By Chafik Mohamed
By Chafik Mohamed
Oujda – One of the great paradoxes that marks the Moroccan community is the phenomenon of Tramdeen.
Tramdeen, derived from the word “Ramadan” (Islam’s holy month of fasting and praying) describes the anger and aggression that paradoxically accompanies the holy month.
Countless videos, and forum posts attest to the phenomenon. Ramadan, a month that is supposed to promote fasting, peace and good behavior, often promotes the very opposite. Just ask your friends or neighbors—how many times they have seen people become more aggressive—children yelling at their mothers, fist fights in the souq or taxi drivers driving with especial disregard for life and limb?
Of course, Morocco is not unique—Tramdeen hits Muslims all over the world. In fact, if you google “Anger during Ramadan,” you get over 750,000 responses! Why is there such a problem with anger during Ramadan? Well, simple explanations come to mind. People are hungry, and their blood sugar is low. People can’t drink water, and they are thirsty while working in the hot summer sun. Cigarette smokers can’t smoke, adding another major irritant to an already difficult month. Sex, of course, is reserved to the night-time hours, and many businesses (particularly in the restaurant/hospitality industry) hemorrhage profits. All of these factors can, understandably, lead to anger and aggression.
But for some reason Tramdeen does seem to hit Morocco especially hard and with pernicious violence. For example, last Monday in Fez, a young man was stabbed to death by his neighbor.
It is sad to think about the violence that accompanies Ramadan in Morocco, because of course Ramadan is all about self-control and rising above your anger, not giving in to it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) teaches us that Ramadan is the month of forgiveness, in which the gates of heaven are opened, and the doors of hell are strictly closed. The gates of hell and heaven, when interpreted metaphorically, also mean our own personal angels and demons: Ramadan should be about unleashing the best that is in us, and keeping the demons of our anger locked away behind the gates of faith.
So really Tramdeen is the polar opposite of what Ramadan means. Ramadan is a test of spiritual strength, of patience, of overcoming anger. Unfortunately Moroccans are failing that spiritual test, as demonstrated by our full hospitals and our streets filled with fights and curses.
So this Ramadan instead of opening the gates to our inner demons let us focus on the true, holy meaning of the fast: self-control. Let us encourage the angels of our better nature.
Edited by Ilona Alexandra
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