A simple question?
It's funny how what seems to be a simple question can become an intrusive inquiry into one's privacy. As Muslims we are now in the last 10 days/nights of Ramadhan. We are all "tightening our izhars" so to speak and praying like there is no tomorrow. During this blessed month we've eagerly fasted with the comfort of knowing the Muslim Ummah around the world is fasting with us. Our friends, associates, acquaintances that are not muslim have watched us forgo lunches and snacks and even some apologetically ate in our company while asking question about fasting in Islam (which I personally love honest questions and curiosity).

This brings me to a simple question asked. As a woman, I'm naturally looking at this from a female perspective. So this is one scenario of the "simple question".

(By the way, this happened to my sister last week):

At work, early morning staff mtg. Male and Female members adjourn into the conference rm with a table spread of fruits and pastries. Everyone grabs something and begins to eat, including the female muslim.

Associate: Hey (insert female muslim name here)! Girl, i know it's Ramadhan, so why are you munching on that banana? You're supposed to be fasting. I have lots of muslim friends so i know the deal.

*this is said loudly enough to be heard by every man, woman and child on Earth and Mars.

Muslimah: (turning bright red with embarrassment) Yes, it's Ramadhan and muslims are fasting. But there are some reasons when a muslim doesn't fast. Let's talk after the mtg.

*trying to subtle and discrete.

Associate: Na-ah, what's up? Why aren't you fasting?

*by now they have the attention of the entire room who also wants to know the answer to this "simple question".

Muslimah: Like i said, there are special times in a month when a muslim doesn't have to fast.

*at this point wanting to smack the lips off of Associate for blasting her out like this in front of a crowd. And at the same time wanting to run and hide rather than reveal the specific reason to this gender mixed group.

Associate #2: (figuring out the riddle from the vague answers given by her now completely mortified co-worker) I think this is a question best asked privately. Let's get started with the mtg.

Ok folks if you don't know I'ma tell you. Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is obligatory on all muslims. But there are exceptions to the rule. One being if a person is sick and unable to fast. Another is a pregnant woman or nursing mother. And the big secret answer to the "simple question" a menstruating woman doesn't fast.

But who wants to go around saying to everyone "Hey! Look at me, i'm on my period!" For a man to be asked if he's fasting is no big deal. Simple question, simple answer. No ultra personal information being obtained. Yet to a woman this can be the most private and personal and as you can see, embarrassing question asked. Working in a muslim school, i've seen young female students who weren't fasting, discretely having a snack out of the way of the general population so as not to put their business out for all to know. Muslimahs like to keep it on the DL.

So next time, Associate, please heed the hints. If she says "I'll tell you later", you might want to wait for that one on one moment. And when you are one on one, please by all means ask every question you have because that's the only way we learn from one another.

Have a blessed day.


Monifa said...

very well put!

zainab said...

masha'allah,couldnt have said it better!

cd said...

As Salaamu Alaikum Sis:

Mash'Allah, you have a very beneficial blog. Insh'Allah, I plan to visit again. I enjoyed reading and hearing your entries.

May Allah reward you.


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