2 September 2007

Ramadhan - All about the Tents

Hotels gearing up for Ramadan
2 September 2007

Gulf Daily News: HOTELS around Bahrain are gearing up for Ramadan with traditional tents, offering Arabic refreshments, entertainment and games.

Non-Muslims are welcome to all tents that usually remain open up to 3am.

And so goes it; businesses are gearing up to cash in on Ramadhan, and the people are looking forward to entertaining nights out after futoor, going from tent to tent, to coffee shop to restaurant. Ramadhan is now well known for its fun-filled nights and staying out late, following evenings of watching popular TV shows after over-exceeding the totally full mark on your stomache (and still having enough food on the table to feed another 2 or 3 families). Lets not forget the shorter working hours, and having the perfect excuse not to be efficient at your job (after all, we all know how hard fasting is on our productivity).

As we pass the middle of Ramadhan, the outings increase; more people start staying out later and later, and everyone seems to be in the malls and shops buying new clothes for Eid. The restaurants are full, the coffee shops are busy, the tents are over flowing with people. The popular roads are filled with youth; Adliya, Juffair, Exhibition Rd, Bukwara, all aimlessly driving around for fun of the cruise, or perhaps looking for a hook-up? More guys and girls out, dressed at their best; the guys in their finest, the girls overflowing in make-up, each looking from far, trying to make contact.

This is what Ramadhan is all about, isn't it?

Actually, no, it's not.

Did we forget? Wasn't Ramadhan the holy month? Aren't we fasting to remember the poor, those who can't afford to eat? Isn't this a month where we are supposed to get closer to God, pray more, ask for forgiveness for our sins?

When we fast, the pain of hunger is supposed to remind us of those that are out there who can't afford a bite to eat; we are supposed to feel the sting of hunger, thirst, and appreciate the life we've been given. The object of fasting is not to run away from the hunger, work less, and try to sleep it off, but to see the perspective of those who were given less than us. We're supposed to feel humbled, and consider the others who don't have what we have; to understand how it feels, and to go out there and try to help.

And what's the point if we know that, once it's time to break our fast, that we'll have a million and one varieties of food? And waste, oh how we WASTE. Already supermarkets are putting limits on purchases, because everyone is going out and over-stocking food, and buying a lot more than they need (most of it to be thrown away after futoor time). The newspapers are full of reports on so and so company bringing in more supplies, more food, more drinks, and so on. Why are we eating more? We're still the same number of people as we were before Ramadhan started. Does it make sense we're eating twice as much? Considering we have to be fasting half the time?

And after Futoor, it's all about the TV shows; slumped lazily on your sofa, munching on your sweets and snacks, laughing at the ridiculously pointless comedies of Dawood Hussain, or any of the other shows that promise to bring "drama" to a new level, but end up unfolding into another story of divorce, drugs, death, or some other sob-story.

Oh, and the outings all night, whether in a coffee shop, tent, or gahwa, you really couldn't come up with a better way to waste your time.

Holy month? Does the word mosque ring a bell? Reading the holy book? Praying? Helping others? Charity work? Anything???????

Please tell me Ramadhan hasn't yet lost all real meaning..


Anonymous said...

Self criticism is such a beautiful thing. If only people would listen and stop the ridiculousness of their ways. I am also glad that you once again pointed out the new lows that our youth continue to reach with their dressing up, make up and flirtation even during the "holy" month. If I said in an earlier posting that they have turned seef into a slutfest well in Ramadan it spills over into all our roads. GUYS it is NOT cool to be walking around a shopping mall and NOT shopping, waving your dish-dash around and hoping some girl will smile at you. If she does its called pity. GIRLS - If you want a boyfriend just get one, enough with the "oh he looked at me, no he didnt?" nonsense.

LiB Team said...

Nicely said, yeah people forget how a holy month this should be and it's not about only hunger and feeling the pain of the poor, it also is a spiritual month where you are supposed to control your urges, be them food, sex or even violent for example. People tend to become worse and lose their temper faster and then blaming it on fasting, fasting is supposed to heal you, not make you turn into a complete jerk.

Then again Some and I repeat, SOME, Bahrainis have no respect to God and don't fast at all during Ramadhan. Not only that, and not only disrespect for God or the holy month. Even on other occasions you see Bahraini pilgrims during Omrah flirting in Makkah's malls and walking around the Holy Kaaba talking in their mobiles and to each other loudly and obnoxiously.

Anonymous said...

Hey ! Greetings of the season in advance ...

Anonymous said...

