Sunday, July 05, 2015

Ramadan Diary ~ 2015 ~ Day Eighteen

Ibn Warraq continues his Ramadan musings...

In a follow up to my earlier thoughts on Ramadan TV, figures are out for the number of people watching. According to MarocMétrie the series "Nayda f'douar" broadcast by 2M is at the most watched program over the last four days. On average, across the country, Moroccans watched television for 4 hours a day.

According to the latest report by the audience measurement body MarocMétrie, "Nayda f'douar" the second season of the sitcom "Kenza f'douar", was watched by seven million viewers. The Turkish soap opera "Samihini", dubbed into Darija was in second place with six million viewers.

On Channel One, the Moroccan series "Waadi" attracted 5 million people followed, in second place by the much derided candid camera show."Hamaka" with about three million viewers.

Hamaka has 3 million viewers

Interestingly Channel One (Al Oula) has  25% of the national audience, up from only 17.5% the first few days of Ramadan.

2M has lost much of its audience,  attracting a 38.5% audience share. MarocMétrie says that a large number of Moroccans shun the national television channels and at the start of Ramadan 29% opted to switched to foreign channels. I can't say I blame them.

Nayda f'douar has 7 million viewers

Where are all the djinns during Ramadan?

Late last night, well after Ftour, my friend Richard and I went to a neighbour's house and walked in on a heated discussion. To an outsider it must have sounded like an argument over a referee's decision in a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. But, as is the way during Ramadan, it was actually a theological discussion - well sort of.

When Richard, who is American and has limited Darija, asked me what was going on, I explained, "They are  discussing where the djnoun have gone."
"Djinns. Djinn singular, djnoun, plural."
He looked at me as if I had gone mad. "They believe in djinns?"
"Then there is the question of devils," I added, and immediately regretted it.
'Right..." Richard nodded and glanced around looking for the door and wondering if it would be best to leave. Instead he turned back to me. 'You're being serious? Devils? Djinns?"

It was a good question and, taking those in the room as a sample, it could be said that belief in spirits like djnoun could be divided into three camps - naam, la and mumkin -  yes, no and maybe. Hamid is in the "la" camp and says they are superstitious figments of our imagination. Abdelfatah is absoulutely convinced that djnoun exist, though he admits he has never encountered one. On the other hand, Karima, who describes herself as a modern educated woman, says she has never believed in djnoun until one night she was sleeping on the terrace above her family home when she swears she saw a huge black djinn "He was at least four metre's tall. He didn't say anything, just looked at me and then went away."
Fatima Zahra (another modern educated woman) laughed, "I slept on our roof one night when it was hot and thought I saw something. In the morning I found that someone had stolen six copper and glass candle holders."

I poured Richard some mint tea and seeing that he was genuinely interested, gave him the abridged version. The Qur'an teaches that Allah has populated the universe with four types of beings: humans, angels, shayāṭīn (devils) and demons or djnoun. Possessing free will, a djinn can either be good or evil. Although only humans are visible, the other beings, including djnoun are not merely imaginary or symbolic: they coexist with humans, guiding and interfering with their efforts to follow the path of Islam. In fact, the djnoun are believed to have similar needs to humans. They eat, drink, procreate and die; they form families, communities and societies. However, their activities are nocturnal, ending at dawn with the muezzin's call to prayer.

The big issue with devils (shayāṭīn) and djnoun that my friends were discussing was, where were they during Ramadan.
"When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained. -" Sahih Bukhari 31:123
Having all the devils chained up sound like a good solution and leaves you with the thought that if you still do something wrong, then it is your fault and not that of an outside evil influence. But as in all these discussions, nothing is that simple.

The djnoun will be back...
Hamid, who knows heaps of weird things, said that he had read a Hadith that stated that only "the rebellious shayāṭīn are chained during Ramadan and as as result there is much less bad behaviour. Committing sins during the month of Ramadhan does not contradict the meaning of the Hadith, he explained, because the Hadith mentions only the rebellious shayāṭīn. And sins could be due to the influence of non-rebellious shayāṭīn. Richard said that was a bit like having a bet both ways.

When it came to the djnoun, it didn't seem to matter that not everyone believed in them, because all my learned friends said no matter if they had gone away during Ramadan, they would be back on Laylat Al Qadr, the "Night of Power", three days before the end of Ramadan. I'm glad we sorted that out!

Talking to Richard as we headed back to my house for Suhoor, he made the interesting observation that the image of djnoun and shayāṭīn in the minds of most non-muslims is the product of Disney versions of Aladdin's lamp or orientalist fantasies spawned by adaptations of 1001 Nights. He thought for a moment and then added, "My parents used to watch a TV show called I Dream of Jeannie".

Putting the djinneya back in the bottle

We found an episode on YouTube, but after five minutes decided that the lamb tagine was ready and Suhoor was our best option. That, and sleep.

Oh, as a footnote, you can buy magic lamps on Ebay but doing so over the internet makes it hard to check if they are in working order. There is nothing worse than getting the wrong djinn... ho hum. Anyway, if you really have money to throw away visit here: Rare Genuine Magic Lamps for Sale

And... if in doubt and you want to be really odd, you can always seek advice from Brother Rahman who claims to have thirty-five years of experience in the study of djnoun! Personally, I suggest you would be better off going to a Gnaoua or Hamadcha Lila and doing a little trance dancing. On the other hand, why not stay at home and watch "Nayda f'douar" on TV2M.

Another of Hamid's moderately funny jokes...

Prices in the souq had shot up over Ramadan and when young Noureddine came back with the meat and vegetables he had no change for his grandfather, Jilalli

"There was a time," Grandfather Jilalli said, "when I used to go to the souq with only two dirhams in my pocket and I would come home with all groceries, bread, butter, milk, biscuits, and the newspaper."

Noureddine shook his head. "Not any more, Grandfather. These days there are CCTV cameras everywhere."

Saha Ftourkoum!

See Ibn's Ramadan Dairy
DAY TWO       DAY SIX           DAY TEN            DAY FOURTEEN

Please feel free to contribute your Ramadan stories, thoughts, observations and photographs. You can contact me via The View from Fez contact page. Just put "Ibn's Diary" in the subject line - Shukran!

Print Friendly and PDF

1 comment:

abdul muHib Carosaari said...

I can attest to the truth of this. Non-Muslim Americans who are younger thing of djinn from Aladdin, and who are older think of I Dream of Jeannie.