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Nerves fray, tempers fly in the month of forgiveness.

Summary: JEDDAH: Despite Ramadan being a month of giving, caring and forgiving, people are doing exactly the opposite.


People's hot tempers are rising during the holy month and men and women are like bombs waiting to explode.

Fights are seen on the road and among people waiting in lines in supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants and ful shops.

People are always in a hurry, especially a few hours before iftar. Security patrols intensify their presence in an effort to prevent any violence in congested areas.

"The strong is not the one who overcomes people by his strength, but the one who controls himself while in anger," said the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). "The best of you are those who are slow to anger and swift to cool down."

The Prophet recommends that when Muslims are angry, they take steps to regain control of the situation and prevent it escalating.

"The man is not a good wrestler; the strong man is in fact the person who controls himself when in anger," he said. He also recommended Muslims to speak little when angry.

Mansour Al-Ramahi, a Jordanian sales representatives living in Jeddah, said people lose their temper for the smallest reasons.

"People are turning their cars into speeding rockets on the street. These angry drivers create traffic jams and they fight with each other because of the congestion they themselves created."

He said because Ramadan came during the summer this time round, the combination of heat and hunger has created the perfect set of conditions for people to lose their temper.

Fasting hours are also longer. Al-Ramahi added that it was still not an excuse because Ramadan is supposed to be a month of forgiveness.

It is commonplace to see people fighting while standing in a queue. Every man is demanding to be served first even if it is not his turn. To avoid this hassle, many buy their food long before the rush.

Muhammad Al-Ghamdi, who owns a small supermarket in Jeddah, said people are impatient and often resort to verbal abuse.

"They cannot stand in line and wait for their turn. Instead, they want to be served first. I see some customers cutting the queues," he said.

"Such incidents do not pass without a fight. We spend most of our time calming people down. Sometimes we lose our cool at customers because of their fraying tempers."

Nawzat Ali, a Turkish chef working in a restaurant in Jeddah, says he is growing tired of people losing their temper at him.

"A few minutes before iftar, customers seem to be very hungry and angry. Fasting customers treat us badly because of their hunger. Each customer wants to get his iftar meal on time. Such anger increases stress in the restaurants while waiters also start fighting each other," he said.

Buthina Alwani, a sociologist at private college in Jeddah, said anger during Ramadan is considered very normal.

"For Muslims, Ramadan is the perfect month for self discipline. Muslims should refrain from bad practices," she said.

"Tolerance, helping people and donating to the poor should be our main concerns. We Muslims don't eat and drink and abstain ourselves from many other activities from sunrise to sunset. This can play a prominent role in lowering our temper thresholds. Some see fasting as an obligation and therefore tend to take aggressive action as an objection against this."

She added that drastic changes to daily routines could also increase the chances of people losing their temper quicker.

"We noticed that men become very irritable because they sleep fewer hours. In addition, smokers are obliged to quit smoking, which can also have a negative effect."

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Sep 2, 2010
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