Maheen Abbas and her husband. Image Credit: Courtesy: Maheen Abbas

Maheen Abbas, a Pakistani human resource professional residing in Abu Dhabi, says the Ramadan tradition of distributing food for iftar to orphanages, mosques and neighbours is especially fulfilling.

Maheen usually distributes food for iftar every weekend. “I prepare [the meals] at home and pack them in disposable boxes for the day I need to send them out,” she said.

“So I start preparing for things from Thursday, and prefer to send them out on Friday,” she said.

During the week, Maheen distributes meals to her neighbours instead.

According to Abbas, sending out iftar is a cultural tradition that she enjoys because of the “spirit of sharing, as well as giving in the name of Allah”.

“When we prepare iftar for other Muslims, or the poor and hungry, it makes us feel more thankful to our creator,” she said.

She also donates money to charities to help finance iftar meal schemes.

“We also visit the graveyards during the last ashra [last ten days] of Ramadan,” she added. Her family members also frequently visit graveyards.

“Visiting the graveyards reminds us of the fact that the world is going to come to an end,” she said. “We all have to die one day and we should be prepared ... and be pious in our actions.”

As for her children, who are too young to fast during Ramadan, Maheen attempts to teach them different Islamic prayers, and narrates them Ramadan picture stories. “We try to keep them as close to the spirit of the month as we can,” she says.

Her husband has his own ritual of donating blood twice a year, one of which is during the month of Ramadan.

This Ramadan, Maheen is trying to improve her understanding of the Quran. “I will be reading the Quran along with its tafseer [interpretation] and translation,” she said.

“I want to understand the Quran even better with every passing year of my life,” she said.

— Nouf Bakhsh is an intern at Gulf News