Human RightsRamadanReligion

I refuse to say Ramadan Mubarak this year — here’s why.

I wont say Ramadan Mubarak to those who practice this year.

I have said it in the past, in the years after I came out with my apostasy, wishing nothing but goodwill to my friends and loved ones who choose to practice. Whatever floats your boat as long as you don’t ask me to join, etc.

But not anymore. I will not say Ramadan Mubarak this year.

And I will not say it next year or the year after, until Ramadan sheds its toxic normativity. If a year comes where Ramadan is largely practiced non-normatively and I am still alive, I will say Ramadan Mubarak to those who practice then.

Because I can no longer in good conscience give well wishes about a month requiring believers to forego food and water and sex on pain of damnation and the torture of hellfire.

Where a single day of broken fast in Ramadan requires a penance of 60 consecutive days of fasting or feeding 60 poor folks to make it up, or burn for it.

Where not practicing comes with severe social stigma and moral horror at best and violence at worst in the majority of global Muslim communities.

Where the majority of global Muslim communities require participation in public rites of worship and/or police private worship and conduct in this month.

Where in the majority of global Muslim communities shaming and body policing in this month especially are normalized as virtues under the spiritual principles of al-amr belma’roof welnahi ‘an almonkar (adjoining the good and condemning the bad), invoking the very values of self-control, generosity, patience, and charity that are so often upheld as the positive spiritual essence of Ramadan.

Where, in fact, the majority of global Muslim communities treat religious devotion like a competition, have a thousand little social encouragements for more intense practice (eg praise for pregnant or ill people who fast anyway, people who work themselves exhausted and ill to display generosity, which is a social currency) and a thousand little discouragements for not doing damn enough (eg shaming people for not doing extra/optional prayers or staying up all night worshipping for Laylat alQadr–also don’t get me started on Layali al-Qadr, that’s it’s own clusterfuck). A thousand needles, bearing into the minutia of daily living.

Where in the majority of global Muslim communities gender roles still dictate that women are expected to do domestic labor, often as a priority at the expense of their work or schooling, and social expectations and demands are so severely heightened in that regard this month.

And so on (and on and on).

And because normativity of this sort makes visible noncompliance practically impossible, the destruction and its scope remains hidden under the glowing exterior and that invisibility is a huge part of the problem. ESPECIALLY in cultures encouraging keeping personal or familial suffering hidden for the sake of collective social sanctity.

So no longer will I fail to prioritize highlighting that instead of affirming that which is already seen and acknowledged.

The people who love and choose to practice Ramadan already have not only acceptance and comfort in their communities, but celebration. And it is always and only those people (note I did not say all) who enforce the normativity of Ramadan with every step around them, continuing this cultural tradition..

Until it is possible for most people to choose not to adhere to these expectations without suffering great social or personal cost in the same way it is possible for most people to comfortably choose to practice today,

I will not wish Ramadan Kareem to those who to choose to practice.

Not anymore. Not anymore. My sense of perspective can no longer allow it.


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  • Jack Nick Olsen

    It’s the same god in all three Abrahamic cults (and the earlier cult of Canaan, although he wasn’t actually too bad a guy back then): El.

    • Guest2

      You know your stuff Jack! Well done you

  • Mahmut Zolj

    Freedom, the only solution…

  • Mat C

    I’m not sure if you a genuine troll and if you are obviously it would be a mistake to feed it.

    But if you are sincere in your responses to the author, then as a suggestion I would say, if you wish to challenge her, challenge her on her points and in a more constructive (and intellectually polite) way.

    It is of no use to say you belong to a religion that espouses kindness of the highest order, along with other noble virtues it says it promotes, then react to her in this way. Even if she was wrong, then this would still not be okay.

    As it so happens, I find her intellectual honesty (from what I can tell) and her sharing of her experiences stimulating and brave and I for one admire her for providing a platform for people to engage in discussions that are both necessary for many and enlightening.

    As a somewhat confused Muslim, I find this brutal honesty so refreshing in relation to the dominant epistemology of the Muslim community at this point in our history which there is no need to highlight since the author understands it and puts it across so well.

    • Syed Iftekharuddin

      muslims are not asking dumb ass to say Ramadan Mubarak

    • Mohamed Ibrahim

      LOL. Dude, that guy is not a troll. He is just crazy stupid.

