The Xmas New Year Greetings Controversies!
Lately I have been receiving a lot of What’sUp Messages asking Muslims not to participate in The Above Season Greetings.
Some are extremely critical (even political)!
Personally I am a person who sincerely believes in Live and Let Live – and each one to his own!
I get Eid Greetings from people who Do Not Celebrate Eid. I see No Problem to reciprocate within limits of people of the world living together in peace patience harmony love tolerance and understanding – and that is part and parcel of our Omani Values – Culture Heritage Traditions and Customs – and relationships with others at home abroad and the world – enshrined by The Renaissance under HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said – Allah SWT Give him lng life and health well being Ameen.
This is what was My Preface in my Book – A Cry For Help! published in 2008 – I rest my case!
Nobody paid attention to me then – worse even now!
I rest My Case! QED.
To Allah we belong – and to Allah we all will return – Al Hamdu Lillah!
PREFACE – THE IDEA FORMULATES!
On March 9th 2009, I, as The Human Resources Manager of one place, issued the following message to all the staff of the Company. It just read, as below:-
Dear All Staff;
Subject:- Death of Father of K (An Omani Staff).
I do not have full details yet, but we have just heard that K’s (Omani Staff) Father had expired. It is understood that he was sick for quite some time. More details will be provided when we get them, but for now you have been informed – and we suggest for Male Staff they can offer condolences to the Masjid (Mosque) when details are available.
Please note that the Masjid (Mosque) is open for all religions, faiths, creed and beliefs – and for the ladies when he comes back, unless you are close and know the family well.
We pray to Allah (God) to grant his late Father eternal peace in this world and the next Amin (Amen) – Unquote.
It was met with an unexpected retort and uproar from some Staff (Omanis mainly) that took offence on the part especially highlighted above. They all called me (not wanting to express their dissatisfaction in writing. It included some who were in Senior Positions too as Managers etc.
I was soon after required of me to issue a retraction remedial and corrective soon afterwards (one hour or less time)
It just read –
Dear All Staff;
You can also offer your condolences to him directly when he returns next week.
The earlier message was intended to those that may have wanted to visit him at the Mosque (men) and at home (for the ladies) – and perhaps the ‘sensitivities involved’ – if any!
Regards – Unquote.
I had that night contacted one famous Religious Leader that I knew. I asked him for his frank and candid opinion if I did wrong in inviting Non Muslim Staff to come to the Masjid (Mosque) to offer condolences to their Muslim peer, noting that it was his Father and Death will come to us all whether we are Muslims or not, and devoid of Religion, Race, Creed or Sect.
This is how our conversation went – in brief.
He told me that we have to talk to each other in Islam, and correct, guide, mentor and coach each other on the right correct path. He told me that everyone has a
right to his own views and feelings on the subject – but sometimes we make a mistake to force them on others too. Which is wrong and not correct?
When I issued this Email note, it was based on both me as being as The Human Resources Manager, and also on humanity and compassionate feelings that one of our colleagues had his Father that had passed away. I know the feelings – and I have been there too. Nothing less or more.
He said that this is a very contentious issue, and there is a lot of debate and interpretation of what is the correct and the right one. Your view is one, so is the opposite one which I held. (I told him about our Great Prophet allowing Christian Missionaries passing through Medina at the time and asking for a place for prayer. The Great Prophet (PBUH) had even allowed them to pray in a Mosque (Masjid). So I was not alone in the interpretation of the whole issue.
He advises that in the future I add Muslim Staff can offer condolences at the Mosque etc. In that way I will not offend anyone, which seems to be the default result of my action – though it was sincere, genuine and well intentioned too. I apologise for this, if any offence were taken.
Hopefully there will be no more deaths in Company Staff or relatives in the future, but we both agreed that it was a Learning experiences for us all – UNQOTE.
It then struck me how fast and how much things have now changed in The Work Front – especially in relationships between Omanis (Locals) and Expatriate Staff – especially Non Muslims – and how much the gap was widening between the two – though help pretenses continued of politeness, courtesy and welcome. There was now growing extremism, fundamentalism and radicalisation that I had never seen before – especially in Oman where I had always prided myself that we were a tolerant, moderate, give-and-take, live-and-let-live society and always kind, welcoming and accepting esteeming and respectful to our ‘invited guests’ in our country!
My simple error (if you call it) to invite non-Muslims to the Mosque (Masjid) seemed inadvertently to expose the inevitable differences etc (unwanted and uncalled for and I think unneeded differences to come out and show its ugly head!).
However, two months later I quit the place after being singled out and insulted by Expatriates – a British (inn Email to all copy to all) and albeit the two being one Indian Muslim, and the other Jordanian also Muslim. The CEO = An American – sided with those insulting me as one of The Most Senior Omani in that Company, and it Company being a National Prestigious State of The Art National Project – but operated as if it was not in Oman.
If you have gone through My Management Book (Psychology of Arab Management – Arabian Management Series – available in Oman in Family Bookshops and in Turtles – Magrudy’s in UAE soon – or see www.alsuleimany.com – or see
www.trafford,com/08-0889 on how to order the book), you will note the book was based on events in 2007 and before.
See also The Sequel – Between Us Only – www.trafford.com/08-0890
The work front before this has not changed much – with still some (repeat SOME) Expatriates misbehaving in Oman, out of all places in the world of welcome to guests. See also my Article appended.
This book will have the following themes and focuses
One – The Growing Radicalisation of Local Staff (Populace)
Two The Misbehaving Expatriates
Three – Unhappy Dissatisfied Staff
Four – Bad treatment of Staff esp. by Indian European Western Staff on Locals
Five – Increasing extremism fundamentalism etc in Offices as a result perhaps.
Six – Sensitive issues inter related.
And between the two and the interfaces, where we are heading – especially in the work front and in Society now.
I will appreciate any views on the subject, and will not quote you by name etc in The Preface to my New Book. I have already 60% of the book now ready.
*** Your usual support and co operation most welcome please (in confidence) – UNQUOTE!
Majid Al Suleimany
Season Greetings! Happy Prosperous Peaceful New Year 2017