Postcard from Freetown: Ramadan Blues – “Religiosity amuses me”

Some forth night ago it was the start of Ramadan Kareem a holy month in Islam where Muslims from all over the world honour one of the pillars of Islam to pray and fast for forty days abstaining from a list numbers of do’s and don’ts. Ramadan is a holy month in which Muslims reflects on their lives, give charity to the poor and lead a holy life promoting peace and oneness among all, praying to Allah for blessing and guidance as they  journey on in serving him.

I was born into a Muslim family and the entire class of my family are Muslims but I don’t practice Islam in any way or form. One question I failed to ask my mum before she passed away was how come she being a Christian got involved with my dad who is a Muslim and produced three kids for him? Oh well, love knows no boundaries nor can religion deter it when two people love each other but my investigative mind would have loved to understand what led her to embark on that path with my dad. My dad is a religious Muslim, to the best of my knowledge you only see his religiosity during the month of Ramadan and after that he returns back to the normal status quo of living life randomly as it pleases him and pray whenever he wants something from Allah.

Since I have been in Freetown these past few months, I was stunned to see my dad going to the Mosque to pray. Well that only started when it was close to the Ramadan period, as he was building points with God. He does his five daily prayers; wear his Kaftans and looking all religious and sober. Honestly each time I see him I could not stop myself but burst in silent laughter in my heart at the whole vagueness of religion. People do religion when it suites them and at their own convenience whether it is Christianity or Islam. This I have a big issue with.

To complete this surreal observation of my family, I turn my focus to my immediate elder brother. He is one of the loudest creature you can find on planet earth but these days he is all chilled and mellowed up and does his five daily prayers religiously and later menaces around but believes Allah will leave some mercy for him. I cannot but shake my head as to how people of his type use religion as a by-product for their satisfaction and comfort.

The atmosphere in our house has changed since Ramadan started. We used to blast circular music from all sorts of musos, from international to local artist and it’s been all fun but since the month of Ramadan started, all you hear is some religious preaching sermon playing on a repeat mode with no one listening but rather done so as to commemorate and show off to neighbours and those passing by that the holy month of Ramadan is being observed, this also I have issues with.

Generally, the mode in Freetown has changed in so many ways, majority of the people are Muslims and the crass of this bunch you will find on the east end of town, like the Fullah town area, mountain cut and central area. Here you’ll see the hypocrisy of religion being practiced to its full capacity. These days I see people who have not being going to the Mosque nor pray five times a day, dressed up religiously, speak religiously, and walk religiously because it’s the month of Ramadan. They join the crass of devoted Muslims to pray five times a day and fast at the start of Ramadan and mid way the fasting period the chaff will be separated from the grain as many will fall out and go back to their frivolous and none committal ways of what being Muslim or Islam is not all about.

In a deregulated economy like Sierra Leone where nothing is regulated but consumers are at the mercy of the traders’ pity, food prices are now skyrocketed as a means of making profit from the situation. The irony is most of these traders are Muslims and I am thinking if one should go by what Ramadan is all about, why hike food prices when it is a month of charity where families cook and give food to the poor, invite their neighbours and friends to break fast with them at sunset? I still can’t fathom the psychology behind such thinking.

Today marks day four since I have been fasting with my Muslim brothers and sisters, and you might wonder, I thought he said he’s not a Muslim, well I am not a Muslim but this has been a tradition for me since I was ten years old. Every month of Ramadan I do the whole twenty nine or thirty days of fasting and praying, I don’t go to the Mosque but I pray in my own stead and communicate with my creator in my own way. I am not a religious inclined being, I am more spiritual and have a universal belief that God is one whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or otherwise.

The Ramadan blues is alive in Freetown and the acting up and shenanigans continue. It is my hope that people will come to the realization of serving their God faithfully whether it’s the month of Ramadan or not. The good thing right now is there is some sanity in town, the atmosphere is pure, people are calm, the vibe is positive and all the cursing and toxic flows of negative energy seem to have disappeared on the streets of Freetown as majority of the people are tuned to their creator in holy reverence and prayer. What will happen at the end of August when the month of Ramadan ends I can’t tell but will sure do write about it as things unfold itself.

@DanteBello On Twitter.

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3 Responses to “Postcard from Freetown: Ramadan Blues – “Religiosity amuses me””

  1. hello dantebello,

    i understand and to an extent share your frustration with selective religiosity.
    however, non-uniform religious observance is not necessarily indicative of hypocrisy. it is especially difficult to label as hypocritical an observance such as fasting which is invisible to the world. if people eating secretly while publicly claiming to be fasting, that would be hypocritical. is this not simply a case of a weakness of faith? after all, ramadan is a time to consciously increase one’s level of god consciousness, irrespective of where you begin.

    peace

  2. Thanks Khany – Your comments are noted and thanks for reading. God bless,
    Dante

  3. LOL!!! I can relate, totally!!! I’m American, husband African (Mali) and Muslim. This hypocracy is a vein running through all religions. I tend to shy away from organize religions, and the showiness of the people practice. But, I definitely embrace them all in some way, shape or form. Liked this post a lot.

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