“I have to fast for fifteen hours and you don’t give me fifteen minutes to eat my suhoor! You don’t care. You’re lazy. Just get up a little earlier. And I swear you’d better do it quietly, because I don’t get to bed before midnight because of the late Tarawih prayers. You want to have a roof over your head? Then you’d better make sure I get up in time to make it to work at 8:00. I have to sleep after fajr a little bit just to function. You know that. How do you expect me to wake up after so little sleep if you are going to whisper so softly? If I’m late for work and get trouble from my boss, it will be because you couldn’t be bothered to wake me on time.”
“Unbelievable! This is how you greet me? I give you the money for the shopping don’t I? You know what I like to eat, don’t you? Didn’t my mother waste enough time trying to teach you that over the years? My God! I am so close right now to getting angry– you know that would break my fast don’t you? You couldn’t be that stupid! Are you trying to make me lose my fast? You do this on purpose. And if I do get angry, it will be your fault and you will deserve what you get. I guess I’m just too soft, letting you go to the store on your own. You probably spent so much time gossiping with God knows who that you forgot why you were even there. And now you tell me we’re out of cumin? And you are so selfish that you think I will go to the grocery store to cover for your mistake. No! I just got home from work. I need some rest. You’d better shut your complaining mouth and go get it. I have to open my fast soon so you’d better hurry. Can I at least trust you to drive without wrecking the car? And take these whining brats with you so I can get some peace and quiet.”
“Why is it impossible for you to have the iftar ready on time? There are a billion Muslims in the world. You think they are all waiting for twenty minutes after Maghrib before the meal comes? You think I won’t notice you haven’t finished preparing dinner if you try to stall me with a bowl of soup? When you do finally bring the food to the table, you are sweating like some disgusting pig. You must think it is funny that you manage to kill the appetite of a fasting man. I know that Allah must love me, because He sends trials to those He loves, and with you there is rarely ten minutes at a time you don’t offend me. And you know that when a woman offends her husband at night she is cursed until the morning!”
It is true that the devils are locked up during Ramadan, but vitriol can continue to spew from a monstrous and distorted personality with no additional assistance from the devil. And while few of us may have delivered or been on the receiving end of the outrageous comments imagined above, my guess is that even fewer of us have never allowed ourselves a milder variation on at least one or two of them.
The discipline and patience that Ramadan demands of a Muslim places added pressure on those who are angry and abusive towards their spouses in the remaining eleven months of the year. Victims of domestic violence often describe emotional abuse as leaving far deeper scars than the physical beatings. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Among the Muslims the most perfect, as regards his faith, is the one whose character is excellent, and the best among you are those who treat their wives well” (narrated by Abu Hurayrah in Al-Tirmidhi).
There are thousands of our sisters in the United States who continue, even during the blessed month of Ramadan, to endure something like what I’ve depicted above. Pray for them and make a contribution to those working to rescue these battered women. You can find many of these organizations listed in the resource section of Project Sakinah’s website: www.projectsakinah.org.
Trained as a marriage and family therapist, Anas Coburn is the managing director of Project Sakinah, a Dar al Islam initiative to address violence within Muslim families.