Dear respected Mr and Mrs Soukhater, the entire soukhater clan and all their associates
I hope this letter finds you in good health.
I am sure you already know that the Souk is around the corner once again. I am sure you also have already dug up the old Anti-Souk newsletter and posted it on your Masjid board, the exact same one you have been posting for the past five or ten years despite the fact that it is not working. It seems to me that you can not understand why the majority of Muslims in Durban still go to the Souk and see nothing wrong with it, perhaps I can clear up your confusion in this letter.
I would like to begin by answering some of the points you raise in your Souk newsletters. You claim that the Souk is a place of fitnah were people go to intermingle and commit Zina. I would like to inform you that the majority of people I know who go to the Souk are decent people who do not fornicate at the Souk but are there with their spouses and families.
I would also like to inform you that those people who do go to the Souk for the wrong reasons are the same people who will commit those same sins at any time of the year and they will still do the same sins in December even if we cancel the Souk. You see sir, the Souk is not the problem, the problem is much more complex than that, and boycotting the Souk will not help, because if the good Muslims boycott the Souk then such sins will occur openly, yet if we are all there, people would be less likely to commit such sins in that place.
I would also like to inform you that it is better to have people who commit such sins coming to the Souk instead of other places, because at the Souk, they might be affected positively by the Nasheeds, lectures, Qiraat or the variety of lecture DVDs and CDs on sale. Did you ever think about that? Oh yes, I forgot, you regard Nasheeds and lecture DVDs as Haraam too, my mistake, which brings me to point number two.
You claim that the Souk is Haraam because there is entertainment there, indicating that you believe all entertainment is Haraam which is really sad and shows your lack of knowledge of Quran and Sunnah and the principles of Fiqh, I can assure you that the majority of entertainment at the Souk is Halal if you study it properly, by that I mean the Islamic cartoons, children’s rides and activities, the Nasheeds, etc. I will admit that there is some haram that occurs but that is because instead of helping people by teaching them the Fiqh of entertainment, you choose to boycott them and then blame them if they can’t distinguish between halal and haram entertainment. Remind me to send you and the Souk committee copies of the upcoming book “Entertainment in Islam” to clear up this issue so you two can unite upon a balanced understanding of this topic.
Thirdly, you claim the Souk is Haram because women go there not dressed properly. Firstly, this is not true for all the women at the Souk. Secondly such women are welcomed everywhere except the Masjid which you have banned them from. If you had allowed them to attend the Masjid and study there from a young age, they would have understood the purpose of Hijiab and would not be dressed inappropriately, but since you failed in your duty to educate them, I would encourage them to go to the Souk and buy a copy of Sheik Feiz’s “etiquettes of Hijab” on DVD from the 1Islam Production stand and insha Allah, they will benefit from this lecture and change their dress code.
I know in the Darul Uloom they don’t teach you how to deal with people because I too studied there for seven years, so let me explain a few points to you. People are human, they make mistakes and will never be perfect, understand that, embrace it and learn how to help them instead of shunning them. Boycotting, shouting, snarling and making mean faces are not effective forms of dawah and just chase people further away from you and Islam.
If you want a woman to start wearing Hijab, it will not happen overnight, it is a slow process of being kind, understanding, educating and leading by example. If such women are ignored, they continue to sin, if such women are snarled at, they continue to sin. Communication is key (unless you a man, then let your wife communicate), try it and you will see how many more people you can guide and assist compared to when you use Hulk tactics.
Finally, if you attend the Souk you will find a lot of Islamic products on sale, from Islamic DVDs (they are Halal) to Hijabs, you will find huge congregations for the daily Salah, people who don’t normally pray their Salah start praying at the Souk because of the environment. This year there will even be an Islamic Exhibition which is definitely worth checking out and can only affect people positively.
To conclude, yes bad things happen at the Souk but nothing specific that makes it the Souk’s fault, rather those sins happen everywhere, step out of your cave and you will realize that. Rather good things happen at the Souk that do not normally happen at the Beaches or Shopping Malls and in that sense I find the Souk a great alternative for Muslims to go to and enjoy themselves in a Halal manner. (yes, you can experience Halal joy)
I am sorry for the long letter but it was way overdue, if you are looking for me to kill me, I’ll be at the Souk but you want to see for yourself how you can use the Souk for good instead of evil, well I’ll still be at the Souk anyway doing just that so come and join me. I hope this letter opened your eyes to how most Muslims look at the Souk and I hope you will be willing to give it a chance this year. Who knows, maybe your presence at the Souk could change people’s lives for the better.
Your brother in Islam
Mr Eyelike Da Souk