Ramadan is a time for Muslims to fast and pray. But for the women it’s also a time to manage stress as they take on more responsibilities as mothers and caregivers.
“It does get a bit hectic and tiring, but the contentment and happiness that I get when I sit down [at] the table with the family and eating our favourite foods, that moment is priceless,” said Hina Tareq, a mom with a full-time job who lives in Halifax.
Tareq is the first one to wake up for Suhoor, which is a meal that Muslims have as early as 4 a.m. to sustain them for the rest of the day.
She prepares a meal for her husband and eight-year-old son, cleans afterward, goes to work and then comes back home to quickly prepare a meal for Iftar to end their fast.
Making time for prayer
“I would say your time management and organization skills have to kick in because once you’re back from work you don’t have ample of time that you have for prayers as well as cooking a meal,” said Tareq.
“So, like me, I’m sure a lot of women most likely prepare in advance prior to Ramadan. This way we wouldn’t spend all our time in the kitchen.”
Tareq is already preparing in advance for the start of Ramadan on Monday.
Rahma Mohamed is a mother of three children and a self-published author living in Edmonton. She said mothers who work and have young children have a hard time dealing with not being able to pray, or not being able to attend the night prayers, because they’re running a household.
Creating a ‘virtual sisterhood’
At the start of every Ramadan, Mohamed felt anxious, so to help herself and other women focus on worshipping more she co-authored ‘Ramadan For Us Prep Program.’ It is an an e-book that provides methods, meals and strategies to help mothers and busy women make more time for themselves.
“Some of what we recommend is while cooking could you also be listening to some lectures? Could you perhaps take two weeks off from work to focus on your Ramadan? Or could you cancel all your kids extracurricular activities so that you have less to do?” she said.
The digital program was published in May and costs $50. The co-authors also formed a Facebook group for Muslim women to join so that they can all go through Ramadan together.
“I think it’s just this virtual sisterhood that we’re creating,” said Mohamed.
‘This way they won’t feel guilty’
The e-book also provides easy and quick food recipes provided by the co-author, Idil Farah, a nutritionist living in Toronto.
“It’s difficult to constantly be able to come up with ideas for meals and especially in Ramadan, where it’s a time for feasting and eating comforting food, so I wanted to share ways to give them a healthy alternative,” said Farah.
She focused on creating recipes that need no more than six or seven ingredients so that women will have more time focusing on their spirituality.
“This way they won’t feel guilty or feel like they’re not nourishing their family and they’re able to perform all the roles they have without compromising any of it,” Farah said.
Encouraging men to share the responsibility
Both of the co-authors also encourage husbands and partners to help out.
“My husband is very co-operative, very helpful, because he sees that I’m a working woman and that I’m trying to manage things at home,” said Tareq.
Imam Ibrahim Alshanti of Al Barakah Mosque in Halifax says men need to clean and cook, too.
“We have to say it clearly it’s not the responsibility of the lady only to take care of the house work,” said Alshanti.
“We are not back home where most of the ladies are staying at home, some of the women here work and study so the men have to be sharing the responsibility.”
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