Professional women have to put in extra efforts to organize themselves during Ramazan. From grocery shopping to preparation of nutritious meals for their families and storing them in advance; from registering their names in an organized religious gathering to attend to domestic household chores; from readjusting their own and their children’s sleeping patterns to withdraw from morning coffee at work; from rearranging their Ramazan wardrobe to preparing a list of Ma’dubato iftar (iftar parties)…their list is endless.
The present day woman is fully aware of her various roles as mother, wife, daughter and professional as she has trained herself to perfection in the art of work-life balance. She comprehends that she has been bestowed with ability to multi-task. She is multi-dimensional, flexible and resilient. The modern Muslim women are aware of the fact that Allah Almighty made them that way from the very beginning, but in this era they can fully develop their potential.
Let us meet with a few of these contemporary Muslim women living in Qatar as they share some of their Ramazan practices so we can also make use of their time management skills and follow it in our next Ramazan.
Fattom Abaza, a 55 year old Canadian national. She is a Palestinian-Jordanian by origin and is working as a Linguist. She is in Doha since 2003 and is living with her son.
Awatif Radwan,a 46 year old English teacher is Egyptian by origin. She is a mother of three children and has been in Doha since 2000.
Laya Mostafa, a 32 year old Iranian is an Office Coordinator. She has been in Doha since 2007. She lives with her husband.
Habiba Tabiti, a young Moroccan woman is a graduate in English literature. She has been in Doha since February 2010 and is working in a private company.
Taghrid Morshed, a Yemeni-Palestinian by origin is a long term resident of Qatar. She is a Dentist and has one child
Yosra Bouadila, a Tunisian by origin, worked as an Air-Hostess in Qatar Airways. She has been in Doha for last three years and is living with her husband.
How do you reorganize your daily routine to meet the needs of your family during Ramazan?
Fattom: I am adaptable as far as my Ramazan routine is concerned. If my family member asks for a special dish; I always try my best to prepare it before Maghreb. I plan well in advance to prepare the dishes that all the members like.
Awatif: Really, Ramazan is a special month for me, like most Muslims. The responsibility as a mother and needs of family are much greater and differ completely from other months. I take rest when I come home from work. It refreshes me to meet with my family requirements. It is hard, no doubt; but that is what the whole purpose of Ramazan is, to train ourselves!
Laya: My routine changes during Ramazan as I am not cooking for lunch anymore. Hence, I go for shopping during mornings on weekends and prepare supper on weekends. House cleaning falls on my husband’s shoulders during Ramazan. A little nap after work and I am all ready to attend to house work and preparation of Iftar meal.
Habiba Tabiti: My daily routine out of work is organized according to the five prayers. Resting after work is necessary. I prepare Iftar meals after Al-Asar prayers. Along with running small errands and following the news up-dates, it is time for Isha and Taraweeh prayers. I go to bed early as I have to wake up at 3.00 am for last meal (Sahar).
Taghrid Morshid:I try my best to follow the same routine as my family responsibility remains the same. My child is still young so I do not want to change his patterns. I continue the same schedule as it saves me a lot of time and effort!
Yousra Bouadila: Due to reduced working hours during Ramazan, I am able to spend more quality time with my family. After cooking and cleaning up, I end the day early so as to be able to wake up for Sauhour.
How are you able to achieve work-family-religion balance during Ramazan?
Fattom: Ramazan is a religious month. Praying and recitation of Quran is very important in this holy month. I devote my time for special Ramazan prayers early in morning or at night when it is quiet.
Awatif: I prioritize my activities. In Ramazan, religion comes first so for me it is no watching television at all! I prepare my meals in large quantities and store them for later use. Sometimes, I keep household work for the weekends.
Laya: I always attain balance by praying on time and saving the rest of my time for my dear family. Islam is a religion of balance and denounces those who go to extremes. I read one page of Quran after the prayers and then get engaged in my daily routine.
Habiba Tabiti: Honestly speaking, Ramazan has made the balance of work-life more achievable than any other month. I have enough time and I spend most of it with my family. I do not believe in wandering around exposing myself to heat and unnecessary fatigue!
Taghrid Morshid: During Ramazan I have to put in extra efforts in order to achieve this equilibrium. Alhamdullilah, I am able to achieve the balance between my work and family due to the reduced working hours.
Yosra Bouadila: Taking care of family, practicing religion and excelling in ones profession all this is the need of the day for us women. Creating a work-life-religion balance are the fundamental duties in life of a Muslim woman.
What are the Ramazan practices in your country that you miss most in Qatar?
Fattom: I miss most my family gatherings around the table and socializing with relatives and neighbors. I also miss walking around in the area where one may meet many people, greeting and inviting each other for traditional snacks.
Awatif: I miss a lot of Ramazan practices of my country like street decorations and recitation of Holy Quran on loud speakers before prayers. I also miss having Iftar meals with my family.
Laya: In my country many celebrations are held during Ramazan comprising of fund raising ceremony “Golrizan” that is aimed at poverty stricken people and freeing of indebted prisoners by collecting charity from the participants. I miss the Iftar tables full of traditional Iranian foods. Iranians give a lot of charity during Ramazan and some of them sponsor the orphans to meet their educational, health and welfare needs.
Taghrid Morshid: As I am in Qatar for last 25 years I have completely adapted myself to Qatari lifestyle. Qatar follows the same traditions as of any Arab country so I do not feel that I am missing out on anything.
Yosra Bouadila: Ramazan in Tunisia is very different from that of Qatar. What I miss most during Ramazan is the festive atmosphere of the streets and souqs of my country and of course, my family.
As a result of this amazing amalgam of Muslim traditions, life in Qatar is like living within a banquet of flowers. Let us learn from this kaleidoscope of cultures. Let us get inspiration from the organizational skills of educated women and be a prolific citizen for this booming nation. Let us celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with a promise to share our experiences to create a work-life balance and be role models for young girls who have not yet stepped into the practical world. Let us spread the fragrance of this beautiful banquet all around us.