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4 Unique Challenges of Muslim Women During Ramadan

With this month comes unique challenges and blessings for Muslim women in particular – while it is an equal opportunity for both men and women to reap the benefits of this holy month, because of the societies we live in today, for many Muslim women this month comes with some specific challenges (both good and bad). 

With this month comes unique challenges and blessings for Muslim women in particular – while it is an equal opportunity for both men and women to reap the benefits of this holy month, because of the societies we live in today, for many Muslim women this month comes with some specific challenges (both good and bad). 

The beautiful month of Ramadan comes with both its ease and its challenges – it is a month of reflection, forgiveness, prayer, and dhikr, and Muslims around the world have embraced this month as one of the most enlightening of the year.

And with this month comes unique challenges and blessings for Muslim women in particular – while it is an equal opportunity for both men and women to reap the benefits of this holy month, because of the societies we live in today, for many Muslim women this month comes with some specific challenges (both good and bad).

Here are just 4 of these unique challenges Muslim women experience, in the hopes that we learn, benefit, and reflect on the deeper meaning of what it means to be a women of Islam today.

1. Many of the household chores will keep women away from extra prayer and worship during Ramadan nights

During the month of Ramadan, it is common for Muslims to spend extra time in prayer and worship during the evening and nights – it is a special and also communal act that brings the entire Muslim ummah together in spending more time in prayer and connection with Allah.

For so many Muslim women, however, with the extra tasks around preparing iftaars and suhours that almost always fall on the women of the house, this can end up isolating a lot of women and not leave enough time for her to feel she is fully engaged in the “spirit of Ramadan”.

This can be frustrating for many women, and lead many to feel guilty or ashamed that they were not able to have enough time for extra prayer and worship. It’s important to realize that while there are numerous blessing specifically for women who do these chores and provide the food for everyone else to break their fast, families and couples should still have conversations about how to split the household chores to ensure women especially are having enough time to feel involved in nightly worship and prayer.

2. Most Muslim women will go about one week out of the month where they do not have to fast or pray

Muslim women on their periods are exempt from fasting and praying, and so for most women, there will be about one week out of the month of Ramadan where they will not be fasting or praying alongside men.

Unfortunately, there is still so much stigma around women getting their periods, and many Muslim women feel ashamed or embarrassed about eating and drinking during this time of the month. Many Muslim women will get told off or judged in public if seen drinking or eating as well – making many women feel the need to hide or pretend that they are still fasting.

5 Things Muslim Women Can Do During Ramadan When On Their Periods

If there is more discussion and acceptance from our community about the simple fact that women get periods and have certain exemptions during this time, so many more women might feel more comfortable and guilt-free during this time of the month – after all, it is something that has been chosen by Allah and no women should be made to feel ashamed about her body’s natural cycles.

3. Taking care of children can have its extra challenges during this month

For so many Muslim women across the world, many of the child-raising duties and tasks fall heavily on the mother – which comes with both its beautiful blessings as well as its difficult challenges. And when it comes to the month of Ramadan, when the mother is fasting and hoping to get in more prayer and worship time, this can come with its unique challenges.

Many Muslim women will feel extra tired during the month from fasting – which is normal – and when it comes to continuing their daily tasks with children, it can be an extra trying and challenging time. In addition, many evenings and nights might feel even more hectic with extra iftaar or suhour chores in addition to trying to fit in more prayer and dhikr.

By having conversations with either your spouse or family members to help out (or even friends!), hopefully, more women will feel less strained and pressured to fulfill all of their “duties” this month. It’s important to remember that no one is perfect, and that it is perfectly normal to ask for help from your loved ones. Make sure to take time for yourself, and to try and dispel any feelings of unwarranted guilt or shame if you’re struggling with everything.

4. For working women, making a grand iftaar after work can be especially tiring and challenging

The prospect of iftaar is something that unfortunately can take center stage during Ramadan – and while we shouldn’t focus too much on the food and focus instead on the beauty of breaking fast, oftentimes there is extra pressure to make sure there is a grand or worthy iftaar every evening.

For working Muslim women, this can be an especially trying time – after working a full day while fasting, it can be extremely tiring to come home and rush to make dinner in time for iftaar when in many cases, most people would either want to spend this time in worship or resting.

It’s important to remember that iftaars should not be about the looks or the quantity – everything about this month is a reminder to refocus our attention on worship and our love for Allah, and we shouldn’t pressure ourselves unnecessarily with societal expectations of what a grand meal should look like. Try splitting the chores around cooking, and remember that it’s not about the quantity or the looks – you’re receiving uncountable blessings from simply fasting and providing food for those breaking their fast, and that should be enough.

Remember, this is one of the holiest and most beautiful months of the Islamic year – and while there may be unique challenges and difficulties for women, inshallah this means that the rewards and blessings will be even greater. Never suffer in silence, and try to reach out to spouses, family members, or loved ones you can trust and count on to help if the struggles seem overwhelming.

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