Ramadan has come back round with its pretty flags and bizarre working hours. It is also a time to learn, every year I learn more about my Muslim friends and what they believe.
Yesterday, a Muslim friend posted a list of activities that women who have their period during Ramadan should do in order to be blessed. It was a confusing list, partly because of all the terminology that I was unfamiliar with.
I already knew, from a different friend, that women are not allowed to fast whilst on their period during Ramadan and had to make up those days at another point in the year. My friend’s post also told me that women were not allowed read the Qur’an (unless in translation) whilst on their period. The overall feel of the post was that there were things to do to ‘make up’ the blessing you were missing out on by not being able to fast, or read the Qur’an. For example, reading Ikhlas, a declaration of god’s unity, was worth a third of the blessing gained from reading the Qur’an so women were encouraged to recite it three times in order to have reached something equivalent to reading the Qur’an.
As an outsider, I find this peculiar, as they are going to make up the lost days of fasting anyway, but people are very devout. I know that my friend who posted this, particularly, is passionate about her beliefs and wants to do the things that please god. It makes me very sad. Her religion hinders her receiving blessing because of her biology, and her god doles out blessing in exchange for set tasks. How I would love for her to come and know and serve my God, who gave the biggest blessing of all, his son Jesus, and now freely gives good things to those who ask him.
First posted on middleeastnews.org.uk, a blog contributed to by westerners commentating on living life in the Middle East. Follow their blog for interesting stories, poetry, recipes and applied theology.