Monday, September 22, 2008

Not to Mention

Ramadan is really kicking my butt this year. It wasn't so hard when I was a teenager. I'd fast for 2 weeks, then get my "monthly visitor" break for a week, then fast again for another week. Back then Ramadan was in the winter months, so the day would fly by in the distractions of school and work, taking long naps after school and on the weekends, then suddenly around 5:30 PM, it was time to eat. No big deal.

Things are different now. I have two little kids with me all day, every day, rain or shine. Most of the time it's just me, no other adults around who are also struggling with fasting. And I'm sure as all stay-at-home Moms with little kids can understand--food and drink is a great comfort, pleasure, de-stresser, and necessity during the long days of childcare. Not to mention that Ramadan is now during the long days of the end of summer (and it's going to get deeper into the summer for the next few years!). Not to mention that while childcare (and double not to mention housekeeping) is demanding--it is often boring and tedious-- and mind-boggling in its frustration--so there is not much mental distraction to help tide the time. And let's not forget that with young kids---naps no longer exist for me--the MOM--who must keep working while Dad and everyone else can fall asleep like kittens on couches.

And let's not forget that often, people like me (anxious insomniacs with 2 kids who awaken at night) get litle to NO sleep at night either, so talk about feeling miserable--add on not being able to eat and sleep and I've got a recipe for a big time butt-kicking.

All the above reasons (I know what you're thinking: BLAH BLAH BLAH enough of your pity party, woman! My life is difficult too! Suck it up, Sister!)do not validate skipping the fasts, although I would like to argue that the NO sleep is equivalent to being ill--but alas, my arguments fall on deaf ears. And what's the point of arguing with the rules? I may think that God has mercy on me, but the rules sure don't. Still, I've given into my misery and broke my fasts in the middle of the day several times this Ramadan. God Forgive Me, I just can't do it all the time.

Makes me wonder. Maybe Islam is just too dang hard for me. I still struggle to get my 5 prayers done every day. Some days I don't. And we all know the trouble I have with the simple headscarf.

Actually, it probably just means I can't hack it as a SAHM. If I had some kind of job out of the home, there would be structure all around me and thus, my Islamic demands could fit in schedule somewhere. I wouldn't have to depend on my own pathetically weak internal motivation and discipline to fulfil my religious duties.

I think I am one of those so-called "moderate" Muslims--the ones that will espouse the "beauty and logic" of Islam, while still listening to music, watching TV even if it has "trashy" commercials every 30 seconds, and yes, even skipping a prayer, a fast, and a head-scarf.

My husband scoffs at such "moderate" Muslims. They're not part of a "pure" Islam, a "true" Islam. Sure, we're all weak humans he'd agree, but that's no reason to give in to the temptations of the flesh--food, sleep, vanity. Lucky for me, he's too busy giving his time to the Islamic center and devouring scholarly Islamic texts to have time and/or interest in reading my simple, chatty blog, so the secret is safe with me. For now. Actually, I've told him before that I've skipped a fast due to my shear desperation--arguing that indeed it is bad for my health when coupled with the very unhealthy issue of NOT SLEEPING. He replied by telling me that's not really unhealthy--and an invalid skipping requires that I feed 60 hungry people. But then someone else told me it means I must fast 60 more days for each skipped fast. Well what's the rule for breaking the rule? I forget.

So nowadays it seems like it's a more "don't ask, don't tell" policy. You don't ask me if I'm fasting, and I won't tell you that I'm not. I like that. Saves me from offering my pathetic reasoning up for dissection and judgement. Same goes for praying. He doesn't ask me if I've done all 5 prayers, and I don't tell him if I have. Same goes with the scarf. He doesn't ask me if I let my ear show when I'm out without him, and I don't tell him that yes, sometimes, I do. I'm all for being friends with your spouse, but what's the point of 100% disclosure that will just push both people's buttons and create bad feelings? I mean, it's not like I'm out living a secret, double life. Am I? Hmm. And if he or anyone were to ask me, then, yes, I would say, NO, I'm not fasting. Still--the thing is, he knows how I am, so we don't need me to mention it every single time when I fall short of the expectations--do I? Hmm. Of course, God knows all the details. I know HE knows. That's something I can't forget.


Zaenab said...

great post and a really interesting blog!

Ayanna said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. If you can't fast don't. Allah does not put more on you than you can handle. It's to my understanding if you don't or can't fast during the month then you feed a poor person during the month of Ramadan. ( “And those who are unable have to feed a poor person. But whosoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him.” (2:184))
Heck I feel bad for not going to the masjid during Ramadan. Just remember you are serving your lord the best way you can and Allah on gives you only what you can handle.
(“Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you difficulty.” (2:185)).

Scarf Ace said...

thanks zaenab!

ayanna, thanks so much. its encouragement like yours that lifts me up instead of keeping me down :-)

scarf ace

The Writing Instinct said...

I stumbled on your blog via my sister's (lovemyhijab)and am interested in this topic. As a 'moderate' Muslim I agonise in the same way during Ramadan with family and work and housekeeping etc etc. However, I remind myself that God is most merciful, most forgiving and I just to do my very best.

Anonymous said...

Assalamu Aleikum sister,

I know this is an old post but wow! I just had to comment. That could be me who wrote it, with the exception of the children part. Last year I barely fasted and I'm missing prayers too...and I'll admit, it's out of laziness more than anything else. I feel a lot of guilt over this fault but Allah SWT is so merciful, and so kind, and I know that He listens to my pleas of forgiveness. To be very frank, I wonder on a daily basis if Islam is too hard for me as well. But then I ask myself if I still believe in the One True God that we call Allah (SWT), and if I still believe in our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) and the answer is still yes, so I guess I'm still a muslim, with all of my faults, flaws, and weaknesses. You're not alone in being hard on yourself, sister. Please try not to beat yourself up so much. P.S. I see that you haven't written in a while....where are you? I really like this blog! :)