Here comes Rabiul-Awwal
When will those who claim to be our “leaders” focus their “demands” on actual needs of the hapless people they claim to represent? Take for instance this this recent report from The News. It quotes the the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) Karachi chief, Shabbir Abu Talib demanding amongst other things a two day official holiday for the birth (and death) anniversary of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
“The government should officially announce two-day holidays on the 11th and 12th or the 12th and 13th of Rabiul-Awwal” he insisted, whilst also calling for “uninterrupted electricity supply during Rabiul Awwal processions”, a “special cleanliness campaign” (as a part of which limestone should be sprinkled at roadsides, footpaths, grounds and garbage-dumping centres he demanded) and “high standards of law and order in the city” which would ironically include accommodations for crowds to proceed in processions without any barriers and prior permissions.
Even keeping aside the irony of his demand of a “high standard of law and order” which gives specific people part of the Rabiul Awwal festivities (although some now border on being gimmicks then festivities) the honor of being above the law, I cannot help but feel absolutely furious at seeing such reports.
Does Mr. Shabbir Abu Talib realise that the academic year has shrunk down to a mere 140 days because of a plethora of vacations, gazetted holidays, exam leaves, weekends, and unscheduled closures? Does he realise that several parts of the city are facing load shedding for as many as thee times a day (so much so that in some parts the total number of hours where power is cut of exceeds the total number of hours where you do get power!)?
Yet still there is the “demand” that there ought to be not one but two official holidays, who cares if this further compromises on on already feeble educational set up? “Uninterrupted power supply” for almighty processions and lighting up of mosques for the entire week approaching 12th Rabiul-Awwal are also entirely necessary despite the acute shortage of power the city faces.
What’s most disturbing is this we do this year after year in the name of our love for the Prophet, peace be upon him. I’d not want to go into a specific debate about the permissibility or otherwise of this event from a purely religious perspective, but I do understand that whatever disagreements their are amongst scholars regarding mawlid celebrations are not about the event it self, but about related “excessiveness”.
Why does our love for the blessed Prophet peace be upon him never extend beyond the festivities of attending processions and milads? Why is it restricted merely to these displays twice a year instead of a more all encompassing incorporation of his sunnah and ways of life into our every day life? Why don’t we ask our selves if the Prophet would have approved of such questionable use of already meager state resources in the name of celebrating his birthday? I’m sure there are better ways in which we can celebrate the life of the beloved Prophet.
Post script: It seems the government has accepted these demands, the Associated Press of Pakistan reports that the Governor of Sindh, Dr. Ishratul Ibad Khan, has announced holidays throughout the Province on 11th of Rabiul Awwal and 12th of Rabiul Awwal, corresponding to Thursday, the 20th and Friday the 21st of March respectively! There you go, two more days taken of the academic calender, just like that.