Ra­madan 1439

Res­i­dents and Emi­ratis at­tended fajr prayers as Ra­madan starts, re­flect­ing on the her­itage of Is­lam

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE - Les­lie Pableo for The Na­tional

Wor­ship­pers break their fast on the first day of the holy month at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Hun­dreds of wor­ship­pers gath­ered at the Al Salam Mosque in Dubai to per­form the first morn­ing prayers of Ra­madan.

As the muezzin’s prayer call rose above the city, the crowds drank their fi­nal sips of wa­ter of the morn­ing and aligned for fajr prayers. Some brought their chil­dren who would rub their eyes be­tween rukas.

For Bothayna Sadeq, a Jor­da­nian woman who moved to the Emi­rates 10 years ago, Ra­madan is all about spir­i­tual re­flec­tion and dwelling on the cul­ture and her­itage of Is­lam.

“I woke at 3am to ar­rive in time for the fajr prayers. I want to ded­i­cate this month for pray­ing, read­ing Qu­ran as much as pos­si­ble and do­nate money to the needy.”

The 53-year-old said: “Fast­ing gives you a spe­cial kind feel­ing. It’s about sens­ing the needs of the poor. I, my two sons and grand­chil­dren try giv­ing away even be­fore Ra­madan, so peo­ple can pre­pare them­selves for the holy month.”

She said she likes to use the spirit of the month to teach her grand­chil­dren the im­por­tance of giv­ing, fast­ing and pray­ing.

“I am plan­ning to read some sto­ries about Prophet Mo­hammed to them too,” said Mrs Sadeq.

Fa­tima Badir, an Emi­rati mother of three, said that, for her, Ra­madan means ex­er­cis­ing pa­tience and self­less­ness.

“I look for­ward to do­nat­ing and do­ing good for oth­ers.

I will cook some meals and dis­trib­ute them to the needy. Fast­ing through­out the day is a re­minder of how many peo­ple are starv­ing around the world,” Mrs Badir said.

“Per­form­ing prayers gives Mus­lims a spe­cial kind of feel­ing in Ra­madan. It’s like cleans­ing of the soul.”

She woke her chil­dren early on Thurs­day morn­ing so they too could pray.

“In­still­ing in our chil­dren the im­por­tance of per­form­ing prayers is a must.

“In this time and age, there are so many dis­trac­tions from fol­low­ing the path of Is­lam and per­form­ing the sim­plest acts of worship. We need to teach the younger gen­er­a­tion and our chil­dren about the im­por­tance of fast­ing, pray­ing and help­ing oth­ers,” Mrs Badir said.

The op­por­tu­nity to gather fam­ily to­gether more reg­u­larly is also an­other part of Ra­madan that Mrs Badir loves.

“We con­stantly in­vite fam­ily mem­bers for if­tar meals in Ra­madan. We all gather, re­cite du’a be­fore maghreb prayers. It’s so beau­ti­ful.”

Hadeel Yousef, a 17-year-old girl who came to the mosque to per­form prayers with her fa­ther, said she looks for­ward to Ra­madan each year.

“I re­ally ad­mire this month. It gives me a sense of spir­i­tu­al­ity and close­ness to Al­lah. I was taught, since I was a lit­tle child, not to miss any prayers, read Qu­ran on a daily ba­sis and not be dis­tracted by tele­vi­sion or any­thing. This month is ded­i­cated to worship Al­lah,” she said.

“My fa­ther or­gan­ises gath­er­ings with some fam­ily mem­bers and friends. Af­ter if­tar, we per­form night prayers and taraweeh prayers. Also, the last 10 nights of Ra­madan give you a spe­cial kind of feel­ing.”

Sami Alaa, 31, a Syr­ian, said that he had learnt the im­por­tance of fast­ing and per­form­ing acts of wor­ships dur­ing the holy month from his par­ents.

“When I was younger I used to en­joy if­tar meals, gath­er­ings with fam­ily and friends and watch­ing pro­grammes in Ra­madan. My fa­ther would tell me the rea­sons be­hind fast­ing were to feel em­pa­thy for those who are suf­fer­ing in ex­treme poverty.

“As I grew up, I be­gan to un­der­stand that Ra­madan is not about the lav­ish meals or the tele­vi­sion pro­grammes. It is about de­vel­op­ing a one-to-one re­la­tion­ship with Al­lah,” said Mr Alaa, who moved to Dubai when in Grade 6.

“Ra­madan is a month of deep meditation and self-con­trol It is a month when Mus­lims can ask God for any­thing and it will hap­pen.”

The op­por­tu­nity to gather fam­ily to­gether more reg­u­larly is an­other im­por­tant part of Ra­madan

Vic­tor Besa / The Na­tional

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, above and main

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