The blessed month of Ramadhan is also a busy month for Muslim women who have set for themselves high expectations aside from accepting more loads and performing additional duties home-wise or for the benefit of society in general.
For a woman like Zahra al Oufi who dedicated her life to charity, Ramadhan is different.
Charity is a realm where women can contribute a lot. Depending on their time, ability and passion, they have more leeway to show their care for their fellowmen.
Cooking food for the needy people, collecting money from relatives and friends for charitable reasons among others are tasks women have taken fully charge over in the last few decades.
For Zahra, it has become a holy month tradition to start cooking at dawn. She and her helpers bake bread and sometime during the afternoon, they start preparing sandwiches in the afternoon which will be served for iftar.
“Some meals take time so I start the cooking early in the morning and since we are cooking large quantity, it makes us busy the whole day.”
The food she prepares is ordered by those who do not have time to prepare their own meals at home for different reason.
Zahra finds joy in knowing that at the end of the meal, those who fasted have something healthy and delicious to eat.
Everytime she’s away from the kitchen, Zahra spends her time with children.
“I also teach young children the Holy Quran in the morning. Ramadhan is an excellent opportunity for kids to live 30 days in a comprehensive experience of what the holy month is all about. They are able to learn about fasting, praying, playing, and helping others either physically or financially,” she said.
“I do my part at teaching them the Quran at the same time, this is an opportunity to instill to them good values especially when they are also fasting,” she added.
“When we finish cooking, we start distributing the orders to families and shops. There are three ladies helping me when I need them when I cook for big orders. I recently made deals with shops in the neighboring wilayats like Bahla and Nizwa,” she shared.
“It is quite tough because you have to keep balance between all these responsibilities and you have also to attend your spiritual duties. One needs to get closer to Allah this month. Visiting relatives, helping others, reading Quran, praying “nawafil” are good deeds,” she said.
How she makes it possible?
“Achieving what you want in Ramadhan is strongly related to time management and realistic plans,” Zahra said.
“It might sound very difficult to do all these duties in the day of Ramadhan but it is an enjoyable experience if you consider the size of rewards you get from Allah.”
Zahra won the Sultan Qaboos Award for Voluntary work in 2017 for her project on the literacy of villagers. She started 22 Quran schools in the mountains of al Hamra in Jabal Shams, al Jabal Al Sharqi and al Hoota.
“These schools need funding. I didn’t ask the charitable association for funding. I started my own project of cooking and selling food in the market. I also take orders from families. In this way, I could cover all the financial related requirements for all the schools.”
MAI AL ABRIA