Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
There is no doubt that carnival celebrations are filled with indecency, immorality and immodesty. There is flagrant nakedness and visible insolence in all aspects of its celebration. Shamelessness is the order of the days leading up to its celebration and reaches a peak on the two days given off.
During the time of Carnival, the moral fabric of the society is broken down at all levels. Those who conform to the activities of Carnival are actually following the temptations of Satan. The Quraan informs us: “He (the Satan) only commands you with evil and immodesty and that you say concerning Allah that which you do not know.” (2:169) On the other hand, Allah forbids immodesty. Allah says in the Quraan: “Certainly Allah commands you with justice and goodness and He forbids you from Fahshaa (immodesty) and transgression, and He warns you that you may take heed.” (16:9)
The teaching of Islam has made all such actions of Carnival which are immodest or leads to immodesty, Haraam (prohihibited). The Quraan mentions in Surah A’araaf verse 33: “Say, My Lord has made prohibited Fawaahish (all aspects of immodesty), what is open of it and what is hidden.” Likewise, we are commanded not to even come close to it. Allah commands: “Do not come close to Fawaahish, what is open from it and what is hidden.” (6:151) Therefore, everything which leads up to immodest actions would also be forbidden. These would include supporting Carnival financially or by words. Similarly, looking at nakedness on the streets, television, magazines, newspapers, posters, brochures, etc. and listening to music, calypsos, chutney, ex-tempo, de-manche gras, comedy festival, etc. on stage or via the various media will also be in violation of the command of Allah.
A believer should develop a dislike towards sins, and transgression just as he dislikes being thrown in the fire of Jahannam. This brings about a sweetness and pleasure in Imaan (faith). The Prophet (SA) said: “Three (traits), whoever possesses them would experience the sweetness of faith. That person for whom Allah and His messenger is more beloved to him than any other; that person who loves his brother only for the sake of Allah; and that person who dislikes returning to disbelieve (engaging in acts of disobedience/ kufr) just as he dislikes being thrown into the fire.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (SA) has also said: “When anyone of you sees a wrong, then let him change it with his hands; if he is unable, then let him change it by his tongue; if he is unable, then by his heart, and that is the weakest of Imaan.” (Muslim) The term ‘by his heart’ means that he dislikes and feels displeased when he sees a sin being committed, and realises he cannot do anything else to stop it. This condition, the Prophet (SA) referred to as the weakest of faith. How much sin is committed during this time?
The consequence of immodesty is that it draws the punishment of Allah. Let’s consider the incident of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were the first to engage in the heinous and indecent act of homosexuality. The Quraan mentions: “Are you approaching immodesty (homosexuality) such that it has not been preceded with anyone before from the world. Certainly, you approach men with lustful desires instead of women. You are indeed a people who have gone beyond the limits.” (7:80) They even advanced towards the angels who came to Prophet Lut (AS) in the form of men. Allah disgraced them and sent down his punishment. The Quraan mentions: “So when Our command came to pass, We turned their habitations upside down and rained on it stones of hard clay, one over another. Marked from your Lord. And it is not far from the transgressors.” (11:82-83)
On the other hand, the story of Hazrat Yusuf (AS) teaches us that when one controls himself in the face of immodesty, Allah elevates him. He (AS) was tempted and allured into committing Zina by the wife of the Minister. He refused and consequently preferred the prison instead of this immodest act in disobedience to Allah. Allah took him out from the depts of the dungeon to the height of prophethood and power. Allah says: “And thus We gave Yusuf (AS) power in the land. He could settle in it wherever he wished. We extend Our mercy to whomsoever We will, and We do not let the reward of the righteous people to go to waste. And the reward of the Hereafter is surely better for those who believe and constantly observe Taqwa (piety, self restraint).” (12:56-57)
Which example should we follow, the people of Lut (AS) or the example of Yusuf (AS)? We have been given freedom of choice by Allah Ta’aala. On one hand, Allah destroyed the people of Lut and their punishment will continue in the Hereafter, and on the other, He elevated Yusuf (AS) in this world and the Hereafter. We should not consider ourselves immune from the punishment of Allah.
Respected readers, the increase of Faahisha (immodesty) and the propagation of it in our time is a sign from the signs of the approach of the Last Day (Qiyaamah). Among the many signs which have been mentioned from the Ahaadith of the Prophet (SA), which can be related to Carnival and its activities, some are listed as follows.
– Adultery will be prevalent.
– Intoxicants, drinking of wine and alcohol will be common and open.
– Immodesty and lewdness will be prevalent.
– Homosexuality and lesbianism will increase.
– Women will wear garments, yet will appear naked.
– Singing girls will be kept as mistresses.
– Music and musical instruments will become very common.
– Men will dress and resemble women and women will dress and resemble men.
We should reflect and consider which of these do not take place during the Carnival times? In fact, we would all agree that all the above vices and sins take place to a greater extent. These things would definitely take place as they were prophesised by the Prophet (SA). However, we should not be part of these negative portents of the Final Hour.