As some Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of their saviour Jesus Christ, Muslims in Malawi have accused Muslim traders who most of them are Muslims for reducing their price of goods during Christian festive season – the thing they say, fails to happen during Islamic celebrations such as Eid.
On Monday, Voice of America (voa) reported that some Muslims in Malawi describe the difference as unfair as it fails to put Islamic and Christian celebrations at par.
They say, according VOA, despite the difference between the religions, both celebrations are equally important to their followers.
However, the traders have justified their positions saying Muslims don’t spend much money on religious holidays.
“This attitude is very bad because Islamic activities are quite large and their importance to the Muslim community [should] attract everyone’s attention including Muslim traders. What these people are doing is capitalizing on other festivities, some of which are not even encouraged in Islam,” Shamima Yahya-Binali was quoted by Voa as complaining.
Voa, also quoted Imran Shiaz Mussa, one of the Muslim traders and the owner of a shopping centre in Mzuzu who justified his position saying he doesn’t reduce prices during eid celebrations because Muslims don’t spend much compared to Christians.
“[During Eid], he explains, people don’t buy things [like] new clothes….Christians are the ones who buy new clothes”.
Alinafe Chilinda is a Christian trader who operates a restaurant and shopping centre in Blantyre. She attributes the problem to the nature of the eid celebration itself saying during Islamic festivities the celebrations are mostly confined to the home. She claims Muslims rarely go out for eating or shopping during their holidays.
“That’s not true,” Binali disagrees, according to Voa. “In fact I buy new clothes each and every year. And it is also Sunna (the teachings of Prophet Muhammad) to buy new clothes on Eid. Maybe [the explanation is] that the Christian community is quite large compared to Muslim community here in Malawi. But they [Muslim traders] need to consider us by reducing the prices during Eid festivities. [Their] attitude is very bad. I am telling you God will punish them.”
However, National Coordinator for the Islamic Information Bureau Sheikh Dinala Chabulika has advised Muslims to look the issue from both angles but was quick to say, “you don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate a good bargain”.
“The concern is genuine,” he says, “but a businessman always looks at where he is going to make more profit or do more business. As Muslims we are supposed to promote our own activities. There is nothing wrong with decreasing the price of goods during other celebrations because he wants to make a profit but [it’s not good] to neglect Islam by doing nothing during Islamic [holidays].”