Maldives prepares for Ramadan: English sermons, breakfast buffets, shopping

Friday sermons will be delivered in English at one of the mosques in capital Male’ during Ramadan, the Islamic Ministry has reported, as the country prepares for the holy month.

Ramadan in 2012 will start on July 20 and will continue for 30 days until Saturday, August 18.

Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed told local media that the ministry has received several requests for English sermons from expatriates living in Maldives.

“We have decided to try it out during Ramadan, because there are several foreign diplomats and teachers in Maldives,” Shaheem told Sun Online. “They don’t understand the sermon delivered in Dhivehi. They are more likely to be educated and informed if the sermon is given in English.”

Requests have been forwarded to the Al Azhar University to send scholars to deliver the sermons, the ministry says.

The mosque at which the Friday sermon will be delivered has not yet been disclosed.

Every Ramadan, Islamic Scholars from abroad visit Maldives for preaching and sometimes lead the congregation in the Taraweeh, special evening prayers in which long portions of the Qur’an are recited.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time of fasting, is one of the five pillars of Islam and represents a form of worship to Allah. Each day during this month, Muslims all over the world abstain from eating, drinking, sex, smoking, as well as participating in anything that is ill-natured or excessive; from dawn until the sun sets.

For centuries the locals have observed fasting with unique religious and non-religious traditions.

Maldivians make generous donations to Zakaath (Alms) funds and congregations at the mosques grow noticeably during Ramadan. Both expatriates and locals swarm the mosques, which offer dates and water for breaking the fast.

Furthermore, each year as Ramadan draws near, people buy new furniture and kitchenware and remake their homes – an opportunity the shops do not fail to take full advantage of.

Shops across the country, big or small, prepare for the “Pre-Ramadan shopping rush” with discounted prices and promotions. The largest crowd of shoppers will be spotted at the Night Market, annual bazaar organised by the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI). This year’s 10-day bazaar will open on July 1.

Meanwhile, the shops selling electronics to furniture have started their Ramadan sales.

The security forces will similarly gear up to patrol streets to keep the crime rates low, especially the robberies, while people are engaged in worship and work.

Allowances mandated to be paid under the Employment Act for Ramadan, short working hours, and the special discounted packages offered by service providers are also reasons why many eagerly await this month.

Restaurants are also seen changing menus and preparing  the “breakfast buffet” adverts, as several families and friends gather in restaurants to break the fast outside homes. Those who stay at home, are likely to indulge in home-made buffet ranging from short eats to traditional curries and rice.

Meanwhile, Ramadan means good business for the market in capital Male’, selling locally produced furits and vegetables. Several people swarm around the area to buy fresh and colorful  papayas, bananas or – the Maldivian’s all-time favourite – watermelons, which are especially harvested on the islands for Ramadan.

Furthermore, an increase in evening sports events, and entertainment programs on TV channels are also elements families looks forward to during Ramadan – although some scholars have been critically outspoken about these “Non-Islamic” traditions.

After a month of fasting, the country will celebrate Eid ul-Fitr with millions of Muslim across the globe with prayers and festivities.


15 thoughts on “Maldives prepares for Ramadan: English sermons, breakfast buffets, shopping”

  1. This sounds good, sort of a step towards progression, and possibly more educated lecturers with better intepretations and understanding of Islam and the Quran can actually enlighten the idiotic extremists of this world

  2. Our religious holiday, ramendan is also coming up judging by the pastafarian calenders. We shall eat lots of ramen during then.

  3. The annual binge eating and drinking festival is upon us. Maldivians will spend like they've never done before and gather several pounds of weight around their waists during this holy month.

    They will also waste food worth a small fortune, whilst reducing their already meagre levels of productivity to almost zero.

    This is reality. Was this how it was meant to be?

  4. English is the language of the colonialist oppressor. Beware of those who speak it too proficiently.

  5. what the hell are you trying to achieve with these remarks? And the whole "wives and concubines" take your sarcasm somewhere people actually give a crap, punk

  6. Which dialect of dhivehi did the prophet speak?

    Language is a means of communication nothing more, and if they gave sermons in arabic can guarantee that you can't understand tree stump from that,

    and Dhivehi is the same language those buddists spoke 1200 years ago, so shut up, really, shut up, am sick of your bullcrap,

    they are doing this so that the foreign muslims living in our country can understand what they are saying.. Islam did not begin in Maldives you retard,
    why dont you go help fareedh with his beard or something

  7. as a muslim expat living in this beautiful country, i am ashamed to see certain remarks following this article.

  8. A Maldivian leader who ruled the country in the mid twentieth century is reported to have argued that dictatorship is better for Maldives and that democracy would not suit Maldivians. According to him to give them freedom would be akin to giving a monkey a handkerchief. As the monkey would not know whether to wipe its face or bum with the handerchief so would the Maldivians would not know how to conduct themselves responsibilty and respectfully were they to have democracy and freedom. Most comments here seem to suggest that he was right.

