Thursday, October 04, 2007

Under a dark cloud

A friend sent me the link to this article written by an American woman about her Libyan husband and Ramadan:

Unfortunately, I read it first thing in the morning and it kind of hung over me like a dark cloud for the entire day...

Read it... what impressions do you get from it?


  1. Dear Khadija
    Thank you for posting it. I couldn't stop thinking about it either.

  2. "I have yet to find another disgruntled American wife who feels qualified to rewrite one of the five pillars of Islam. "
    astughfir Allah!
    there is the high point of her essay. my question is this: what did ismail think of this and her shallow attitude?
    i just hope the dark shadow she caused you was not about you feeling the same way.

  3. I was impressed with the way she was describing her conflicts and also her honesty. At the end when she was wondering about the meaning of love; that was kind of provoking. Thank you for putting it in here.

  4. I found the article quiet thoughtful, and the way she tried to analyze the meaning of fasting and how she observed her husbands Ramadan were orginial. hope we can write ourselves about our deep experience on the fasting and ramadan in general.. Ghazi

  5. I have a few questions.

    What good is fasting if when it's all said and done and you look at the month. You find you were short tempered or even hateful. Is this what Ramadan is about?

    If it is a month of soul searching and demonstrating to Allah your love and devotion doesn't He find it shallow and without meaning if you have expressed hate or even felt it?

  6. I read the article, and I found it interesting and honest. She was articulate, and stated her opinions.
    It really bothers me though, when nonMuslims, and sometimes even Muslims question, why Allah won't understand if we bend the rules just a little. Islam indirectly means submission, and if I consciously choose to submit my life to worship Allah, I then submit to follow all the rules, I can question them, but I also know that Allah created me and wouldnt order me to do something that was not good for me. I have more thoughts, but I'll write again later.

  7. WOW, first thanks for posting that, it was really DEEP, i mean its not ur usual article u read bout ramadan. Its very honest but to tell u the truth its very rare to find such love in the world, him putting up with her views and respecting them and not being ur typical hardheaded arab man and going off on one, and her well expressing her views in ways so honest, and even with these views she still doesnt make it hard for him.
    i do think though she has a better understanding of islam and the point of it, maybe more so than me and im a muslim, and i do for some reason feel shes leaning more towards islam and myabe even thinking of giving it ago.. or maybe im totaly wrong
    but anyways thnks for the post its great
    p.s i dnt know if u remeber me teri or even if ur the same person, im Afnan from myspace? :D

  8. Sad picture depicted by this woman who has no regards for anyone but herself not even her children.

    My opinion, Ismail is a little too unobtrusive in his couple. Put aside the cultural and confession differences it is an unbalanced relation.

  9. I found this article very sad. It made me cry. I found it very sad and ture about all kinds of things that happens in families. Even if we don't want to admit it. You never know what this type of observance and self exploration might lead to.

  10. I feel really sorry for the husband! He has to break fast all alone every day. He is doing the cooking, too!
    Doesn´t that woman know that the love of a man goes thru his stomach?!

    Mazingly that couple has stayed together for so long, having kids. But what do I know? Maybe they really love each other and are committed even though this is certainly not the impression I get when I read how Wifey makes her husband sleep on the sofa because his breath smells like ramadan...

  11. This may be her story of her life, but I can't understand how the husband went through it on his own. Plus, I don't intend to be obtrusive, but is he the only person practicing Islam in the family?

  12. This article leaves a dark shadow hovering over me too -- and I'm a Christian. I believe we could possibly agree that this woman's basic problem is that she believes she is her own god. Not totally her fault as it sounds like she was raised to believe that lie. Hence, her complete disregard for the practice of worship. I do hope that some day her meditations and occasional jaunts to an obligatory Church service reveal truth. I do believe she is justified in her confusion about the purpose of Ramadan given her husband's bent toward hypocrisy. This is something we Christians are equally guilty of. What good is fasting if they heart is not engaged? Shouldn't the rules of purification be followed every day, not just during Ramadan (or Lent, or whatever one might call it)? Does one month of cleansing make up for 11 months of flagrant sin? Not in my Book.

  13. Greetings, KT! I hope all is well.

    I must say that I am quite confused by KT's referece to a dark cloud, especially since she did not elaborate on the how, why, what, etc.

    I found the piece to be excellent, not only technically but also excellent and original in conveying its message. For me, the piece put Ismail (or say a Muslim husband in an interfaith marriage) in a realistic positive light, not the usual religious propaganda (pro and con) that one reads. I also have a feeling that some of the commenting readers did not read the entire article. How could anyone read a negative portrayal in the following excerpt:

    I am plump with my husband’s love, overfed by his kindness, yet I still treat our marriage like an all-you-can-eat buffet, returning to him over and over again to fill my plate, as if our vows guaranteed me unlimited nourishment. During Ramadan, when he turns inward and has less to offer me, I feel indignant. I want to make a scene. I want to speak to whoever is in charge, to demand what I think was promised me when I entered this marriage. But now I wonder: Is love an endless feast, or is it what people manage to serve each other when their cupboards are bare?

    Does this really put Ismail in a negative light? The fact that his wife says he fills her with love and kindness is negative? It beats me. "But now I wonder," means now she has come to see things differently (and hopefully the reader did, too).

