This week I went out in the streets of Morocco’s coastal city of Nador where I live, and I asked people about their resolutions for the New Year.
One lesson I learned from this experience is that the New Year resolution is a tradition yet to find its place among us Moroccans, at least those of us living in Morocco. Many of the people I approached with the question ‘What are your New Year’s resolutions?’ were taken aback. While most of them never bothered about making New Year resolutions, many others preached me on how this is a Western and a Christian tradition and contradicts our Islamic teachings.
I was however able to get answers to the question from a number of my subjects. Here are 10 answers which I thought reflected the socio-economic environment in Morocco, and which I am sure many of us will relate to.
1. Go back to Allah
“Truth be said, I have done so many nasty things in my life, I smoked, I drank alcohol, I have seen (slept with) women…etc. I have hurt so many people in my life, especially my mother. I hope she will forgive me, and I hope Allah will forgive me. I really want to go back to Allah, pray and be a nice person.” Rida (goods smuggler, 24)
2. Go to Europe
“What my New Year resolutions are? Get to Europe in one way or another..haha..yes, and then go to Germany or Norway, find a job, find a beautiful European woman with blue eyes and live with her… and every summer come with her to Morocco to enjoy the sun and the beach.” Issam (student, 21)
3. Get married
“It is really not a resolution, it is just something I wish for, and just pray for Allah that it will happen and wait haha… I want to find a nice man to get married with and have children… Honestly, he does not have to be rich or prince charming, just someone who will respect me and care about me… but…you know, it is just a wish, there is nothing I can do to make it happen, just wait.” Jamila (receptionist 31)
4. Quit smoking (hashish)
“I have a long list of them, but quitting this (pointing to his cigarette) is my priority. You see…I also do other things. I smoke hashish, too. I hope to start with quitting hashish first and then quit cigarettes. In truth this is a resolution I am making every day, over and over again. I have wasted a lot of money in this poison, you know. And look at my health, look at my teeth… you should see me in the morning.” Hassan (construction worker, 48)
5. Learn how to pick up girls
“haha…I don’t know, maybe learn how to pick up girls. There are plenty of beautiful girls around here, also [Moroccan] girls from Europe, but you need to know how to talk to them. They are all different, and they all want boys with good looks, good clothes, boys who have money and a good car. But I do not have all that. But if you know how to approach them and talk to them, you will maybe be able to find your girl and why not, find love. (To me he said) How about you…would you be interested in exchanging numbers with me?” Rida (street vendor, 24)
6. Get rid of negative people
“Get rid of people with a negative influence in my life is my number one resolution, if any. We all have bad people in our life, I am sure you too have bad people in your life. My advice to you, is that you kick them out of your life before it is too late.” Abdessamad (waiter, 33)
7. Send my mother to Hajj
“I want to send my mother to Haj, God willing… I have been saving for it for some time, and hopefully I will be able to do this for her next year. My father has already been to Hajj… this is the least one can do for his parents.” Miloud (street vendor, 33)
8. Give up sugar
“I want to give up sugar completely. Honestly, like 100%. Have you seen how many [table] spoons of sugar we put in our tea? That’s just ignorance, it does us no good, my dear. On the contrary it only harms us. Look how many Moroccans suffer from diabetes as a result. Diabetes is the number one disease Moroccans suffer from. Slashing salt is worth trying too, but that would be next. Now, it is sugar.” Mohamed (shopkeeper, 39)
9. Be thankful to Allah
“I really do not make plans; Allah has plans for me and for you and for each one of us. Our fate is predestined…we Muslims believe in divine destiny; it is one of the six articles of our religion. All we can do is be thankful to Allah and say Alhamdulillah.” Mohamed (teacher, 36)
10. Memorize the Quran
“I want to memorize the Quran, God willing. I have already memorized part of it, and I hope I will be able to memorize all of it by the end of next year. Memorizing the Quran and reciting it are among the best of good deeds in our religion and mentioned alongside Salat and Zakah.” Asmae (teacher, 29)
So, there you have them folks! 10 very Moroccan resolutions for the New Year. I’m all gratitude to the wonderful Moroccans who took part in this project, especially those who shared their resolutions with us.
HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope all of your goals and dreams will be fulfilled. Would you care to share some of them in the comments below? 😉