Kozhikode: Muslim-owned hotels in Kozhikode and Wayanad are coming to the help of non-Muslims during the holy of month of Ramzan. Realising the inconvenience caused to non-Muslims, the hotels, which used to remain shut during the period, have started working providing food to all sections of people as the majority of hotels in the two districts are owned by Muslims.
The popular ‘Great Jubilee Restaurant’ at Sulthan Bathery, Wayanad, owned by a Muslim, decided to open during the holy month. Many hotels on the Medical College premises in Kozhikode are open during day time.
Naseeh Syed of Jubilee Restaurant told DC that the holy texts do not insist that hotels and restaurants should be closed during Ramadan. “Moreover, denying food to the non-Muslims is a sin. In the past, we strictly followed the tradition but the hardships to non-Muslims forced us to change our stance. We will continue with our fasting but will ensure food to our non-Muslim brethren,” he added.
When queried about the reaction from conservatives, he said that so far all the believers were supportive of the concept.
“The trend of closure is vanishing slowly,” said P.K. Sathar, managing partner of ‘Wilton Restaurant,’ Sulthan Bathery, who supported the opening of hotels during day time in the holy month, but kept his hotel closed as a tradition. “Next year, I may also keep my hotel open,” he said.
Noted social critic Shoukkath Sahajotsu, a disciple of Guru Nithya Chaithanya Yati, told DC that during his visit to Kozhikode the other day he had spotted many Muslim hotels open during day time. “It is a welcome sign,” he said and added that some shops even displayed boards saying food items for breaking the fast were available there and that the hotel would be open 24 hours.
“Earlier, there were incidents of forced shutting down of hotels during the holy month,” he said.
The office-bearers Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association (KHRA), Kozhikode district, said that the trend was gradually catching up. KHRA secretary C. Shameer told DC that many hotels run by Muslims near Medical College had been opening during holy months of fasting for the last few years. “Rather than religious fervour the season also ensured a peaceful interval for the employees, management and staff of the hotels,” he said. “Majority of them also used to execute expansion projects during the time,” he said. Hinting at the financial slowdown in the industry, Mr Shameer said that the hoteliers were not in a position to sacrifice the revenue during the period due to the financial crisis.
However, there are many youngsters who feel that it is just a tricky business move.
Social media marketing professional Abu Zainab of Kozhikode told DC that perspectives mattered here. “In the majority of the cases, the decision to close or open a restaurant is not related to religion or its practice. It's all about business. As far as a restaurant is concerned, paying their staff, preparing food items and doing business are expensive. If majority in the area fast and won't purchase a dish until dusk, what's the point in keeping the store open?” he asked.
“The restaurants in Muslim majority areas which open during Ramdan taking all the risks are doing a noble social service by providing eating options for the minority who don't fast,” he added.
Advocate TM Rasheed of Sulthan Bathery said that when some popular hotels are closed, it affects the entire society. There are many prominent hotels which have become the ambassadors of indigenous culinary culture which influence the life of the citizenry. “The closure of such hotels would trouble the people cutting across religious lines,” he said.
Do it with utmost care: Madavoor
It is quite unbecoming for Muslims, who are supposed to practice fasting during the holy month of Ramzan to cook food and serve in public during day time.
Recently some hoteliers contacted me citing the financial losses they undergo due to closure of hotels and asked me whether they could open the hotels.
But only on rarest of rare situations such as the closure of the lone hotel situating in an area with majority non-Muslims would leave the rest hungry, if it is the only hotel near a hospital, bus stand or railway station, then there are exemptions. But there is the saying that even those Muslims who are not observing fast or serving food in some forced situations should do it with utmost care and respect to those who follow fasting. There is no doubt that we are living in a society where we are minority. So it is true that we should ensure food for the needy from other communities, and also children, sick and travelers of Muslim community. But it should not amount to harassing those who practice fasting....