Shaving Privates Ryan

Published: May 5, 2014
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Note: Shaving items are sold on the condition that they will not be used to clean the beard, since its a huge sin. PHOTO: JUNAID AKRAM

Alfred Noble invented the dynamite in order to facilitate mining. His invention was misused and resulted in one of the highest death tolls of humans by any weapon. You can’t control the consuming end. Considering that, if you fear your product might be misused, just don’t sell it and avoid the doubts – especially when your reasons are based on religious grounds.

See, many people buy cucumbers but not all of them eat them. Some just use them for garnishing and throw them away. Don’t get the wrong idea, people.

As is seen in the picture above, this is what I term a roadmap to radicalisation. A supermart based in a posh locality of Defence, in the city of lights (by light I mean intellectually, because K-Electric), in the land of the pure and what better location than on ‘Ittehad Muslim Commercial’ because that’s not an oxymoron – this store sells razor blades on promises that you won’t shave your beard, because that’s un-Islamic and we’re really known for keeping promises and being honest – sweet.

Now, I don’t know anything about this store and we probably don’t shop from there (neither will) but what really caught my attention is the religious reasoning behind selling a product. I am not practically a religious person but I have just offered my jummah prayer before writing this. And I have a beard, mainly because it goes well with my bald head – no religious reasons per se. Neither am I well-read enough to delve deeper into the topic. But I’m 30-years-old, which means my 20s were spent on Facebook discussing, arguing and defending religion, if not Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). So I am bringing in that experience and would like to ask some questions from the store management, if I may.

Just trying to get to know how Islamic you guys are.

1) If I come to your store to buy condoms, do I have to present my nikahnama?

2) Do you sell condoms? If yes, do you know that contraception is frowned upon in Islam?

3) Do any of your products contain traces of gelatine?

4) Do the workers get their wages before their sweat dries up, or are you following the yahoodi nizaam (Jewish system) of monthly salary?

5) Are you sure you are not misusing the pavements to set up your stalls?

6) Are you sure you are not misusing any parking spots dedicated for the public?

7) Does your supply truck oftentimes block the traffic and you find it normal?

8) Is your store overly lit against the authorised unit usage?

9) Upon random visit by K-Electric, would they find any kundas (illegal connections)?

10) If the food inspection team were to visit, are you sure they won’t find insects in the food consumables?

11) If they were to inspect the storage room, would there be bumps of dried oil and rats running around?

12) What’s the level of cleanliness in your store? Because safayee nisf imaan hai (cleanliness is half of faith) and you probably don’t want to risk your half.

13) Are you properly disposing your trash? Are you recycling?

14) Do you care about the quality of the product before placing it on the aisles or do you just accept it because that’s how it came to you?

15) If the tax teams were to be sent, would we find Book A for tax and Book B with the real dough in it? Are you paying your taxes in full? Are you willing to make your tax returns public?

16) Are you pleasant with customers? Do you smile even when you don’t feel like, and use the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ often enough?

17) Is your female staff (which I doubt there might be) adorned in full hijab?

18) Do all of your staff members have beards?

19) Can we have access to your annual Zakat returns?

20) Do you have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy?

21) Does your store offer a safe working environment for your employees? Do you have clear exits in case of emergencies? Are you well equipped with fire extinguishers and first aid kits?

22) Are you sure you don’t have posters of Bollywood actresses all over your store, endorsing products in revealing clothes?

23) Will we find Tony The Tiger in the cereal section? Do you know pictures of animals or any form of animation is haram?

24) Are your employees happy with you?

25) Are your neighbours happy with you?

26) Do you ever manipulate with price controlling of products?

27) Do you create fake shortages to raise the demand of certain products?

28) Do you provide any form of relief to the customers in the holy month of Ramazan or does profit mean more to you?

29) Can you testify that you have never bribed any government official to get something done for your store?

30) And lastly, if I’m not supposed to shave my beard, may I ask why you are selling a five-blade razor? Do you want us not to have kids?

If you fall under the criteria of the above-mentioned questions, then you may very well write those things on the cash slips. If you’re failing it, then you are negating everything that Islam stands for – the rights of others. Besides, you are doing what most Pakistanis do; apni jannat ko chor ke dusray ki dozakh ki fikar karna (forgetting ones own way to heaven and worrying about someone else going to hell).

May Allah (swt) give you hidayat, Amen.

Junaid Akram

Junaid Akram

A Pakistani stand up comedian based in Dubai who tweets at @june_aid (twitter.com/june_aid)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.