Tuesday, October 02, 2007

CHILLLLLLLLLN MAN!

The chill out month.

That is what I call it. And I am not referring to month long stay in Amsterdam 'chilling out’ at their ‘Herbal Cafes’. I am obviously referring to Ramadan. This is a month where every thing gets chilled out. Your work, your social activities, your daily routines even your driving. I sure do enjoy the atmosphere .

It is month when people are that extra bit more charitable. When spirituality momentarily overtakes materialism in peoples lives. When people spend more time among family and friends. And it’s also a time when shisha cafes make a fortune off people like me who spend countless hours after iftar smoking their lungs into oblivion J

But it is also a month of hypocrisy.

I see it everywhere I look. Among friends, family and colleagues. It is a month where most people also become that extra bit more religious or conscious of religion to be precise. I know many people who live a very liberal life throughout the year. Engaging in all sorts of activities that are considered to be forbidden in Islam: Drinking, clubbing, not praying, engaging in sexual activities e.t.c. Then the holy month starts and initiates a complete transformation in people’s behaviour. I know people who only for the month of Ramadan they :-

  • Stop drinking from 40 days before Ramadan and then have a reservation ready at Trilogy (a nightclub in Dubai ) for the first day after the end of ramada.
  • Decide not to have sex with their partners during the holy month. Some even go to the extent of not having any form of physical intimacy with their partners.
  • Give up listening to ‘western music’ and viewing ‘corrupting shows’ on TV and focusing on Quran recitals.
  • Wear the Hijab.
  • Pray regularly ( 5 times a day)
  • Donate to charity

The piety list goes on and on and on. The remarkable thing is not the nature or the intention of the act, but its duration. And the blatant hypocrisy I see. Personally I am rather liberal in my religious views and a secularist at heart (for those ignorant people, this DOES NOT mean that I am an atheist or anti-religion). What I am advocating is not an orthodox extremist view that would require people to maintain their religious fervour throughout the year. Nor am I advocating the opposite extreme end of the spectrum: not participating in any rituals of organised religion.

Choice and consistency.

If you want to practice your religion you are free to do so as long as you are not physically or mentally hurting others. Your level of devoutness is your own choice. Whether you go to a mosque 5 times a day or a brothel 5 times a day, I have no right to judge which is more excessive. You choose. And whatever you choose, be consistent. What is the point of giving up drinking or wearing the hijab just for one month. Keep drinking. You will never see a devout Muslim taking a off their hijab just for a month to go clubbing with you. If you don’t want to drink for a single month out of fear of insulting god, then what about the other 11 months of the year? You really think he wouldn't notice?

Don’t change your behaviour, either way, just for a month. Chose and be consistent.

15 comments:

rosh said...

"Don’t change your behaviour, either way, just for a month. Chose and be consistent."

It's the psyche I suppose. Ever heard of the saying - "The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew
he never would be found out".

KJ said...

finally someone who thinks.

localexpat said...

Rosh,

hmmmm interesting.....

You know what i just realised..... you have commented on every single post I have made on this blog :-)

localexpat said...

KJ,

thanx for the compliment ( i am assuming its a compliment) :-)

Al said...

Excellent post my friend.

Very sad and very true, a lot of things have just become an empty ritual.

I wrote a post on Islam and Al Ain a week or so back, I'd be interested to see your thoughts.

www.alinalain.wordpress.com

Many thanks for the post and keep writing!

Sheeraz said...

Ture what you say does make sense... the hypocrisy. But try to look at it this way as well... in the month of Ramadan, the devil can't take you astray. Maybe that is what causes the whole "religious aura".

Note one thing friend, that being non-religious for 11 months and not the 12th, is better than the whole 12 months.
But then again... it all really matters on the intention.
Love your blogs though mate...

localexpat said...

Sheeraz,

" being non-religious for 11 months and not the 12th, is better than the whole 12 months."

Well I am debating whether being religious is better than not ( i really don't want to open up Pandora's box ). Its about choosing what you want to do and not succumbing to societal pressures.

If you don't want to practice your your religion then DON'T. If you do want to practice then DO SO.

Don't be afraid of what others might think

rosh said...

I have? I like reading your thoughts and comments - relate to it all, thanks for these. Hope you don't mind my random comments :)

localexpat said...

rosh,

no way of course i don't !!

Xalimah said...

Hi! I've just ran into your blog from another blog..lol

*anyway*

I understand where your coming from and yeah it is kind of hypocritical, it's like some Muslims worship Ramadan and not Allah. If a person acknowledges a certain religious requirement and they can act on it for 40 days..why not keep it up for the whole year? It could be as some said the devils influence but to be honest with, that is a childish excuse. The Quran tells us that the devil only intices us.. Allah gave us the free will to choose our paths and act on our choices.

However, on the other hand, Ramadan can be a means of seeking and gaining that nearness to Allah. The whole environment is conducive to worship and reflections of ones priorities and desires....it was after one Ramadan that I personaly went from a 'part time' Muslim to a practising Muslim.

Sorry for urrm the long post... ;-)

salaams

i*maginate said...

Was wondering if you are Muslim.

You don't have to answer, just wondering.

The answer, if you do provide one, however, would shape my next potential comment.

localexpat said...

imaginate,

Take a guess ;-)

rosh said...

Hey what happened to the Poem LE? It's quite nice, really - simple, carefree and casual :)

localexpat said...

rosh,

hahah well just thought its not exactly inline with what this blog is about...

i*maginate said...

localexpat: I thought it would be best to bow out of any further comment gracefully. :)

Thanks for the witty response anyway ;)