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Arabeyes: Ramadan TV – for and against

The month of Ramadan has just started, and many across the Arab world have been looking forward to the special Ramadan television series that are always shown. Bloggers from Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia give us their opinion of the popularity of Ramadan TV in this post.

In Bahrain, Sami highlights the effort people make to keep up with the Ramadan TV schedules – and asks if anyone pays as much attention to the timetable of Ramadan sermons:

وصلتني عبر البريد الإلكتروني عدد من الإيميلات التي تحتوي على الكثير من تفاصيل مسلسلات الشهر الكريم و برامجه سواء المصري منها و السوري و الخليجي و للأسف لا يوجد منها شيء تركي لعشاق مهند و نور. واضح جدا أن الكثير الكثير الكثير من الناس بدء يعد العدة لتنظيم جدول وقته و برنامج حياته في شهر رمضان المبارك، لضمان عدم فوات المسلسلات القوية. البعض لا بد أنه أعد جدول الوقت و الوقت البديل بحيث لو حصل تعارض بين هذا المسلسل و ذاك فإن بإمكانه التعويض في وقت الإعادة.
أعتقد أنه من حسنات التكنولوجيا أنها اخترعت لنا جهاز الدي في دي المزود بهارد دسك بحيث يستطيع الفرد أن يقوم بتسجيل البرنامج الذي يريده في الدي في دي بدون الحاجة لتخسير أقراص. كما بالإمكان أن يبرمج الشخص الجهاز ليقوم بالتسجيل في حال وجوده خارجا.
لا أدري كم واحدا منا قد بدأ إعداد جداول الخطباء في شهر رمضان و أماكنهم و مواضيعهم، كذلك لا أدري كم واحد منا قد أعد جداول أوقات قراءة الأدعية هنا و هناك
فقط لا أدري
I have received a number of emails containing a lot of details about Ramadan soap operas and television programmes, including those from Egypt, Syria and the Gulf, but there was nothing for those who follow Muhannad and Noor. It is obvious that many people have started to organise their schedules, time and activities for Ramadan, to ensure that they don't miss out on the interesting television programmes. Some have set up schedules and alternative schedules in case of clashes between the programmes, so they can watch the repeats.

I believe that among the benefits of technology is the invention of the the DVD with a hard disk which enables users to record the programmes they want without having to waste discs. People are also able to programme the device to record programmes while they are outside their homes.

I don't know how many among us have have set up a schedule for the Ramadan sermons, and where they will be held and the topics they will tackle. I also don't know how many have decided on the times they will be reading the Du'a [prayer of supplication]. I just don't know.

Bakkouz from Jordan has some advice:

Aaanyway, one thing that cannot be disputed is that TV channels air some good TV shows in Ramadan, which makes people become obsessed with watching their favorite show, much like a cult following, Me for example, I might watch Bab El-Hara [Syrian drama] since I’m not too much into historical and Bedouin shows (not that I have anything against Bedouin and/or historical shows, I really don’t, seriously) and what not. I guess you can watch whatever you want to, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT WATCH JORDANIAN TELEVISION COMEDY AND GAME SHOWS, especially the ones right after the “athan” [call to prayer], unless you suddenly felt the need to get a stroke. I am being 100% sincere here, don’t!

However, not all bloggers are looking forward to the TV series – or even Ramadan itself. In Bahrain, The Girl With No Face complains:

Ramadan Ramadan Ramadan Ramadan.. I hate Ramadan…and whenever I say that I hate Ramadan in front of anyone, everyone says “astaghfer Allah” [I ask God's forgiveness] as if I said something Blasphemous. I hate the hypocrisy of Ramadan. I hate how people totally miss the point of it. I hate that it’s not a choice. I hate how all people ever talk about in Ramadan is the Ramadan shows on TV.

In Saudi Arabia, Bassem Kurdi says:

(T)he list for this year’s TV shows are far more extensive than last year’s. However, Tash Ma Tash, the most famous Saudi TV show, will not be airing this Ramadan. It finally came to an end after 15 successful seasons. I personally wasn’t one of the show's enthusiasts but I have to acknowledge that it did touch on many important topics and shed some light on multiple issues that we suffer from in our country. … I personally hardly ever watch TV in Ramadan because I believe there is more to do in this month than be glued to a TV screen.

Another Saudi blogger, deja vu, has started a campaign against watching TV at all in Ramadan, so as not to be distracted from the real meaning of the month:

ما هي الحملة

دعم الإعلام تعميم سلوكيات ومفاهيم غير صحيحة عن رمضان وجعله أهم موسماً “ترويجياً” مربِحاً من كثافة المشاهدين الذين وُجِهَت ثقافتهم إلى اعتبار رمضان “متعة” تلفزيونية كل عام
رمضان يحمل عروضاً مغرية بين صوم الجسد ، العقل ، الروح ، و السلوك والخُلُق ..

What is the campaign?

The media helps to spread inappropriate behaviour and concepts concerning Ramadan, and make it the most lucrative marketing season because of the large concentration of television viewers, who have been trained to view Ramadan as the month of television entertainment every year.

Ramadan does carry ‘attractive offers’ – fasting of the body, mind, spirit, behaviour and character.

5 comments

  • Thanks for this round up Ayesha. Having been away (for the fourth Ramadan in a row), I don’t feel I have missed much as far as television is concerned! Not that I was glued to my TV set when I was home that is!

  • hishmaj

    Thanks alot for the round-up. I just hope the message reaches everyone’s minds.

  • Hassan

    Hello all
    Yesterday , it was the first day of Ramadan.i just relaxed after IFTAR to see anything noticeable . there were lots of Gulf Soap Opera , I just watch one minute or two to see the extraordinary richness and wealth and to have a look at the furniture not the people
    With all the respect to my brothers and sisters there , but they discuss trivial matters .

    Once I saw one episode from a famous soap opera , the actresses were wearing inappropriate clothing and putting flashy make-up inside their homes, its not real . its fantasy.”How could an actress woke up from her bed , as if she was at the hairdressers”

    Secondly , all the actors and actresses were discussing AIDS , whether they were infected or not.
    Where are we? ARE WE IN THE WORST IMMORAL PLACE ON EARTH SURE. NOT

    SO Where is the moral here?

    Plz I hope to see one soap opera as the ones we used to watch ten years ago “LAIALI EL HELMEA, RAFAT AL HAJAN”

  • […] during Ramadan. There's even a ‘No More TV in Ramadan' campaign. And a lot written here. […] What are your thoughts about TV in […]

  • Aabida

    you have lost the plot guys.you should not be watching tv at all during this blessed month.You should be devoting this month to allah,and makeing the most of its precious moments.may allah forgive us all.

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