates, then the men made their plates last.) But I hate that somehow typically the man’s fast is seen as more important than the women’s lowly fast. I know that is “cultural, not Islamic,” but all of the other points you make above drive home that assignment of importance of men’s fasts above women’s.

  7. #7 by xcwn on August 1, 2012 - 3:09 pm

    luckyfatima—MuslimMatters… sigh. I’ve learned from experience that staying well away from that site is better for my mental health, to say nothing of my blood pressure.

    Fasting while insulin-resistant and hypoglycemic? Wow. Though, I suppose it’s no more insane than the things we fasted through. I’m glad you are feeling better this Ramadan.

    As for the idea that men’s fasts are more important as being “cultural” rather than “Islamic”—I don’t find this a terribly helpful way of looking at it. How can religion be separated from culture, anyway? Doesn’t everyone interpret religious texts and teaching through “cultural” lenses? How could they not?
    And the notion that men’s fasts are more important is part of a larger issue—the idea that men and everything they do is more important. And, as you know, some conservative Muslims quote certain well-known quranic verses and hadiths in order to argue that this is just the way God wants it. And other ritual practices, such as the set-up of space in the mosque, is also based on the same idea, that men’s prayers matter more, so they mustn’t be distracted by women.

  8. #8 by luckyfatima on August 1, 2012 - 4:19 pm

    Yes, I find the over-applied parsing of “cultural versus Islamic” to be problematic as well, which is why I put it in quotations. Agreed.

  9. #9 by Usman on August 1, 2012 - 5:10 pm

    Speaking as a male who grew up in a relatively egalitarian household in Pakistan my view is naturally going to be limited but I feel female piety is like any other domains of a woman’s life, where it can never be imbued with dignity when there is misogyny–whether it is sanctioned by religious interpretation, historic precedent, or other cultural construct that enables and perpetuates patriarchy. Sadly, I think, we will only be able to conceive of female piety filled with dignity when we live in a society that treats women with dignity and as equals in “secular” domains as well.

  10. #10 by Saliha on August 1, 2012 - 5:43 pm

    We never have guests more than twice during the month and we don’t usually visit others more than twice. I think one of the reasons I’ve always loved this month so much is because we’ve always made it very nuclear family oriented. My husband likes to cook, too and I’m not above a soup, salad and hummus dinner because neither of us has the energy to make big fancy something. I’d probably be divorced or married to a very unhappy man if I had the kind of husband that expected me to work twice as hard as him while fasting and still produce a multi-course meal at the end of the day. There are times when I enjoy making those kinds of meals during Ramadan, and I feel like that’s part of my service to God, but no one should feel obligated. I don’t even get up for suhoor. My husband is on suhoor duty.

    I think this is also one of those areas where the way people often lived “back home” vs the nuclear family model we often have here comes into conflict with traditions. If you live with or near a lot of extended family, there are probably a lot of female relatives to help with making those large meals that everyone eats together, so one woman doesn’t carry all the burden alone. It’s still unfair that men get to lounge around most of the day, but many hands do make lighter work.

    The Shi’a communities I’ve been in tend to be less concerned about details and we do love us some loopholes, so I’ve never felt getting a period during the month was a problem. Well, except that one year I got a period the first day of Ramadan and another one during the last few days. That sucked. I do think there are many ways we can separate culture from religion, but not in the puritan way we were taught to think of it in the 80s and 90s. Part of the solution is to develop a religious culture that doesn’t expect women to work twice as hard for the same reward.

  11. #11 by rootedinbeing on August 1, 2012 - 11:20 pm

    There is no such thing as piety, not from men or women. There are no pious people. There can be no approach to something that is mythical.

    It pisses me off how helpless and victimized us women can get, we’ve been so thoroughly groomed and conditioned in the “disease to please” that we lose all self-identity.

  12. #12 by xcwn on August 2, 2012 - 3:27 am

    Usman—I agree, misogyny is a major obstacle to women’s piety being dignified or wholistic.

    Saliha—Yes, in some cultures women work together to cook for Ramadan. I don’t know if this works to elevate women’s fasting, though. I suppose it depends on a number of factors.

    If women work twice as hard for the same reward, that would be something, at least. But what I more often experienced is that no matter how hard we worked, it was just never good enough. Men had the satisfaction of being able to feel that they had achieved something, but we didn’t.

    Rootedinbeing—Whether there are pious people, and whether their beliefs have any basis in reality are two separate issues. There are pious people in the world, objectively speaking. With many different belief systems, not all of which include belief in gods. What interests me here is how in the communities I was involved in, men’s piety affirmed them in so many ways, while women’s piety often did the opposite. I don’t think that is necessarily inevitable, but who knows. That was what happened, and that is what I am trying to unravel.

    You make an interesting point about myths… next post.

