THE TALE OF TWO CITIES:  Portland and Philadelphia on ‘Memorial Day’ One Sister’s Story during Ramadan,by Umm K. Rashad Bey

Ramadan is the month of Quran, the month of mercy, and the month of reflection. This is one sister’s story of a troubling incident that occured during this month of Ramadan. There are hundreds of stories like these. It underscores that we need to do better in the way that we treat our women folk. – Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

By Umm K

Yesterday, there played a story in the TV news media- where a ‘colored’ teen, with a baseball hat and hair stuffed under it- some hanging out- tearfully spoke about the men who were stabbed to death for standing up for herself and a friend.  I later learned that she was not necessarily Muslim, but accompanied her friend that was Muslim and wore a headscarf (veil) and were riding on public transportation when the horrible incident occurred.  The murdered men were not Muslims but can they be considered Martyrs, non-the-less???  Or would they be considered like Ansars– or helpers or friends of the Muslims?

Also last night, I traveled to a masjid in Northeast Philadelphia.  My heart was set on attending iftar and prayers in North Philadelphia, at Masjid Mekka, but because of where I was traveling from and the time of the evening- I went to a closer mosque.  I saw a big tent set up- so I figured that they had items with which to breakfast.

The women’s area had been changed since I had last visited, and when I asked a man, he took me around to the basement entrance – an area that was not handicapped accessible, but had been nicely remodeled.  There was only water available, which is fine for iftar– but I discussed with some of the sisters there- whatever the men have, we should have the same.  Eventually, some young sisters came with a plate of dates and we all broke fast and offered Maghrib.

Another of the young sisters asked if there would be food for dinner.  I went up and out and got in my car to go home.  I saw a man unloading a van of food under the tent.   So I parked my car and saw about 6 females sitting in the dark on a concrete step, while the men lined up under the lighted tent and sat comfortably at tables and chairs with additional carpets.  A boy shuffled the women away with “bisquits” (from Popeyes) as instructed by the man who provided the food.  Meanwhile, the men had steak sandwiches, rice and peas, pizza and chicken, teas and drinks.  So I stood at the tent and asked the boy to keep asking for food for the women.  Eventually, after he told me that the food was for the men only, to which I responded ‘astaqfirullah’ we were brought pizza and then I told him just put some of everything that they had on a tray and we would all share together.  The boy, through his cooperative assistance, and repeated urging, was successful in getting this concession.  I later learned that the helpful boy was the son of the oldest female sitting outside the tent.

Which is the better behavior?  To give your life for females who are not in your faith practice- or to refuse to feed females who are in your faith practice?

Umm K. Rashad

Umm K. Rashad Bey is a licensed professional counselor, and a very active Muslimah who resides in the Philadelphia area.


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