New culture of Ramadan – Drag-Racing, Hooliganism & Satellite Television
There are certain sayings (ahaadith) of our beloved Nabi Muhamamd (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) that do not seem to be realistic unless we witness his words played out, in real-life, before our eyes. Once such hadith is the oft-quoted one that Allah has no use of a person’s fasting who does not stay away from evil. Such a person’s fasting produces nothing but hunger and his devotions at night causes nothing but tiredness. Indeed, a certain segment of the Muslim community of South Africa not only aptly fits this description, but have even added a more virulent dimension to it.
Allah says in the Qur’an that fasting has been prescribed upon you so that you may attain unto piety (2:183). A mere verse thereafter, Allah says: “It is the month of Ramadaan in which we revealed the Qur’an, and a clear sign for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong.” (2:185) The import of these verses are clear: Ramadaan is the month in which our best characters are displayed, in which we harvest the virtue of our deeds and in which we exert ourselves in prayers and devotions so as to become a better and more conscious Muslim. What we notice, however, is a complete reversal if not anti-climax of this. We tend to display the worst of our behavior, we seem to hook-up with the most evil company and frequent the most filthy of places; far from becoming friends of Allah, we are in-fact coveting satan and his army of misfits.
What am I referring to? Read the following eye-witness account of Zubeir Loonat who witnessed such behavior in Lenasia a few days ago:
“All the years I’ve been there (at the Freeway Plaza & Select in Ext. 13, after Taraweeh of course), never have I witnessed such hooliganism as I have this last Saturday night. I object to these neanderthals being labeled as “drag racers”, us racers do it professionally at the drag strip or track, these are more the offspring of satan with no respect and disregard for human life! Cars and guns are supposed to be kept in capable hands, and witnessing the happenings of the night, I would have been safer in the wild west! Metro police were thrown with bottles, they retaliated by pulling out their firearms, irresponsible drivers attempted wheelspins and doughnuts in a populated area where cars and people were but cm’s away!
Girls wearing scarves were making out with guys not even in secluded areas but in full view of everyone. Cars out of control, climbing curbs, crowds running for their lives, others cheering on were all frequent occurrences. Islamic clad youth playing sound systems, the stench of weed (dagga/marijuana) in the air, fights and vulgarity were the order of the night…If u managed to get a parking spot from the hundreds if not more cars there, you would be parked in by inconsiderate drivers who left their vehicles unattended. The crowd or should I say mob was huge. My presence there only added to hype and crowds, I realized that by me being there, I was actually encouraging this sort of activity. I left with my head hanging in shame, thinking do parents know where their sons and daughters are? Do they even care? C’mon, its a blessed and auspicious month, one we not guaranteed to see again if our lives are short lived…instead we behave worst in this month than any other…”
Another brother who witnessed the incident said: “Today I am ashamed to be a Muslim. I feel compelled to make some sort of attempt to rectify this because if I don’t, then I as a member of the community will have to answer to Allah about why I did nothing.” Ashamed as he was at the vacillating behavior of our youth, this brother was even more ashamed for another reason. A person from the Hindu community who witnessed all this display of ignorance, depravity and hooliganism a few days in a row and being blocked in traffic for long periods of time due to the obstruction, actually asked: “Is this a tradition of Ramadaan”! What a crying shame! In this blessed month when we should be begging for forgiveness and spending more time in tilaawat and dhikr, we portray hooliganism as part of our faith! With such a baneful projection of Islam, can we ever hope others to love Islam, never mind embrace the faith? This is the reason why Hindus, our domestics, and other Christians living amongst us for years do not even have an inclination to learn about Islam, never mind embrace it. Whislt we may get away from Allah form not causing someone to embrace Islam, but driving them away from Islam and leaving a negative impression of it is never pardonable!
Such incidents not only take place in Lenasia, but also in Azaadville, Johannesburg and Laudium in various degrees. Last year, the Laudium police had to appeal to the community at large to control their youth who had also made hoax bomb calls to the police. On one occasion, they had caused such a din that the entire community around the Jumu’ah Masjid could not sleep until the time of fajr. As these youngsters indulge in such depraved activities openly in this month of Ramadaan with such regularity, it seems that outsiders are beginning to interpret such behaviour as the after-effects of fasting and Qur’an!
Is refraining from drinking and eating for several daylight hours so difficult for people that it causes a total nervous breakdown? The fourth pillar of Islam, it seems, is just that for many of us a change from night to day and day to night, an adjustment of eating times and an excuse to eat more lavishly at iftaar and release their pent-up energy on weekend nights after spending the entire day sleeping! Do they only become satan incarnate on weekends, what about weekday nights? The satellite television comes to their rescue. What better way to kill time than to flip through 80 channels ranging from sport to drama and pornography rather than lifting our hands in sincere supplication and begging Allah to alleviate the plight of this ummah from its wounds from which fresh blood gushes with increasing momentum day by day.
In the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia and other so-called Muslim countries, the entire system changes in Ramdaan. Shops are closed for most of the day whilst they remain open for most of the night. If these shops are busy at night, it would mean that most of the people sleep during the day! Is this is what fasting all-about? What about school-learners and civil servants? Most teachers complain of sleepy children at school, their heads bobbing up and down fighting sleep, and re-schedule their tests for after Ramadaan whilst it is a widespread practice that people hardly frequent government agencies in Ramadaan. The reason? Simple. Either the person will not be at his desk or will ask you to come back tomorrow, then tomorrow until after Ramadaan! Fasting produces vigour, but it seems it has an opposite effect on such people! It would seem that the next logical thing to do then is to switch day to night and night to day for schools and government agencies then in such countries. In practice it is happening, only then missing taraweeh and totally forgetting the spirit of Ramadaan will become official!
Coming back to South Africa, we have to ask: where are we going wrong?
1. The first port of blame lies squarely at the doorstep of the parents who make no time to teach their children right from wrong. The parents who convince themselves that they don’t need to love their children if they can give them a car as a gift. The parents who have not taught their children about the importance of performing their salaah or the virtues of Ramadaan. The parents who think nothing if their child kills someone as their money will make up for it. The parents who have spoilt their children so rotten that these kids do not know the value of life.
2.Such parents should first set an example by their own action and behaviour. Starting from today, they should make sure that their children go to the Masjid for taraweeh by taking them themselves and bringing them home themselves straight after taraweeh. They should engage in tilaawat and other acts of virtue together: “Our children are a reflection of their parents.”
3.This also applies to our daughters too! From the accounts, there was an equal number of girls there watching the racing. The boys could have duped their parents into thinking that they are at taraweeh, but not the girls. For those girls to be there, their parents have knowingly allowed them to go out during salaah time. So their parents condone this and do not mind the obscenity! If this is indeed the case, no amount of awareness will change the situation as it has the tacit permission of parents: “Let the Ulama and community speak all they want, if our parents give us permission and do not mind, to hell with them!” We should then not moan and groan when Allah visits us with calamity and problems.
4.The Ulama and community should not only bemoan this situation, but create a healthy alternative to channel the energies of the youth in the correct direction. They should try to organize supervised alternate events and barbecues and accompany their children in their nightly activities. This will make them more responsible and their choice of activities more responsible. A mini-jalsah of sorts can be held to condition their minds to the month of Ramadaan and in which they can freely participate. Indeed, if the community leaders do not befriend the upcoming generation, their words will be as hollow to them as the shell of an egg.
May Allah guide us all upon the right path – Ameen.