Expat Life in Dubai

Ramadan 2013.

July 22, 2013

ramadan-kareem

I haven’t been blogging lately because my life plainly revolves around work these days. Ramadan has started last 9th of July and since then my life has gone haywire. Well not really my life but my schedule.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar; Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths. The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is fard “obligatory” for adult Muslims, except those who are ill, traveling, pregnant, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding.

While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations; in some interpretations they also refrain from swearing. Food and drink is served daily, before sunrise and after sunset. According to Islam, the thawab (rewards) of fasting are many, but in this month they are believed to be multiplied. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers) and recitation of the Quran.

As I am living in a Muslim country and is not practicing their religion, I am one of the many who would have to stay back after work to cover for the fasting Muslims. They have shortened working hours during Ramadan so someone else must cover for them. It’s actually fine with me I mean, imagine yourself without food for the whole day and you’d have to work regular hours? That’s just crazy! I’d probably go mental if that was me. However, during Ramadan our office is open for longer hours during the weekend. So it basically means that from Thursdays upto Saturdays, I’d be working from 2pm to 10pm (Fridays and Saturdays are the weekend in this part of the world). Our normal working hours is actually 9am to 6pm only. So yes, it’s kinda tiring.

During the holy month of Ramadan, as a sign of respect to all of those who are fasting – eating, drinking and smoking outside during the day is also not allowed. I have been living in this city for 6 years now so I’m actually very used to it. Most of the restaurants will be closed during the day and will only start serving food at 7pm but some fast food joints will remain open and will be available for take away or deliveries. If you are a tourist coming to Dubai, you better check the schedule of Ramadan as it would’ve been a pity if you came here during that time. Ramadan actually does not have a fixed date as to when it will start so you better plan your Dubai visit ahead of time.

What I don’t understand is, the weather seem to be following the Ramadan season as well. A few days before Ramadan, the weather was actually bearable but as soon as the start of Ramadan was announced – I felt like another sun which is bigger, brighter and hotter appeared in the galaxy solely for United Arab Emirates. Seriously. It’s freaking hot these days and not being able to drink water is truly a sacrifice. I do have full respect to those who are really fasting during Ramadan.

As soon as the sun sets (around 7:15pm Dubai time), the Muslims break their fast and will have a lavish meal called iftar. I have been invited to a lot of iftar meals and it’s actually quite festive. The downside is, most of the really good iftars are during the weekend so I can’t attend those. 🙁 Anyhoots, I plan to attend as many iftars as possible as long as my crazy schedule allows me to. Diet? What diet?

Anyway, Ramadan is coming to an end – it’s only roughly two weeks before we get to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr. However, again I will be working. We were supposed to be joined by one Muslim staff for that day but I told my manager to let the Muslim staff take an off to enjoy this celebration. As a Christian, it would’ve been really disappointing if I was asked to work on a Christmas Day if I was living in a place where Christmas is widely celebrated. Actually during my first Christmas here in Dubai, one of my colleagues spoke to our supervisor to let me have a day off since it’s Christmas anyway. So I’m just paying that kindness forward to my colleague this year.

I can’t wait for the Ramadan to be over because it means, I am one month closer to my holiday on September! Yippppeeee!

Ramadan Kareem to all the Muslim readers.

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No Comments

  • Reply nadamohammed July 23, 2013 at 18:08

    It always feels great to pay the kindness forward. Good post, and all the best in work!

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