The Punjab Assembly passed a resolution that bans celebrities from hosting Ramzan shows. The resolution was presented on grounds that said celebrities do not know enough about Islam and the spirit of this holy month to be preaching it.

Ramzan transmissions have become something of a national phenomenon over the last few years. Their airing times coincide with Sehri and Iftar timings. Networks compete to show who has bigger sponsors to giveaway more and spread the spirit of the month; at least their version of it.

These shows are often hosted by a well-renowned celebrity or two, along with a token religious scholar sat somewhere on set. Rather than a celebration of the holy month, these shows are often a spectacle of consumerism. Hosts hand out free sponsored gifts to desperate audience members, often in exchange for answering a general knowledge question or performing some humiliating task.

However, when we think about it objectively; what does any of this really have to do with the spirit of this month? The holy month of Ramzan and the act of fasting are meant to teach believers patience, tolerance and, self-control. It is also an opportunity for us to cleanse ourselves and prioritize prayer over material things. How do shows meant mostly to further the commercial interests of their sponsors assist in any of this?

Last year during Ramzan, after multiple warnings to showrunners to maintain decorum, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) as well as PEMRA had halted transmissions of these shows because they “appeared to be like circus shows” and thus, were sacrilegious to the holy month.

This year the Punjab Assembly took preemptive action and barred celebrities from hosting these transmissions. This decision can help prevent these shows from becoming the spectacle of celebrity and preserve the sanctity.

Celebrities have also come forward to protest the decision, saying that the IHC cannot decide who does or does not know enough about Islam. However, the Ramzan transmission shows are not the problem. The celebrities hosting these shows aren’t even the problem. The problem arises when we sensationalize the content or prioritize commercial interests over faith and the sanctity of the month.


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