No Ammar, I'm sure Ramadhan hasn't lost all real meaning, not as long as there are ppl like you and others who still remember what it's all about:)
I'm really excited, Allah yballe'3na jamee3an yarab. And Ramadhan kareem for everybody in advance:)

Anonymous said...

My dear Ammaro!!! Oh my dear… my dear… my dear… I lived 15 years in Kuwait, with my father (I mean the Kuwaiti half)… I was taken from my mum when I was 7! Why do you think I never adopted Islam? Why do you think the first chance I got I ran away back to Finland? Maybe if I have seen people who believed! I mean from heart! I mean love their religion and follow it as it should be! I don’t mean killing a girl because she spoke with a guy! I don’t mean fasting Rjab, Sha3ban and Ramadan or praying with such an ear-splitting voice that the neighbors could hear you! I mean doing what should be done from heart with out pretending or trying to force all that fakeness on others! Maybe if I saw a good religion I would be a Muslim now! But I’m not! I read the Islam, and the Quran and studied it well (I did ask many questions that were never answered though)! But today almost no one does what Islam truly says it should be done!

On the other hand man! I do miss those crazy Ramadan days that are full of fun!! :D I loved going out hanging around and MAN that food!!! I miss that! ;)

Great subject! :D

Mirror Polisher said...

True for some people Ramadan has lost its meaning. It's become a month of:

1. going on a diet
2. having late nights out coz all the shops are open till wee hours of the morning
3. working less hours
4. slacking at work coz if you are full of energy then you simply can't be fasting!!!
5. getting up late
6. shopping...oh yeah ramadan has been commercialized as well

But having said that, the Holy spirit of this month still touches a lot of soul. If one is not too busy sleeping or eating or watching those shows, they would feel it.

Great post

Dr. Shale bin Agnon said...

I am having a heart attack laughing at this post. I have met Muslims who do the whole Ramadan thing very authentically, but it is good to hear that in your part of the world RAMADAN = CHRISTMAS (Santa Claus's birthda). It re-emphasises the fact that humanity is all the same.

KJ said...

If there is one thing I hate about human beings, it is their behaviour in Ramadan.

What you said is true, particularly the 700 varieties of meals on the table all of which get discarded.

El7amdella we eat only soup and some other light food and later at night we eat something regular.

El7amdella 3a kol 7al w inshalla nenreze2 leilat el qadr

Yacoub Al-Slaise said...

I'm looking forward to taking my vacation this Ramadan, being it the perfect month to chill out at home and to keep my blood pressure down from the hellish traffic jams and soaring heat lol.

I don't know why but I get this weird feeling that many kids nowadays don't understand Ramadan and why they fast and what's so good about, they've become ignorant and it's very scary..

And speaking of overindulgence and buying and cooking way too much food, many families do ilhamdulillah give their excess food to the poor, but what happens is that they poor families end up having way too much food and end up throwing it!

Some Islamic societies and charities have ilhamdulillah thought of a way to help these poor families by giving cash from (Zakat Il-Fitir) to them rather than buying them food.

Mubarak 3alaikom ilshahar

Shionge said...

I appreciate your thoughts about the true meaning of Ramadan and yes with commercialisation it is crazy out there at the mall, supermarkets etc.

It is the same with our Lunar New Year too and as you rightly pointed out, it is so wasteful.

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this. The concept of appreciating Ramadan as a holy month has been in my mind for so long now. I was never really into the drama shows, or the fawazeer either. Neither was it ever about fun and staying up late and overeating.

Maybe because I refused to follow the society. Ammar this is business, and those who choose to ignore religious thought during regular days wish to cover it up with entertainment and fun!

SILVER said...

i think people can manage doing both. People can go to mosques pray and read the Quran, and can also go out with friends for a cup of tea and have a late dinner. Nothing wrong with that
I do get your point though, some people live ramadan as its EID !!
Balance is always the key word here

Anonymous said...

no.. it hasnt lost all its real meaning as luckily, there are still those out there who appreciate this month for what it really stands for..

another one of the insane things during this month is how dangerous driving gets closer to iftar time.. it's drive or die!

Allah Ebaleghna Ramadan inshAllah.. Embarak 3laikum el shahar..

Ammaro said...

Well guys, thanks for the comments; there are a few people who know what ramadhan is all about, and although there is nothing wrong with going out, having fun etc, it's just that the whole concept seems to have been twisted into an overexaggeration of late nights out, overeating, and generally being useless...

nora i'm very sorry you had to see the wrong side of the religion; but then, i dont blame you for not believing in it strongly. In these parts, everyone is Muslim by name, not by nature; the muslims who most believed in the religion and practiced it word for word (that i've met during my life) were all from Europe and the US, not here...