  • rima yousuf

    This is absolutely repulsive. Your whole perception on this illusion of freedom you have acquired and believe you have taken yourself is abolsutely vile. I can’t believe you, a former muslim, who understands the principles and morals behind this practice, humbling oneself, empathizing with the poor, and understanding the DAILY struggles of those less fortunate, would have the utmost audacity to be able to condemn a practice that does nothing but ignite purity, sympathy, and generousity. In this month muslims must feed the poor, give a percent of their salary in zakat (a form of charity to feed, and supply the poor). your whole argument is poorly constructed, as you jumped from one point after poorly touching on another. You have never understood your former religion as much of your information written sounds like a petty highschooler with a bad attitude. And what are you doing now for the people of this world? I am a medical studuent, muslim, fasting as a WOMAN in Ramadan completely content, and in full comprehension of my withdrawal from the worldly pleasures Allah has continuously blessed us with. The only reason I am here today writing this, is to be able to catch the eye of the next poor individual who reads this crap as a testimony of your stupidity. Educate yourself, Educate yourself, educate YOURSELF. I pray for you, I sincerely do.

    • Samantha

      As an exmuslim myself I have never seen the zakat go to anyone other than fellow Muslims. And I knew very closely the people who collected the zakat and managed where it went to. The zakat ALWAYS went back into strictly the Muslim community and NEVER out to non Muslim poor people. I find it hypocritical that Muslims say they are interested in feeling the sufferings of the poor yet gorge themselves with food at sun down a luxury the poor do not have. If u want to feel how the poor feel then fine don’t eat for days or live on Vienna sausages a can a night after fasting…. It’s a sad illusion u have tricked yourself into believing.

      • Jess Walters

        Exactly. It’s ridiculous and a sad illusion for sure. As an ex-Muslim I’m over Ramadan. My family still fasts so I just look at it as a cultural practice.

    • Jess Walters

      rima yousuf…don’t flatter yourself. I went to medical school too. I actually lost my faith in Islam during medical school. Hiba is well educated and brave for speaking her mind.I always find it funny when Muslims say “educate yourself” as though the reason why people leave Islam is because they don’t know the religion. Actually, a lot of us who left Islam left after studying more about it.

    • Jim

      Want education? Pretend for a moment that you don’t believe in Islam so that you can feel what exmuslims go through with their families in Ramadan. See how “kind” and “generous” Muslims will be towards you when you don’t fast and pray. That’s the whole point of this post that you completely missed.

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  • Ishmael Abraham

    I have found relatively comfortable to hear secular or ex Muslims talking about Islam compared to militant ex Christians talking against religion because they have never experienced religion in its Ishmaelite pronomian manifestation. It is also good to hear about the issue of normativity from a secular point of view because the issue of antinomianism and commandments has traditionally been discussed in intrafaith or interfaith debates. I have grown up in an orthodox household of Pakistan being a son of a Scriptural father and a mystic mother. One of them won a US scholarship and another is a zoologist. I received modern education in Pakistan and now I am an electrical engineer working in the area of Nano electronics. What I have observed that it is not pronomianism/sacred normativity per se which causes dysphoria, rather it is being psyche-insensitive pronomianism which causes problems. So, I try to understand the psychology of dissenters of faith and try to reach out to them in their own linguistic and psychological terms as Quran 14:4 teaches. By the way I have read in sacred legal manuals that if someone breaks his fast due to masturbation for example, he only has to fast only for one day again. I have been sexually explicit to make a point that sacred law is not as horrible as some Scripture ignorant zealots present it to be. As far as the issue of shaming is concerned, the word tathrib in Quran 12:92 forbids shaming. For example, whatever an Islamic court decides independently does not give the believers the right to insult any sinner. Quran 2:206 teaches that some people refuse to acknowledge truth simply because their self respect has been hurt that’s why the Ishmaelite Messenger(p) stood up for a Jewish coffin stating: Did God not breathe His own soul in him.

  • Ishmael Abraham

    When the phrase: Whatever floats your boat, is said humorously, it shows friendship. I hope it actually becomes a humorous phrase among intrafaith and interfaith dialogues of Islam 🙂