The month of Ramadan is known for worship. Lazy Muslims and worshippers, like this writer, try their utmost to make up for what they had failed to do of worship in the previous months of the year. Lackadaisical Muslims endeavor to devout their precious time to worship in this once-in-a-year month to establish an affinity between themselves and their Creator (Allah). Miserly Muslims discomfort themselves to be generous by virtue of this noble month. Bad neighbors pretend to be good due to Ramadan, for Ramadan frowns at bad temperament.
It was reported that the Prophet—himself an epitome of generosity—intensifies his generosity in the month of Ramadan beyond imagination. O Allah, have mercy on the Prophet (SAW). If all Muslims would emulate his generosity in this month, it is enough to wipe out poverty from our midst. Though many are very generous (may Allah increase their wealth and wellbeing), yet many who should spend more spend less—below expectation—due to their chronically incurable tightfistedness. May Allah protect us from miserliness (Ameen).
Nevertheless, there is one important act of worship in this month (if not the most important). That is the recitation of the Qur’an. Those who are not literate enough to recite the Qur’an but could read other books written in other languages should mourn themselves. It is quite unfortunate. The stark illiterates could be excused; perhaps they live in rural communities and do not have access to any form of learning and education that makes reading skill and ability possible. What excuse does a literate in other literacies but illiterate when it comes to the Qur’an make to Allah?
Reciting the Qur’an is prioritized in this noble month because it was revealed therein. Our righteous predecessors (RA)—and the later Muslims who trod their paths—would jettison or postpone virtually every other thing to focus on the Qur’an in this month. They would read it, memorize it, and rehearse it. They would teach it, lead prayer with it, and interpret it to a blessed audience more than ever in this blessed month.
But sad! It is a month where majority of Muslim population (our women) waste away in our kitchens. Doing what? Cooking. Though, they may not be blamed for it, our demands for assorted delicacies might be the reason why they over stay in the kitchen; this prevents them from being worshippers but cooks in Ramadan. Many believe Ramadan is the month of food—eating and drinking and merrymaking. Thus, what was missed during the day of foods and drinks must be exaggeratedly compensated for after Maghrib as if they were missed prayers which must be made up.
We expect our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, and aunts to prepare varieties of foods and drinks without considering how time consuming these things are. These great cooks, in some homes, start cooking as early as 2:00 PM for an Iftar that will be observed at around 7:00PM. What a waste of time! They would also wake up as early as 2:00 AM to prepare Sahur (pre-dawn meal) which will be taken around 5:00 AM. This is torturous! They, by default, become professional cooks but bad worshippers and poor reciters in Ramadan when the latter should be the priority.
Yet some of these great women are sole bread winners or co-bread providers in their homes. In addition, many of them are nursing mothers and burden carriers (pregnant). House chores are additional herculean tasks for them. And here is a man in Ibadan who reportedly beat his pregnant wife, as if in a wrestling ring, for close to 30 minutes before she narrowly escaped. Her offence!? She did not prepare Sahur on time. Is this callousness or foolishness or both?
This is ungodly, un-Qur’anic, un-Islamic, un-Sunnatic, un-Prophetic, and un-Ramadan. The Prophet, or any good Muslim for that matter, would rather assist the wife to get the meals prepared on time. But the ignorant husband turned his wife to a punching bag in the name of worshipping Allah. Could ignorance—as a disease—be more killing than the ignorance of religion?
Can’t we control our appetite for rice, beans, yam, plantain, potato (and its chips), pap, lettuce, fried meat, fish, egg—and their cooked version— all in a single meal for Iftar so that the womenfolk can have some time for the Qur’an and other forms of worship? Can we just spare them some time to devout to Allah? Though some women too like these stresses. Even when you try to persuade them to minimize time spent in kitchens so that they can have time for worship, their reactions seem to make one think that their love for kitchen is more than their love for Allah.
Be that as it may, men should learn how to assist women in this month of Ramadan to afford them (women) the opportunity to maximize rewards through other acts of worship (especially recitation of the Qur’an). This will be in line with the Prophet’s habit of assisting his wives as reported by ‘Aisha (RA).
But due to our ignorance of the din (religion) or lackadaisicalness or/and egocentrism which is best expressed in our misogynistic tendency, we make our women bad worshippers in the month of Ramadan when worships are mostly accepted. We deny them recitation of the Qur’an when its rewards are dished out in manifolds. They struggle to catch up with the Taraawih which is one of the visible symbols of Ramadan.
Women! Please be good worshipers in this month. Limit your relationship with the kitchens. Recite the Qur’an as much as possible. Be as generous as generosity.
Men! Let’s do same and also learn to appreciate them. Beating wife for late Sahur is condemnable and primitive. May Allah appreciate our efforts, accepts our ibaadaat, forgive our sins and admit us into Paradise (Ameen).