By Ghadeer Ghloum
KUWAIT: The month of Ramadan and days of Eid are two remarkable examples of religious celebrations that have a spiritual impact on Muslims. However, three women shared with Kuwait Times their concerns about society’s obsession with showing off and replacing the spiritual beauty of Ramadan and Eid celebrations with materialistic things. Om Abdullah, a middle-aged woman and a mother of three, said: “Celebrating has started to become very demanding and costly. Whether it is Girgian, ghabga, Graish, Eid or any other celebration, many preparations are expected.” .
According to her, people’s excessive interest in appearances has become overwhelming. “In Ramadan, women love to wear a dara’a (Ramadan dress) that used to be bought for very affordable prices, an average of KD 15. Today, women wear dara’as that exceed KD 50,” Om Abdullah said. Amid people’s competition over fashionable looks, the beauty of Ramadan’s simplicity and spirituality might fade away. In agreement with Om Abdullah’s comment, Om Aziz, also a mother of three, complained about the high standards that are set by society over Ramadan and Eid celebrations. “I start to worry about Eid and Ramadan expenses before they arrive because simplicity is no longer acceptable.
Wearing a simple and low priced dara’a or Eid clothes makes you somehow insecure and uncomfortable, because you will feel left out and unsophisticated,” she said. Because everyone is wearing overpriced clothes, Om Aziz sees that in order to be seen as part of the community, she has to put on an expensive look. According to Om Aziz, many people today are seeking materialistic fulfillment rather than spiritual reward of the holy month of Ramadan and Eid, which devalues the genuine impact on Muslims’ inner peace and closeness to Allah.
“We used to enjoy the simplicity of this time of the year because we used to focus mainly on doing our religious duty and feel spiritually fulfilled,” she said. Om Shaheen, a mother of two, expressed her dissatisfaction with teenage boys and girls competing to show off their possessions of high-end brands. “At the ages of 15 and 16, I see girls and boys spending their allowance on high-end brands to put on their best looks and fit in with other teenagers,” she said. Youngsters’ preoccupation with materialism during religious celebrations worries Om Shaheen.
“Kids usually learn from their elders’ actions. I cannot blame teenagers for moving in this direction, but I do blame their elders because they must teach these teenagers the spiritual value of Ramadan and Eid and help them understand what exactly are they celebrating as Muslims.” According to Om Shaheen, it is important to teach young Muslims the value of their religion and the celebrations that are related to it, otherwise their belief will become fragile and brittle because they do not have a clear understanding of its authentic meaning.