Muscat – Ramadan is a time for charity, forgiveness and introspection, allowing the faithful to be closer to Almighty Allah. However, ensuring one reaps the benefits of the month comes with challenges, even more so for women who are expected to fulfil their duties – towards their family and profession alongside their spiritual and religious obligations.
As Ramadan enters its 27th day, most women continue to successfully juggle their obligations in order to take full advantage of the spiritual opportunities of the month. Irrespective to being career women or housewives, women often find themselves in the kitchen for endless hours, exhausted when it’s time for Maghrib prayers.
From stocking the kitchen to preparing suhoor and iftar, taking care of children to cleaning the house, completing job obligations to performing ibadah… the expectations from women grow significantly during Ramadan, draining them of all their energy.
Describing her role as mother, wife and schoolteacher all rolled in one, Zaeema Khan said, “I have to dedicate my time and perform well in each one. During Ramadan, one has to perform extra prayers and give time to family as well.”
Zaeema’s routine during Ramadan is “quite challenging”. She goes to work at 7am after leaving her child at a creche. “My sleep is disturbed as my baby is just six months old. It’s difficult to wake up for suhoor and then again for school. I take a nap when I come back from work. This year, to be honest, I have kept several fasts without suhoor.”
Zaeema prepares everything in advance over the weekend. “I marinate the chicken, chop the vegetables and freeze these, keeping everything ready except for the last few steps of the preparation. My husband helps me a lot in house chores, not only during Ramadan, but on normal days as well,” she says gratefully.
Samah Saif al Rahbi, a private sector employee, also finds it difficult to manage house and office work during Ramadan. So she plans meticulously in advance. “I go to work at 8am and come back at 2pm. I quickly clean the house and bring back my daughter from my mother’s house. After a bit of rest, I start preparing for iftar. I can go for taraweeh prayers only on weekends as I have to take care of my daughter.”
According to Samah, Ramadan is a month which Muslims dedicate to Allah – a month for prayer and devotion. “The purpose of fasting is to develop taqwa (God-consciousness) and to recognise and sympathise with those who are less privileged and do not have the luxury of three meals per day, while also taking care of your home and office.”
(Contributed by Deeba Parween)