    The author uses a number of literary devices that I think were lost on some readers, but probably not the primary intended audience, anyway. She uses irony. When she says, "I have yet to find another disgruntled American wife who feels qualified to rewrite one of the five pillars of Islam," do people get that she is indirectly admitting her own (and maybe the average intended reader's) arrogance? She also uses a sort of "bait-n-switch" tactic. She leads the piece with all the superficial stuff, the unfamiliar stuff, the outwardly strange stuff, and all the things that might form a first impression about Ramadan. That's the bait to get the intended reader on board. The switch comes toward the end, where she discloses her own change of heart. She wonders, is love what she (and the intended reader) thought, the love of consumerism, or is it the kind of love that her husband gives to her and the children, the love of flexibility, sacrifice, and accommodation at a time when he is physically and emotionally in no shape to provide those things? That is a rhetorical question, she is basically saying that love needs a deeper look, beyond the skin-deep, consumerist appeal.

    A point to Chatalaine:

    In Islam, worship is active, not passive. It is not enough to believe, and the worship by the heart is considered the lowest/weakest possible form. Muslims also are taught that the individual is responsible for his own deeds, that no one can bear the burden of another. So Ramadan is an important part of meeting ones obligations, but it is not the only part. Ramadan is a kind of deprivation therapy. It is also intensely personal, in my opinion. The group activities in Ramadan are purely social and cultural, the spiritual part is very personal. Theeeee fundamental point of fasting, in my opinion, is to bring out the beast within, face it, and conquer it. It is quite a different view of human nature, one that recognizes all humans have a beast within, and most of us do not enjoy meeting it, and so we will naturally avoid seeking to meet it. Fasting surely brings you face to face with the demon in others, but if that is all you see, then you failed. Getting irritable, angry or even hateful is not the end. The real objective is overcoming those personal evils, and you cannot fight what you don't see and what you naturally tend to cover up.

    Disclosurez: These are my own opinions, and I don't speak for aim to represent any mob/organization/community. Therefore, disagree if you want, but there is no need to declare Jeeeeeeee-Haud on my ass!

  14. I loved it. I think in many way it is how most non muslims feel when they see their partner fast. I know my husband tryes to support me when I fast. But at the same time I know he resents the restrctions it puts on our lifes. Specially since he works nights and the only time we get to spend toghter is in the day. I don't think her shallow at all but truthful about her feeling and I take my hat off to her for addressing them.

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  16. @Suliman: by saying that “Ismail is a little too unobtrusive in his couple” I didn’t put him “in a negative light”. I don’t mean that he’s not a proud Arabic macho man. On the contrary, I think that this gentleman has a praiseworthy behavior expressing his love to his wife.

    But on the other side,

    I think that in return Krista, the accident victim, has a gastric affection toward her husband. this Jihadist wife loves her husband so much that if needed she won’t hesitate to eat him. (irony) :-D
    This woman judges everything compared to herself and her own interest. And I believe in love-life we have to share and to exchange affection in a balanced way. I think that she’s not conscious of that because Ismail loves her in a sacred way.

  17. "Theeeee fundamental point of fasting, in my opinion, is to bring out the beast within, face it, and conquer it."

    Your analysis is spot on, and damn it thats why i read your stuff (when ur indignance against islam moves you).. it is such a shame that this depth of analysis can actually lead you to the wrong conclusions.. but hey.. the real tragedy is that the worst can only be the worst because they are also the best...

    I don't think its only KT's dark cloud.. its everybody's cloud.. she just has the guts to face the beast ur talking about... or not face it.. just talk about it to us..

    now, the real point of departure is this:

    "love needs a deeper look, beyond the skin-deep, consumerist appeal."

    maybe its time for that deep a look..

  18. Dear All
    I am a Christian, however I work with a Foreign Company. My managers are all Muslims. I have no problem at all to work with them. Even through Ramadan. I respect their religion as they respect mine. During Ramadan, I am careful not to drink or eat infront of them. They are not nervous because they do not eat. Obviously, I understand that, to work with someone is different than living with someone. I want to make my point : NO MATTER WHERE WE LIVE, NO MATTER WHAT RELIGION WE HAVE, NO MATTER WHAT IS OUR CULTURE, LET US ALL TRY TO LIVE TOGETHER IN PEACE. I am happy to have friends which are Christians, Muslims and Buddhist.

  19. An awesome piece, enlightingly straightforward, educationally positive, smartly put together, self sacrificing-ly provocative, truthfully illustrative.
    Thank you Teri

  20. This is a repeat story around the world, I am Libyan married to a British wife and I live in the UK. My wife has the same thinking and her actions are Identical.


  21. oh please!!
    this article just raised my blood pressure through the sky,
    That is exactly how i would describe a nagging wife that isnt well educated when it comes to Islam, doesn't respect her husband at all, and the worst thing is, i think she knows she's all of that but still does it anyway,
    her article was full of contradictions, and at moments i felt like she was being, or trying to be the star of some kinda sick movie, she just kept focusing on how much he loved her and how much he respected her, even though she treats him love but no respect (which is better of without btw)

    in short i felt like she was victimizing herself, some really love to do that,
    she obviously doesn't have a clue about Islam, and doesn't have respect, for both Ismail and Muslims.

    i'd like to add that these are the sort of difficulties that one might face when marrying someone from a different society and religion, one should make sure of equal respect from both parties.


    sorry for focusing on the negatives only, but i am quite mad at her article and some of the comments at the moment.


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