Today is the first day of Ramadan – the Muslim fasting month. It is a public holiday in the Maldives and indeed a very special day. The mosques are full at prayer times. The general fabric of society still seems to hold onto its expressed Islamic rituals at the basic level.
People take to things like performing their prayers when they can, fasting during the month of Ramadan, giving zakaath, and going on pilgrimage to Mecca. These are all expressions of the Islamic faith. A recent addition to the expression of Islam in the country is the dress code a few men and especially most women. The men parade long beards, some shorten their trousers, and yet others wear kurtha style dresses and few wear Afghan style turbons. The majority of women seem to have gone for dressing accompanied by the burugaa for covering the head and their bossoms, while a few have covered up their faces except for the eyes, few including the eyes as well.
Yet manifestations of society seem to be inching away, more and more from the doctrine of Islam and the Islamic way of life. Corruption, drug abuse, sex outside marriage, homosexuality, intolerance, bullying, taking revenge, deceit; all seem to be accepted by society. There is always someone or something to blame.
The month of Ramadan is a month of special religous importance. Yet, we have over the years developed a Ramadan Culture that is build around excessive entertainment, wasteful feasts: and on top of all, intolerance. We have been conditioned to believe that Ramadan is a month of high temperaments and bullying.
Simply put, Islamic values are non-existent in the Islam that is practised in our country. The culture is such that Islam is more like an external fabric than a faith that is not practised even by those who preach it.
Lucky draws – which wer once thought to be a form of lottery is the most widely practised form of entertainment in Ramadan. This is in addition to the build up to the wild nights of entertainment for the Ramadan Festival of Fithru Eid. In Maldives, Isalm has evovled into a mockery of the faith that it represents. The Almighty Allah and His last Messenger are not a considertion in our way of life today. Yet we would like to demand the benefits of being a hundred percent Muslim country, so that we will have the comfort and peace of mind of being the privileged in this world and the Hereafter.
We all claim to know that the Islamic Way is the way for getting the best of this world and the Hereafter. Yet, we seem to believe that the Islamic Way is not practical and not compatible with the necessities of the modern times. We want our children to love Allah, yet not fear Him!
We have amongst us those who preach what they fail to practise. They disguise their failures in the culmination of Islamic Values and the Islamic Way in our society, by arguing for a Constitution that demands that all Maldivians are Muslim.
We cannot be Muslim unless we start to teach our children to fear Allah! He who created Man and Woman knows best about them! If we want to be Muslim, we have to follow what His Messeger preached us. We have to love him and want to be like him; by inculcating the values that he practised, in our children. That would be the way to have a hundred percent Muslim state; not by claiming to be a hundred percent Muslim, in the constitution.