The holy and blessed month of Ramadan has several lessons to teach the community such as brotherhood, love, peace, discipline, closeness to the creator and one crucial, in fact, underlining a very important lesson- patience.
Fasting from dawn to dusk, staying without food and water, and the worldly desires that demand just one thing – patience. Patience to abstain from desires and control one’s urges until commanded to do so, after the call of the maghrib adhaan or at sunset.
Towards the end of Ramadan this year, an unprecedented incident happened in New Zealand that suddenly shattered all the lessons we were trying to learn or inculcate in this holy month.
This is the confusion that was created on the evening of the 29th Ramadan (Tuesday, June 4) when the community was eagerly waiting for the Muslim authorities in New Zealand to announce the sighting of the moon and declare the Eid date.
The impatience amongst the highly enthusiastic individuals waiting for the announcement is what led me to pen this editorial pointing out to a simple yet potent subject of ‘patience’ that we, the Muslim community tried to learn this month and it was supposed to be brought into practice in our lives, especially during testing times.
To explain the whole issue for those who are not familiar with what happened: Tuesday evening, June 4, started on a very exciting note for the Muslim community as 29th Ramadan was just completed and news was afloat that Eid will be celebrated on Wednesday, June 5 – the moon sighting was to confirm the same news.
In this age of social media and news spreading like wildfire in seconds, people from different nationalities living in different parts of the country found news on social media that Eid will be on Wednesday in some countries, with UAE already having observed the Eid prayers and many countries such as Australia, UK, Pakistan declaring Eid on Wednesday.
Here’s what happens next: FIANZ, the umbrella body of the Muslim community in New Zealand authorised and responsible for announcing the Eid date, faces a technical snag or, as reported, ‘an alleged hacking’ due to which a draft memo that stated ‘moon sighted and Eid to be observed in NZ on Wednesday- June 5’ gets released on its website without the knowledge and authorisation of the governing body, FIANZ.
With this release, several community organisations downloaded and shared the memo on their pages of the said Eid date. FIANZ in the meantime realises this alleged hack or technical snag and announces on Facebook, almost immediately to ignore the website as the memo/news update posted there is fake and without its knowledge and authorisation.
This post warning or informing people of the unprecedented situation became viral or rather received in a poor light by the community while FIANZ was still working on sighting the moon using its said scientific methods and coordinating with its members stationed across different parts of the nation looking for the crescent moon.
Within minutes of this ‘warning’ post of FIANZ, there erupted an unending chain of questions, queries, doubts, slander, blame games and everything negative that could float on that particular social media post on FIANZ’s page.
The second post of FIANZ informing the community that the FIANZ Hilal team is still looking for the moon further received more flak from the community.
The wait for almost an hour-and-a-half saw more than 700 comments on Facebook, a majority of them directed negatively toward FIANZ with a cascade of cursing, negativity and blaming in the comments section.
Witnessing the craziness on social media, I wondered “haven’t we learnt anything from this holy month? Patience? Let the people responsible for the job, do their job?”
This was a testing time for the community because of an unprecedented leak that happened from FIANZ’s end, of which FIANZ informed the community and later lodged a police complaint to investigate the fiasco.
People on social media lost their patience and cool asking why the Hilal committee could not find the moon, whereas countries overseas have declared their dates as Wednesday? Why could FIANZ not follow Australia or UAE, etc.?
Although some questions were valid, impatience was not, slander was not, negativity was not. Ever since the announcement, it felt as though we are living in a state of paradox – preaching patience throughout the month on the one hand and not practising it at the time when it was needed the most. It was as though we had learnt nothing from this holy month!
This issue of ‘impatience’ is of grave concern for the community seconded by slander, which is strictly against the ethos of this passing holy month of Ramadan.
Patience and calm is what the community needs – to know, understand, react better and not to hurt one another, judge one another, spoil the unity and create unnecessary discomfort and draw bad reputation to the community.
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