  9. i have decided not to fast ! AAaaaarggh i have to do it secretly , being a Maldivian certainly sucks

  10. oh man.... wives & concubines and dhivehi hanguraama just got served. Rightfully

  11. Okay good.....together with the English sermons we urgently require to classify the Maldive into 7 parts so that the people of Maldives could enjoy a normal life. After the classification, we require to appoint a president for each part. The following shall be suitable for presidents:

    1. HE Mr Gasim Ibrahim
    2. HE Dr Didi
    3. HE Dr Hassan Saeed
    4. HE Mr Gayyoom
    5. HE Mr Thasmeen
    6. HE Mr Yaameen
    7. HE Mr Nasheed

  12. It is considered by many Muslims to be the height of selfishness not to struggle for the utopia created by the Prophet Mohammed. Of course, due to modern political realities in the Maldives, namely, the raw hunger for absolute power by a few extremely powerful on many sides willing to do whatever it takes to get power in the Maldives (I think Pinker's realism is fitting and correct here)nobody can achieve such a utopia through the executive mantle.

    I hope that Muslims in the Maldives are beginning to be aware that the nature of the executive mantle is destructive of the high ideals of social justice, peace, harmony, and moral purity which are the social objectives of Islam. The Prophet (SAW) and the Suhaaba were gifted with special Rahim to be pure, yet in our day and age, that special Grace will not return until the end times, even the Hadith testify to the fact that before the Madhi arrives there would be great corruption and darkness.

    Due to the high idealism of Islam and the demand that these ideals be struggled for, there will allways be resistance of any executive. If a Muslim scholar (Maumoon) is resisted, it will that he is not being true to Islam, be it the Islam of the liberals or the Islam of the Conservatives. Nobody had better balanced the demands for economic growth and development of tourism with the opposing demands of Muslim conservatives better than Maumoon, but in the end, mastery of scholarship, control of information, the ability to hypnotize and serenade the masses for contentment whilst repressing the extremes on both sides for the sake of the preservation of peace, all have their limits. The reality on the ground, the threat of violence from many sides renders the most idealistic President a Machiavellian.

    Perhaps Anni was hopelessly naive believing he could implement liberal ideals OR Islamic ideals in the Maldives through the acquisition of the executive mantle. Or perhaps he is merely a shameless opportunist, able to manipulate the sentiments of the liberals for support, knowing fully well that he is building hope which is destined to be smashed.

    Anyway, resistance will be perpetual, and rightly so, such is healthy so long as resistance is not threatening or violent. Yet the objectives of resistance, hope will allways be shattered, hearts, dreams broken,anger created if the people involved in that resistance seeks to implement the ideals driving such resistance through the political game which demands bribery, repression, violence, tyranny, lying for more than four years maintenance of the executive mantle.

    Change in the Maldives must come through a means other than a political party if that change is going to be realized even slightly.

    If the group resisting is to be as effective and as Islamic as possible, if it is not to lose its capacity to inspire, that group should neither seek nor accept the executive mantle, or else the integrity of such a group will be destroyed by realpolitic pressure.

    I would like to see a non-aligned Islamic based movement, teaching about the inner struggle of Islam, acting as a kind of welfare group in some manner, and as a people power like political lobby group, lobbying not for any individual, but for social justice for all routed in Islamic values of sharing, caring, oneness. They should be a community awareness raising, community educating civil movement. I think that they could criticize inhumane policies without naming names in order to remain open to all, universal, subjective.

    This, which I desribed above, is partly what I mean when I describe my ideal of separation of Mosque from state, what I imagine is not a complete separation but a relationship with mutual respect of the sovereignty of the realms of state and religion.

    Perhaps, in Ramadan, the Brothers could begin to unite withis in mind.

    My ideals are possibly crazy considering the depth that the amoral political culture in the Maldives has spread, yet, there is hope, I see from reading this, and from the extremely deep knowledge of liberal Islam I see in many Maldivians. If only the liberal scholars of Islam could separate themselves from strivings for the executive mantle and seek to inspire and enlighten rather than rule, an effective force for change could be realized.

  13. Wonderful words my friend 🙂 Its great to see people like you around

  14. @Ben Plewright on Wed, 20th Jun 2012 3:10 PM

    "It is considered by many Muslims to be the height of selfishness not to struggle for the utopia created by the Prophet Mohammed."

    Ben, dear boy, what happened to you? Much as I enjoy reading your posts, this one was just a non-starter. I was hoping to find some wisdom about the merits of Ramadhan from you, but alas, you've just rambled on about just everything!

    I hope you know that even God realises that giving humans a brain was a mistake.


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