Excerpt: "Sabah Haroun whose Chadian husband works in Darfur said she is “exhausted,” with working a full time job, shopping, and preparing an elaborate feast every night during the month of Ramadan no wonder. In fact, as Maoulid stated in her editorial Tanzanian for that matter, African Muslim women in general during Ramadan, are in service to men who reap the benefit of their sacrifice..."
(SOURCE: Africa Watch) Ramadan In Africa, More than Just A Fast
[...] “Most people thus spend their time attending religious forums or in deep meditation,” she wrote. “In addition to the fast and giving alms others perform supplementary prayers performed mainly at night. However, it is clear that only men have exclusive privilege to this spiritual connection as if both men and women were to partake in the same then there would be no meal at sunset.”
She went on to write, “To allow ample time for the gender division of labor and duties during Ramadan the work day in Zanzibar has been reduced by one full hour.” (And) Most men, she claims, clean up after work and attend religious forums that begin after lunch and go on until late afternoon just before the sunset prayer. When they come home they expect food to be on the table. They eat first and hurriedly race against time for the announcement of the last prayer of the day. After the prayer they may stay on for additional Ramadan prayer (taraweeh), after which they may remain outside fraternizing with friends and colleagues before retiring for the day,” she explained.
Maoulid who in her commentary claims her purpose is to “draw attention to the stark contrast between what fasting should attempt to achieve and what (in Africa it) actually is.” She believes that to have “meaning fasting should not solely be approached as a ritual but as a political statement of the values” the faithful “propound and promote as believers, as humans, as citizens.”
The issues that she addressed included and demanded that believers “go beyond understanding one’s engagement with faith or religion as only a matter confined to those purporting to intervene at an individual level devoid of social realities and experiences.” Rather Maoulid explained, “religious experience should also speak to larger social issues and causes beyond the promise of scriptural salvation and rituals (and) should form the basis of a movement for transformation in a manner conceived by social justice advocacy as a driving ideology.” [...]
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