Sunday, January 26, 2020

Muslim life in Kuwait

by Ibraheem

All food and restaurants in Kuwait in shaa Allah are Halal. There are more American chain restaurants here than in California! McDonalds, Burger King, Hardees, Subway, Chilis, Fridays, Applebees, Cheesecake Factory, Johnny Rockets etc. etc. (not by coincidence, obesity is a major problem here, highest cases of diabetes in the world maybe, also because of high rice consumption) Masjids are everywhere, literally. Any mall or shopping center or even supermarket will have a prayer room. Adzan can be heard anywhere. But unlike Saudi, shops don't close or anything like that for prayer time.

Just like in the usa where many claim to be christian but never go to church, you can find the same thing here. People that are born Muslim, and go to masjid sometimes, but they really aren't into it. Large numbers of the youth are being completely brainwashed and of course aspire to be hip americans or brits. Kim Kardahsian is known as "Kim" here, LOL!!!

In terms of deen that is followed here, in all masjids, the sunnah is followed by the Imam. The actual population of Kuwait is something like 1,000,000 Kuwaits, 750,000 Egyptians, and 1,000,000 or more south asians, Indians and Bangladeshis primarily. The south asians generally do their style of wiping the face holding hands up dua after salat thing, but there is no Imam led practice of this Alhamdullilah.

Unfortunately things like the Prophet peace be upon him, his birthday is a national holiday here. You won't find people partying in the streets about it though Alhamdullilah. Christmas is not a national holiday here, but you will find christmas trees and other crap in many of the shopping centers.

Western speakers like Yusuha Evans, John Fontain, etc, come through here frequently enough that you can attend some lectures. There are around three or four highly respected Shayks of the Salafiyah that live in Kuwait and they commonly give lectures and daroos, but they are all in Arabic naturally. I was told that a cousin or direct family relative of the esteemed Shaykh Al Albanee lives here and gives khutbah. If I had to guess, around 10% of the male population here follows the Salafiyah, at least in appearance, long beards, not wearing thobes (called dishdasha here) that drag on the ground. The norm for older Kuwaits is generally mustache or clean shaven and for the youth goatees, clean shaven, or five o clock shadow. Interestingly I have had my students tell me when we talk about people behaving nicely and with respect is that the people with long beards (sometimes kindly referred to as "mullahs") and who seem to really follow the Sunnah are the kindest and most respectful you will meet in society here. Of course we cannot generalize about everyone, there are people with beards who smoke and behave like rude people, but this has been my observation and in talking with others.

So to follow the deen here is quite easy, the society is set up for it, but just realize that society doesn't always follow it. Arabs here can be an interesting bunch. If you meet them personally, they can be great friends and always wonderful and gracious hosts. But in public, to ones they don't know, they can be incredibly rude. I have seen quite racist attitudes when dealing with Indian servants as well. And yes here, every single Kuwaiti household has at least one servant/maid/nanny and usually one driver/handyman/do it all/ type guy as well. Even middle to lower income Kuwaiti families will have this as the monthly pay for these positions is pretty low. And yet, it is high enough that south asians and also Filipinos flock here for these jobs. Of course not all are treated poorly, and I will not fall into the western media trap where they say Arabs are raping their maids and treating them like slaves, no, this is not anywhere near to the truth. But, they are treated like second class citizens.

We are around a 14 hour drive away from Makkah, but foreigners cant drive across the border. Maybe if you are on a bus tour it's okay. You can drive across if you have a work visa for Saudi though. Airline flights to Saudi, Dubai, etc. are cheap from here.

Many people enjoy Kuwait because it is more liberal than Saudi, I wish it was otherwise, but Allhamdullilah.

No comments:

Post a Comment