Worshippers perform their first Taraweeh prayer at Abdul Khaliq Al Khoory mosque near Al Falah street in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday night. Image Credit: ABDUL RAHMAN /Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Ramadan is a time of spirituality, prayer and spending time with relatives and family. It is also a time of reflection and learning from oneself and from others around us, whether they are Muslim, or people of different religious backgrounds.

In a multicultural place like Abu Dhabi, Ramadan is a time to be embraced and valued by all, regardless of their beliefs. Gulf News caught up with a number of non-Muslim residents and talked to them about their experiences of Ramadan in the capital.

"Ramadan is definitely a special time for all of us. I'm not a Muslim myself, but it's interesting to live in an Arab country at this time of the year, and observe people's traditions and customs. I enjoy a lot of things during this month, in particular the atmosphere, Ramadan tents and of course the food," Rosaline Saatdjian, an Armenian expatriate and long-term Abu Dhabi resident, said.

"People also tend to be nicer during Ramadan and more giving. It teaches you how to be kinder and more considerate and caring of others," she added.

Atta Allah Al Layous, who works in the construction business, mirrored similar sentiments. He felt observing his fellow Muslim colleagues during Ramadan was a humbling experience.

"For me, when I see how they are working in the heat all day, without being able to eat or drink, I have a lot of respect for them. It is a humbling experience. It makes you think about working hard yourself and teaches one how to not complain about difficult conditions," the 28-year-old Palestinian, said.

Mulu Abra, an Ethiopian expatriate with a Christian background, added: "Since I fast myself as part of my religion, I can definitely empathise with people who are fasting at this time. I like the city during this time of the year, particularly during Eid festivities."


Many of the routine things that usually take up our days become less of a priority during Ramadan, and family and social bonds become more prevalent. Many non-Muslims reiterated they enjoyed this.

"At night, everybody is out, and being sociable," Al Layous said.

American expatriate, Jeffery Karns, who enjoys cooking, likes Ramadan as it provides him with a good use for his hobby.

"It gives me a good reason to cook and have friends over," he said.