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The Holy Month of Ramadan

The word “Ramadan” is derived from the word ramd, meaning “to burn”. This month is predominantly sacred for Muslims mainly because the Noble Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during this month. It is during this time also that he declared to his followers that the gates of Heaven will be open, and the gates of Hell will be closed.  During Ramadan, Muslims go into fasting literally from dawn to dusk. It is believed that the reason they are fasting is to burn all sins. They break their fast daily depending on what time the sun will set. They call this meal “Iftar”.  For non-Muslims, it is widely thought that the period of Ramadan can be quite restrictive in terms of how they move in public. But instead of focusing on the restrictions, anyone can enjoy this season and appreciate this part of Muslim culture. One can share an Iftar meal with Muslim friends. Another way is to visit the many Ramadan tents set up throughout the country.

To mention the normal limits applied during Ramadan:

  1. Dress more conservatively than usual during this month
  2. Do not eat, drink, even chew a gum, smoke a cigarette in public places or offices
  3. Pay more attention to one’s fasting colleagues and acquaintances, and avoid any arguments or heated discussion as much as possible to show support and understanding in their fasting

Work timings are reduced during the time of Ramadan from eight hours to six hours. However, it is normally the discretion of companies, especially private ones if the Ramadan timings shall be applied to all employees or to Muslims only. Currently, in an effort to minimize the effect of the reduced timings in their companies, private firms only apply these timings to Muslims.

The start of Ramadan, this year is believed tentatively to be on the 24th September, or whenever the sighting of the moon will occur. The end of Ramadan is also decided the same way a month later. Eid Al Fitr, or the celebration of the end of Ramadan happens the morning following the sighting of the new moon.

Literally, Eid means to gather or to celebrate. Thus, the Eid celebrations all over the world involve people getting together for festivities. It is a practice during this period to visit relatives and friends, especially the sick and elderly. Special sweets are made especially for Eid Al Fitr and new clothes are purchased for children.

As Eid Al Fitr is normally celebrated for three days. All public offices remain closed for the festivities, as well as some private private sector offices. So that’s what Muslims call Ramadan.

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Dubai Informer


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