A Simple Thought – Friday, 23rd April 2021

Feckless Muslims, Mighty Ramadhan

I keep wondering if this is an irony or a cliche.  As the Holy Month of ramadhan starts, each year, we notice the fecklessness of fellow Muslims, who seem to retreat to a nocturnal life, completely asleep in the working hours of the day.  The Arabs do it, we are told because of their intense heat, but notice that it is the haves who are fond of this, the bourgeois can rarely afford this luxury.  In East Africa, the nights are set ablaze by a variety of events that include grand iftaars, lengthy get togethers of a recreation nature and of course, a festival of sports and sorts.  This pretty much renders our brothers and sisters empty-headed during the day, unable to think straight, to react well or to continue the pursuit of life’s daily struggles.

Today, this lifestyle is no longer privy to the upper class.  The exemplars in them have caused everyone else to mimic this aimless and empty life of Ramadhan.  Waking up before dhuhr to start the day, then peck up with friends to whole the rest of the day, while precious life moments are drained out in preparation of the fully loaded nightly events.  From afar, it does seem to outsiders that Islam is rather punitive, and the first reason for this commandment that is casually uttered by everyone – that of empathising with the homeless and the hungry, is pretty much cancelled out by long hours of starvation spent in snooze.  To outsiders, fasting seems so senselessly detrimental to the Muslim economy that entire clocks are tweeked to accommodate the least suffering on the part of the practicing Ummah.

I was fascinated to recently watch a vlogger (a non-Muslim), spurred by her audience to try out a whole day of fasting, in which what she experiences the most was pangs of hunger, but in the end, admits learning self control and will power.  As an anticlimax, a visting Muslim friend a couple of hours before Iftar, expresses such aw about how is father, in construction work, slogs the whole day and spends his life normally at work, day in and day out.  Then quickly admits to drinking water throughout the day to counter any adverse effects in the hot climate of his city, especially during these uncertain times.  Wonder if any of the followers will even realise that there is no water fast in Islamic tenets.  But how long before this becomes pop culture in the name of good health?

Ramadhan and its days and nights are truly special.  The trials we face during the day while working (and certainly not limited to hunger and thirst), enable us to mould our characters better, knowing well that we are in an act of obedience whose whole objective is to gain taqwa.  If we remain sleep, will we ever learn that? And as adults keep doing this, we set a trend for our young to postpone real life issues and decisions in favour of sleep.  Sleep that is highly discouraged during daytime, no matter how many times we twist the tale of sleep being an act of worship.  That is nothing but complacence and an abuse of the Almighty’s generousity.  If we neither spend nights in reflection and learning, nor the day in wakeful practice, fasting is truly arduous and perhaps does not make much sense after all.

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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