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.