Recently, (mommy) blogger and activist extraordinaire Safiyyah, turned me on to a particularly condescending and patronizing post on Muslim Matters called “My Dear Ramadan Stay-at-Home Mom, I Salute You.”
No doubt there are moms who will find comfort in some of the suggestions this male author decided to make for women in his terrible attempt to understand what it means to be a mother during Ramadan. I however, really couldn’t connect with his assertions that I long for the days before my girls were born; attending the mosque is a responsibility for men only, so I just shouldn’t worry about it; every woman who stays at home makes it by choice; I use my mensus as an opportunity to slack off; and that it’s simply impossible for a woman with children to attend the mosque.
Newsflash: it’s not impossible, especially if fathers and husbands work with moms and wives to help make it happen. So here’s my response, written in a similar style.
I know how much pain it causes you to leave your wife behind at home, taking care of your children, while you and everybody else enjoys their taraweeh prayers at the mosque. I know how much you miss your family, and yearn for the day you can all grow in the deen together by enjoying the warmth and identity that comes with worshiping as a family in an inclusive mosque.
But I also know how embarrassing it is for you to bring your wife and children to the mosque, with the great hope that they will be welcomed — only to hear about the indignity they suffered after being forced to pray in a small, cramped room with other women and children. That while you enjoyed the gorgeous chandeliers, domed windows, and gold calligraphy in a large, air-conditioned room with other men, your wife had wet Cheerios flicked onto her hijab by an unruly 3-year-old, your young daughter sweated and cried for fresh air and your son ran around with other children screaming and disrupting any semblance of peace and tranquility that is always destroyed when women and children are hidden behind barriers and forgotten in basements.
I know how much you want your wife to enjoy just an hour of peaceful worship during this blessed month of Ramadan and that worship for her is crucial to her self-worth and identity as a Muslim, as well as her relationship with God.
For all the times you help her achieve this and more, my dear Ramadan feminist dad, I salute you, and may Allah reward you.