Dubai: Residents have shared how Ramadan ushers a new rhythm in their daily lives, making them grow spiritually, becoming more charitable and spending time with loved ones.
Emirati author Abdulla Kazim, 40, said the Ramadan is a very special time for him and his family. “Though the first few days of Ramadan is a bit difficult for us, we start enjoying the remaining days. It is a special month for Arabs and Muslims. But what is more special for us is experiencing Ramadan in the UAE. Fasting brings us internal peace during this holy month. During this month, we use the privilege of reduced working hours to get closer to God and also to strengthen family bonds,” he added.
Kazim said both adults and small children enjoy Ramadan in a very special way. “Children fast for a few hours but they enjoy the experience. It is a very fulfilling month indeed.”
He added that Ramadan also strengthens family bonds, saying: “The young ones in the family enjoy Ramadan as we have family gatherings and it is fun and spiritual.”
'We try our best'
Indian expat Dr Samina Khatib, 61, who is a doctor, said fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. “To us it’s a month in which we try to be the best human being by following the true spirit of Islam. We try to obey our Creator by doing the prescribed fasts in the true spirit of Ramadan. It is a month to cleanse your body and soul, ask for forgiveness, be thankful for all the blessings that we take so much for granted,” she added.
She said Ramadan helps Muslims develop self-control and be charitable. “The month teaches us to share, care and be grateful for all that we are blessed with. We feel happy for all that we are blessed with, not just financially, but with every thought, word and action by pleasing our Creator,” said Dr Khatib, who has been a COVID-19 front-liner for more than two years.
“The social structure of the society begins at the level of the family. We are a mix in our family of East and West. Our daughters-in-law are American. The holy month help us all bond together in a very special way. We fast together, do Iftar together. The month teaches us to be the best and set the best example to our future generations to come."
Growing together as a family
Pakistani expat Maryam Adeel Khan, 40, a housewife, said she and her family look forward to Ramadan every year and preparations start 15 days prior to the advent of the special month.
“We prepare our minds and home regarding allocating time and space for our prayers, recitation of the Quran. We also shop for certain food items and ingredients which we use in preparing special Iftar meals,” she added.
Khan said the month of Ramadan is a spiritual and giving time for her and the family. “Before Ramadan we send money to people in financial distress.”
She has noticed that the family becomes very time conscious during Ramadan. “Punctuality is in focus. For example, our prayer and eating times are fixed. So the family learns to respect time and staying punctual. This is also a time when the family goes to the mosque for prayers as much as possible. It surely strengthens our family bonding and together we grow spiritually,” said Khan.
'Fasting from bad habits'
Zanzibar expat Ayda Ali said Ramadan is a period of reflection and self-control.
“Many of us associate Ramadan with fasting from food and drink but in fact the more challenging and meaningful aspect to me is fasting from your bad habits and focusing on positivity and piety. During Ramadan one must steer away from negative thoughts, control their temper and do their best to be peaceful and forgiving. There is also a huge focus on giving back and, of course, the payment of zakah [alms]. The past two years have brought unprecedented changes to the world and I hope this Ramadan we can all choose peace and patience,” Ali said
Indian expat Meghna Khan, a career coach at a counselling service, said Ramadan to her is a month that helps believers purify their hearts.
“It is a renewal of our faith, seek forgiveness, and increase self-discipline. It is also a time to focus on what is most important and positive in our life. I am looking forward to it as it’s a wonderful opportunity to introspect what matters at the end of the day and helps in reaffirming our submission and full faith in a fact that Allah is the only way of life,” she said.