Holy month of Ramadan
Posted by Admin on September 15, 2007
It’s Ramadan time again…
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a special month for over two billion Muslims throughout the world. It is of a special meaning to Muslims as it is the Fourth Pillar of The Muslim Faith.
Sawm (fasting) during the month of Ramadan represents more than an act of worship, as it is time for inner reflection, devotion to god and self – control. It is also thought of as a sort of tune – up for a Muslim’s spiritual life.
What are the benefits of fasting?
The fasting of Ramadan is believed to improve the physical and mental health. It gives a rest for a stomach, which is working 24 hours a day for eleven months and has been proven to be a good method of losing extra weight. The month feels like going “into maintenance” and is almost like charging one’s batteries for the rest of the year. It is also a break from the routine of modern life.
Fasting is also considered as a method of self-purification by cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry. It also teaches the meaning of self-control, patience, unselfishness, moderation, will power, discipline and social belonging.
Who fasts in Ramadan?
Sawm or Abstention means complete abstention from eating, drinking, smoking and intimate sexual contact from dawn to sunset. It also means curbing of even the smallest of evil intentions and desires.
Fasting of Ramadan is obligatory to every adult Muslim, male or female if he/she is mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. Women in certain conditions (period of menstruation and nursing) are exempted from fasting but must make it up if they can otherwise they must feed a needy person for every day missed.
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan is part of the Lunar Calendar and begins with the sighting of the new moon. Since the Lunar Calendar is eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan comes eleven days earlier every year which allows fasting in various seasons and weather conditions . Ramadan for the year 2003 is expected on October 25 th depending on the sighting of the moon.
How is Ramadan in Dubai?
Ramadan in Dubai is a unique and different experience due to the fact that people from different parts of the world live and bring their own cultural heritage to this cosmopolitan city.
The working hours are slightly altered During Ramadan and all restaurants and coffee shops remain closed from dawn to sunset. While Public Restaurants and coffee shops outside hotels remain closed during the day, Restaurants at hotels remain open during the day and food and drinks are freely served in those areas. Each hotel has a different policy on which and how many food & drink outlets are open so it is advisable to check with your hotel.
While non-Muslims are not required to fast, they are obliged by law not to eat, drink or smoke in all public areas such as streets, shopping malls, cars and public offices during the fasting hours. All hotels currently serving alcohol can continue to do so after Iftar i.e. from 19:00 until 02:00.
Dubai is generally very tolerant with regards to clothing in public areas and on private beaches. In Ramadan It is advisable to have sensible attire when out in public areas especially during the day. Swim suites are allowed on Private beaches.
What goes on after sunset?
The city is bustling with life in the morning and until the early afternoon when it is time to break fasting ( Iftar in Arabic). Traffic clearly slows down during the Iftar period. The city goes back to the very busy mode of the morning and remains so until the early hours of the morning. Shopping centres and Souks open up for business after Iftar and remain so until late at night. It is customary to see people doing their shopping as late as 01:00 or 02:00.
Fasting people go out after Iftar to one of the hundreds of coffee shops in the city to enjoy the evening and stay up until late at night chatting, and eating and drinking special Ramadan delicacies. Most hotels especially those on the beach set up their own (Ramadan tent) out in the open and by the beach to entertain guests all night.
What happens after Ramadan?
The end of Ramadan is announced by the sighting of the moon and the festivities ( Eid in Arabic) go on for three days. The 1 st day of Eid begins at dawn when all Muslims go for prayer out in the open. Visits to relatives and friends especially the sick and the elderly take place all day and Special sweets are made for the occasion and new clothes are purchased for the children. All public offices and some private sector offices remain closed for the festivities.