Once again I had about an hour to kill while driving kids around so decided to stop in at City Center Mall.
Browsing through the Next store, I noticed their in-store music was playing quite loudly. It was mid-afternoon and a quiet time of the day for shopping, so I was the only person in the store other than staff. I then heard the Adhan, or Islamic “Call to Prayer” coming over the loudspeakers from in the main area of the mall. Immediately, the young male storekeeper ran to the store’s back room and proceeded to turn off the in-store music. Why would that be? Though next time I need to remember to just ask for an explanation, I’ve made my own assumption as to why this might have occurred.
A couple of weeks ago there was a Letter to the Editor in the Gulf Times in which the writer stated his disapproval of loud music being played in stores around Qatar. Particularly as it blares over top of the Call to Prayer. In his letter he called on authorities to put a stop to what he believes is a disrespectful practice.
It seems someone within the ‘powers that be’ here in Qatar may agree and has since advised stores accordingly.
I also noted on one of the local chat forums the same day, folks were advising readers that the sale of alcohol in licensed establishments would cease shortly before midnight Thursday night, with yesterday being the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. Some were not pleased as it’s the first night of the weekend here and people had made plans to go out either to restaurants or nightclubs and this would put a damper on their evening.
Neither of these issues affects me either way; however it does seem more restrictions are being made which lean towards further conservativism within the State of Qatar.
As a post script, today there was another article in the Gulf Times in which a Qatari scholar criticised any such celebrations of the Prophet’s birthday. You can read the full article to gain the context in which he writes, but the statement made at the end, in particular, caused me some discomfort. It read … He also said that the celebration was always full of undesired things which oppose the essence of Islam. “There are many sins committed in the name of that day like free mixing of men and women in one area,” ….
I have a hard time understanding why the free mixing of men and women should be considered a sin. As I mentioned on a previous post, “seek first to understand” so if someone can enlighten me I look forward to that.
This life is all about relating with others. What do I miss if there are restrictions on who I may, or may not, mix with? I want to mix with the elderly, the young, all races, all cultures, women and men.
To me it is from these kinds of restrictions that instigate our lack of understanding and therefore prejudices against others.