Depending on location, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan either began yesterday or begins today or tomorrow. It depends on the sighting of the new moon during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
Globally, more than a billion Muslims observe Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam (the other four being the profession of faith, ritual prayer, the payment of alms, and at least one pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able). Ramadan is a time for spiritual purification attained through fasting, prayer, and self sacrifice. Although fasting during Ramadan is not obligatory for all segments of Muslims, those who do fast are expected to abstain from food, beverages, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk during the holy month.
Although I was raised Catholic, after 9/11 and for the following five years, I empathy fasted during Ramadan. I figured all those years of Lenten sacrifices were good preparation and training. As it turned out, I spent three of those five Ramadans in the majority Muslim country of Jordan. But, although Lent lasts longer than Ramadan, Ramadan, in some ways, is a greater physical challenge. I found it extremely difficult to go without fluids during daylight hours, and so I had to bend the rules and allow myself to rehydrate (with water only, though. . .nothing caloric).
Although dishonor killings pre-date Islam by centuries and are against the tenets of Islam, the fact remains that they are indigenous to many Muslim countries, and many of these crimes are committed by Muslims. I often wonder, in the aftermaths of these heinous crimes, how the perpetrators reconcile their deeds with their stated faith. Or do they even make the connection?
More prevalent in and specific to Jordan, I wonder how the busybodies and the gossips reconcile their actions and the consequences of their actions with their faith. It is the only country of which I'm aware whose course of history has been changed, in part, due to the spreading of untruths and whose current leader has recently resorted to media interviews in an effort to curtail this damaging, irresponsible national addiction.
When the late King Hussein of Jordan on his deathbed changed the succession from his long-serving brother to his neophyte eldest son, he did so via a letter that stated in part, "My small family was offended by slandering and falsehoods, and I refer here to my wife and children."
Now that son, King Abdullah, has ruled for almost a decade. In an interview he granted with Petra, the Jordan news agency, in July 2008, the king said, “. . . it is extremely important that we all at least make a sincere effort to understand. . .without resorting to negativities, rumours, character assassinations and emotional arguments. Today, I am extremely shocked and dismayed at the low level of debate transpiring in some elite and media circles.” “I remember once having a conversation with my father, God rest his soul, about rumours circulating around a certain government official. He told me to be very careful before repeating anything I heard, because he said the difference between a lie and the truth is very simple – proof. He said that people who make dangerous claims that can jeopardize people’s reputations and careers without any proof are either ignorant or cowards. He told me that we would never allow Jordan to be hijacked by cowards and ignorant. Today, this is my message to my brothers and sisters, the honourable citizens. . .” “. . .using blatant lies and childish rumours. . .is not fair play and is unacceptable.” “It seems that some of our journalists forgot what journalism is all about. It is about reading, researching and investing in pursuit of the truth; not sitting behind a desk, making up silly stories.” “. . .some so-called journalists are too careless and incompetent to do their basic work; it is shameful. . .Indeed, our worst enemies lie within. Should Jordan’s future be held hostage to rumours and gossip? And should false information be the reference for our Jordanian press? Should we remain silent until the truth becomes the victim of irresponsible journalism?” “. . .throughout my life I’ve realized something; the smartest people I meet are the ones who easily admit that they don’t know something and then work hard to find answers; the ones who always get into trouble are the ones who claim to know it all. . .I. . .believe that more than anytime in history, the success of institutions, companies and indeed nations, is contingent on their ability to attract and nurture talent wherever it may come from. . .In Jordan we can’t claim that we know how to do everything well, like all countries around the world it is sometimes good for us to use international experts for our own benefit.” “It’s funny that these people who are spreading these bankrupt theories have inherent suspicions of everything that has succeeded in this modern world, and cannot propose alternative paths for success. Because they do not have a credible vision for the future, they immerse themselves in negativity and romanticize mediocrity. . .” "I will take the cue from the verse from the Holy Koran: In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate, “O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done”. And the first word of God Almighty to our beloved Arab Hashemite Prophet Mohammad: Read. We should read about the world around us before we judge ourselves and let us learn from the experiences of others, let us be open to the world and unafraid, for this is the only way we will progress. Let knowledge be your weapon and don’t believe rumours, especially when someone tells you “it’s from reliable sources”.”
And, so, on this Ramadan, I wish my Muslim brothers and sisters Ramadan kareem and appeal to them to consider that both dishonor killings and the spreading of falsehoods are against the tenets of Islam and to work toward better solutions and improved interpersonal relations. To be fair, in both situations, it is a case of the few ruining it for the many, for most people do know right from wrong, mashallah.
Causes Ellen Sheeley Supports
For All Women Foundation