Ramadan is a special time for Muslims dedicated to fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. What then does this time mean for some Nigerian women?

Bola, 17

Every Muslim no matter their spiritual strength works hard in Ramadan, the vibe is just different. Even though I’m not the strongest spiritually on a regular day, Ramadan makes me want to improve and be a better person and pray harder. The one thing I do not look forward to in Ramadan is the meal preparation. My mum handles the cooking in sahur and then I clean up after her, wash all the dishes and then I am saddled with the responsibility to cook and clean for Iftar, even though I have brothers.

I do not like that the constant meal prep and cleaning that has to fall on my shoulders just because I’m a woman, while everyone else just gets to chill and relax because they’re fasting. I’m also fasting and I think that work should be shared equally so every body should have time to work on what Ramadan is truly supposed to be about, and that’s the spirituality.

Raheemat , 21

When you’re on your period and not fasting, people always want you to feel some kind of shame. They’ll ask why you’re eating like you’re obligated to explain and when you say you’re off-salat, they’ll tell you how you should eat your food in hiding. It’s like they want you to feel shame for eating, as if you have any control over when periods come and go.

Hafizat, 20

Well, it’s just me and my dad fasting but then I have to make sure I know what he’s eating at iftar. I also am not able to go back to sleep immediately after sahur because I would have to do a couple chores. Luckily, my dad knows I’m lazy so he doesn’t bother me too much. I just wish we didn’t have to cook for iftar all the time, maybe order out once in a while.

Yinka, 18

There’s this unspoken pressure especially because I’m the first girl, to do more and do better and still maximise on worshipping during the month. It makes everything overwhelmimg, but towards the end it gets better because everyone gets a bit more relaxed, you don’t get as many visitors.

Eid day is always high maintenance though. We have a lot of guests over, so there’s always a lot to be done in terms of hosting, taking care of different things and making sure things go where they are meant to be. I get yelled at a lot when things go wrong even when they’re out of my control. Sometimes, I pretend to need to use the bathroom so I can hide and have time to myself. Cleaning is always horrid, especially the bathroom.

Kudirat, 24

Sometimes, it feels like people forget women fast too. I get to spend Ramadan without my family this year, and I’m so excited about it. If I was at home my mother, sister, and I would spend the bulk of our time cooking and cleaning while all the men in our family just relaxed, prayed, and got to better themselves spiritually. My relationship with Allah means a lot to me, and I too want to improve it.

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