  13. #13 by amooozi on August 4, 2012 - 2:00 am

    I’m sorry to say that you hung out with real …. (.). I am happy you feel like you own your body (more) now. This yr I decided to spend ramadan in a muslim country, for the first time in over twenty yrs. Already … scream “it’s ramadan!!?!!” when they see my “non-pious” way of dressing. Also, if I’m out of home and there’s an adhan, men can pretty much roll up their prayer mats and pray along the road or whatever .. I have yet to see one single woman doing this. Also, I can’t just start praying like that out of the blue, I have to be completely covered or else I’m certain there would be more than yelling. The tipping point for me, was when I was at the market the other day and I told this guy I saw there that I wanted to go to one of the more famous mosques during my stay here. Mind you, this dude was a self-professed weed head, and he was all like “you know you can’t go dressed like that there bla bla bla”,,,and I was like, DUDE, you are a weed-head..but no one will ever yell “it’s ramadan!!!??!!!” at him in public. It’s like patriarchy tries to keep us from connecting with Her. … that.

  14. #14 by Yumna on August 4, 2012 - 4:26 am

    Reblogged this on And as she thinks… and commented:
    Something I discuss and think about hundred times in a day, but never get to write it down. It’s complex, yet a very important issue.

    Forgotten views and things which are being taken for granted. It’s a must read, every woman and a man!

  15. #15 by poetreearborist on August 4, 2012 - 5:54 am

    I love being single and a convert. I feel almost fearless in my quest for my place in the religious community where I live. When someone comes at me with their baggage. I say hey, that’s cultural. I don’t practice my religion that way. And I pity the man who would try to put me “in my place”. Ramadan Kareem my friends. May Allah swt reward you for your search. God is not hiding. God is nearer to us than our own breath.

  16. #16 by Mahamed on August 4, 2012 - 9:04 am

    Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah, XCWN – You have provided me with much food for thought. I was raised by women, my mother my aunts. These women were/are pious and with the kind of intelligence/fighting spirit/fierce dignity that would make you turn tail and run. Oppose them at your peril – they had a nasty habit of usually being right. I was raised to cook and clean just like my sister and looked after babies/younger kids regularly. Didnt help – sorry to say i was probably one of these men who ‘thought the world revolved around them’ guess i thought that the women who raised me were unique one-offs or something. But i find reading this blog that i have greatly understimated womankind in general a mistake i wont make any longer- you are thoughtful, intuitive, deeply intelligent/witty and every bit as individual as i am. You women are amazing people, I feel honoured to be sharing a planet with you. Wasalaam

  17. #17 by rootedinbeing on August 5, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    Piety: The quality of being religious or reverent.The quality of being dutiful.

    My view is that this idea of piety is mythical. The quality of being religious or dutiful is subjective. It has nothing to do with beliefs, but about how we judge a person’s quality of belief. There are no pious people in the world.

    I guess, for me, breaking out of that idea of piety is the only way for women to be free from this comparison between themselves and men. If we play within patriarchal rules and obligations we will ALWAYS lose. Your experience is not just a Muslim experience, but women’s experience. This is why women feel they must do all and be all. Have kids, work full time, keep an immaculate home, and have dinner on the table every night by 5pm. I think piety, in this context, is just a term used to express patriarchal norms. It is just another tool in the grooming process. If we never feel good enough we will always be trying, and not having time to sit back and think about anything other than how much we don’t measure up.

    It reminds me of the performance of beauty in non Muslim, western culture – and how women were viewed in 1950’s America.

    • #18 by xcwn on August 6, 2012 - 3:53 pm

      Rootedinbeing—Oh okay, I think I see where you are coming from.
      I don’t know if it is possible to manage being religious (or even “spiritual”…) without this ever-present sense of being watched and judged and found wanting by a patriarchal, judgmental community. Somehow, men seem to manage it. But women don’t seem to. At least, most women I have encountered don’t.
      On one hand, I can see the attraction of simply dumping it all as irredeemably patriarchal. On the other, I wonder why it is that men seem to be left owning everything by default. I do agree (most definitely) that when we play without patriarchal rules and obligations that we always lose. This is a game that is rigged against us.

  18. #19 by Keena on November 24, 2012 - 3:48 am

    Wow as im reading this im like aww man I cant fast tomorrow for Ashura! Lol

  19. #20 by rosalindawijks on April 6, 2014 - 9:18 am

    “I remember one year that I was determined to do i’tikaf, even for 24 hours, during the last ten days of Ramadan. I had read about female Companions doing it, and about how meritorious it is. But I soon found out that in my community, only men do it. Why? Because (I was told) i’tikaf is done in the mosque, and it’s not appropriate for a woman to stay in the mosque for such a long stretch of time, especially not overnight. But (I asked) can’t women do i’tikaf in their homes? (I had read that they can and should.) I was basically laughed at by the knowledgeable “brother” who told me that i’tikaf has to be done in the mosque for it to count.”

    That’s such a mean and nasty remark of that “brother”. First, one excludes women of sacred space. And then the WOMAN is mocked! La hawla wa la quwatta illa billah. (Because I’d rather pray then curse).

  1. Reblogged: I’m coming out of the purity closet | AntiDogmaSpray

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