By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
30 July 2019
Ramazan holds a special place among the Muslim world. During the month, the Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and spend the day and night praying and reciting the Quran while abstaining from all the sins and immoral activities as far as possible. They also spend their money on Fitra, Zakat and offer food to the destitute. There are additional religious duties obligatory for Muslims like Tarawih prayers, Aitkaf etc. The Quran and Hadith have promised great rewards for all the good deeds done during this month.
During the month of Ramazan, Urdu newspapers take up the responsibility of making Muslims aware of the right ways of fasting, Aitkaf, prayers of Lailatul Qadr, Taraweeh, the amount to be paid as Fitra and Zakat and people deserving the Fitra and Zakat. There is nothing wrong in publishing articles on the aforesaid topics because Urdu newspapers cater to the needs of Muslims. But the Urdu newspapers go overboard in publishing articles apart from news on the topic of Ramazan.
Usually, Urdu newspapers carry articles on Islamic topics only on Fridays but during the Ramazan, they devoted one or two pages for Islamic topics particularly Ramazan and for thirty days people are served articles on the same topics again and again. For example, an Urdu daily of Kolkata has published four articles on Aitkaf in the last five days. Interestingly, a full-page article on Aitkaf was published on Op-ed page in the same newspaper. Op-ed pages are for articles on important topics on national and international affairs by experts or political analysts. Articles on the rewards of fasting, prayers of Lailatul Qadr and Zakat by veteran and budding writers. These articles have no scope of presenting anything new as the topics have been discussed for hundreds of thousands of times in future and there are many books by authoritative writers available in the market. Still, the newspapers have made it their duty to publish articles on the same topics during the entire month.
The reason for this is that Urdu newspapers are poorly staffed and financially weak. They do not have experienced and learned people on their payroll. So, they do not have material on social, political, cultural and scientific issues. So, they get the pretext of filling pages of the newspapers with religious material for the month of Ramazan. For the entire month, they just digest articles from Islamic books. Ulema interested to get their article published also get an opportunity to get published because during the month the easily get space for their religious articles which may not be available to them in other months.
Secondly, Muslims do not read books at home and they do not buy books on religious or non-religious topics. Muslims are poor readers of books. So whatever knowledge about the ways of fasting, Fitra, Zakat and Namaz is required is provided to them by the Urdu newspapers.
This turns Urdu newspapers into Islamic magazines during the month of Ramazan. So much for our claim that Urdu is the language of Muslims and non-Muslims.
S. Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com
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