It's that time of year - the run up to Ramadan
. The media start to write the regular articles to tell everyone what Ramadan (or Ramadhan, as it is sometimes spelt) is really all about. But the big questions concern practicality. What are the office timings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi? Re there different rules for expats and locals? And are there different rules for government institutions and private companies. Although we know more or less what these should be, it always follows the same flow, with announcement after announcement - and every company will announce what its rules are to its employees. Shouldn't these be set in stone - are there some mysterious forces in play that mix things up every year to make it necessary to announce it. Why don't we set up law number 13472453 article 458263 stating that all companies should work 2 hours less, unless the company opts out. Or more specifically for those that have 10 hour work days - 9 til 2. Easy. The only exceptions should be places like the stock market and hospitals etc. Done. No need for an announcement on work hours or office timing for Ramadan.
The only announcement that needs to be made is the first day of Ramadan. Everyone wonders when the first day of Ramadan is. We know roughly when it is going to be because it is based on a lunar calendar. Yet there is inches of editorial associated with the moon sighting committee (a job that I have always wanted). A simple solution is outsourcing. Let's outsouce it to probably the best moon sighting committee in the world whose whole livelihood depends on that moon. A simple call to Saudi Arabia - and when it's announced by them it's done - no country is second guessing each other - there's no mistaking a cloud for a moon. Let's get the GCC to put there monetary union issues aside and centralise moonsighting.
Next, prayer times. Ramadan is time for to be that extra bit holy. So those that don't usually make an effort, make that effort, but everyone seems to be a little confused that prayer times for ramadan are that much different to regular prayer times. Umm. Let's put it like this. They are the same and they change by a few minutes each day, as they usually do. Dusk to dawn and all that. But yet everyone seems to be obsessed about what time prayers are. We seem to have forgotten about something that happens at prayer time. Yes, you've guessed it - the call to prayer, and to make it easier - they make it that little bit louder during morning prayer, extra big speaker etc, so that you can haul yourself out of bed and scoot down to your local, if you're that way inclined. If you're not that way inclined, then try and sleep through it! Oh and then there is Taraweeh prayers, the extra prayers of Ramadan. if you want to attend the mosque for these prayers, I guess you should really be attending for the regular prayers and you'll get to know when these are. Done. (Addedum: For those of you that want them, here are the Ramadan prayer times for Dubai
as well as the Ramadan prayer times for Abu Dhabi
Here are some words of wisdom and tidbits of information:
Be a little careful when driving to return for iftar at the end of the day - that's when everyone has accidents. Why? Because people haven't eaten, don't realise what they are doing and have got food rage while on the road.
If you don't fast, don't walk down the SZR, gulping down your can can of Coke, flaunting your lack of thirst. It'll piss people off and will get the "Ramadan Police" on to you. It's serious stuff - if you're not wastified you could get banged up for a month. If you must eat or drink during daylight hours, ie between the suhoor meal (dawn) and iftar (dusk), why not do it behind closed doors?
What does Ramadan mean? The word 'Ramadan' comes from 'Ramida' meaning 'scorched heat' or 'parched thirst'.
What does Ramadan Kareem mean? Well, it is the greeting of Ramadan and you say to it to everyone in celebration of Ramadan, and it means that Ramadan is generous.
Why is Ramadan important? Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed during this month on the of night of Laylat ul Qadr, which is on one of the last ten nights of Ramadhan - those are the nights when people will be awake all night praying.
Why generous - if you can't eat? Well, Ramadan is supposed to be a time for giving, giving to the poor, and helping out those in need. That's why you see the charity tents set up around the whole of the UAE, not just in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Generous also, because the shops want you to shop. Just like the Xmas sales in the West, the Ramadan or Eid discounts and sales will get you to buy more than you need and hopefully buy for your loved ones for Eid.
What's the deal with the buffets? When breaking fast (Iftar), people's eyes are bigger than their stomachs. The stomach has shrunk during the day and thus will not need much to become full. Dont be conned into paying for a buffet when it may not physically be possible to gobble down 25 pizza slices in one setting. Eat as much as you CAN, rather than eat as much as you want.
Most night clubs close, most bars close, music is not played etc etc. (although some stay open). But with the shisha tents open and there is much business undertaken over a puff of grapeshisha. That said, Ramadan in a downturn means that there may not be as many tents, or as many discounts according to the WSJ
Ramadan Kareem (for when it is sighted, perhaps Friday or Sturday), and enjoy the run up to Eid, in a lunar calendar month's time.Ramadan Prayer Times in the UAE
Labels: ramadan, ramadhan