Pressures of Ramadan heavier on women than men

By Fatima Zohra Bouaziz

Rabat, May 2 (EFE).- During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk, but the weight of religious observance in the holy month is heavier on women than men.

The unofficial dress code for Ramadan is visible on the streets of the Moroccan capital of Rabat as women cover up more than normal, ditching revealing and tight clothing, as well as makeup. In Morocco, women tend to dress less conservatively than in some other parts of the Muslim world.

Some adjust their attire to increase modesty in respect of the sanctity of the holy month, while others do it to avoid unpleasant confrontations since it is customary to dress conservatively during Ramadan.

“Two of my high school classmates were scolded the other day for painting their nails, so I decided to wear less flashy clothes and cover up with a denim jacket this month,” 15-year-old Selma tells Efe.

Incidents relating to women’s clothing tend to spike during Ramadan.

Three women said this week they were verbally abused for not wearing “discreet and respectable clothing” in northern Morocco, according to al-Ahdath al-Maghribia newspaper.

It is not always done out of fear of reprisals — there are women who dress modestly to follow some of Ramadan’s unwritten rules, which include adopting a modest attitude and avoiding inappropriate phrases.

To fulfill their religious obligations without neglecting their appearance, many opt for traditional clothing such as the djellaba, a long loose garment with full sleeves that is usually worn by mothers and older women.

Younger women wear the djellaba in Ramadan and combine it with modern accessories, while others still apply makeup, relying on the religious edicts (fatwas).

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