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22 September, 2006

Ramadan kareem

The moon is sighted and the holy month begins.

With all the excitement and preparation over the past few weeks for Ramadan, with tents being put up in hotels and malls, and people starting to plan iftars and suhours, one gets a sense of what muslims living outside the Islamic world miss out on.

The best way to describe it is like a more spiritual Christmas season (since Lent, a closer equivalent, is not generally observed in the West). There's the same sense of festivity, family and peace on earth, with glittering decorations and delicious gifts on display, but with far less commercialism and general tackiness.

Ramadan preserves a deeply spiritual nature that Christmas has somewhat lost, perhaps due to its universalisation. Everyone gets public holidays at Christmas, and ends up buying presents and getting invited to Christmas parties, regardless of whether they are Christians or even believers.

Muslims do share Ramadan with non-muslims: they invite them to iftars, and are always very willing to explain customs and traditions. But it remains a predominantly religious festival, with prayers, fasting, mosque, charity and family the most important elements. The entire region shifts into a different gear for Ramadan, something that is hard to comprehend unless you live in the Middle East, or visit during the holy month. The fact that religion and traditions are prioritised above the thrust and pace of commerce is at first startling, and then quite moving.

The world doesn't end just because people decide to put spiritual matters first for a few weeks. In fact the world is probably a lot better for it.

Labels:

64 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

رمضان كريم

Ramadan Kareem!!!

The month of blessings and givings. May Allah (S.W.T.) bless you all.

22 September, 2006 23:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said SD, I love Ramadan as it brings a special feel in the air. Apart from the spritual importance which should be respected above all, I also enjoy the festive edible treats & delicious juices, the lack of traffic and a break to the daily grind of life. Ramadan Mubarak!!

23 September, 2006 00:32  
Blogger al-republican said...

First time I read something on your blogs and smiled whole-heartedly. I had promised myself I wouldn't comment here anymore, but I guess I will make this exception.

Ramadhan Kareem!

23 September, 2006 00:32  
Blogger halfmanhalfbeer said...

Amazing how they saw the moon last night given that it was the day of the new moon ie 100% invisibility from anywhere on earth. Maybe in ad something to do with the weekend in Saudi

23 September, 2006 08:45  
Blogger Jassim said...

Ramadhan Kareeem

23 September, 2006 11:48  
Blogger Dubai-Informer said...

RAMADAN KAREEM to all readers and bloggers from the Dubai Informer

23 September, 2006 11:50  
Blogger Anti-Demon said...

Ramadan Kareem!!!

23 September, 2006 12:15  
Blogger Proud Emirati said...

Ramadan Mubarak, not the Egyption President. lol

23 September, 2006 12:22  
Blogger Taunted said...

But you forgot to say to stay off the roads around sundown, it's worse than usual esp toward the end of the month!!

23 September, 2006 13:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ramadan Kareem etc etc.

But why do Muslims still kill each other in Iraq during the 'holy' month? Surely now it's Ramadan they are not encouraged to use explosives until sundown....

23 September, 2006 13:23  
Blogger ahmed said...

Ramadhan Kareem to everyone :)

23 September, 2006 13:24  
Blogger Harsha said...

the moon was sighted yesterday so that after 30 days eid can be declared on a sunday..making way for the extended weekend.. as usual

23 September, 2006 13:31  
Blogger Emirati said...

anonymous,

Why do some Americans gun down each other on Christmas or chop each other into little bits on thanksgiving ?

the world is full of evil.

23 September, 2006 14:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yippee- 30 days of smoke free shopping during day light hours..

I'm conducting a short survey on attitudes to passive smoking and would appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to complete it. The link is shown below. Thanks
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=572381385396

23 September, 2006 15:16  
Blogger AUH said...

Ramadan Kareem everyone

23 September, 2006 17:32  
Blogger Dani said...

ramadan kareem ya secret dubai! I can't believe we non-muslims are greating each other with this too. lol (reminded me of my muslim friends who didn't fail to greet me and our other muslim friends a merry christmas last year!)

23 September, 2006 18:30  
Anonymous boo said...

blocal - bloke in a dishdash and baseball cap
sitting in a pub


Hilarious

23 September, 2006 20:10  
Blogger Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Ramadan Kareem SD!

http://ramadankareem.blogspot.com

Feel free to post pictures of Ramadan wherever you are in the world.

23 September, 2006 20:24  
Blogger Mme Cyn said...

Am I the only cynic around here? My students get all 'holier-than-thou' on each other during Ramadan. Heaven forbid some girl 'forget' and wear an abaya with a little trim on it! And they use the feasting, partying and TV programs as an excuse to do nothing all month, and then blame their teachers for being unsympathetic when they flunk their classes. (And yes, my first Ramadan here I spent the month fasting during daylight hours, just so I COULD sympathize. And I managed to carry on with my work just fine.) Sorry, SD -- I don't notice much renewed spirituality in most of them. I notice kids dragging themselves around and complaining.

24 September, 2006 00:13  
Blogger Cokey said...

So did the locals put away their whores for the month ?! Wont they enjoy their homo-intercourse during this occasion?

Its all they want you to see.. ooh its RAMADAAAN !

On Eid it will be the same again. Sluts back on street, emiratis back on harassing woman and staring thru their shirts and asking them 'Sawii chig chig' from their land cruisers. Cafes and bars filled with BLOCALS (funny everytime u say)

Dubai will always be the same shithole.

24 September, 2006 04:56  
Anonymous trees said...

While it's true I as a western non-believer do not understand much of of the spiritual life. I listen and respect as much as I can. I know as an American this can be doubtful. A time to consecrate a life or re dedicate a life is something to be treasured. There are moments in my life to savour the willingness to look beyond the inconsequence of it all. A willingness to look to a life and a purpose beyond family, money, and legacy. Any society that does this in truth is worthy of reflection. And while I don't understand I do ask for wisdom. Just don't force me. I will listen

24 September, 2006 08:14  
Anonymous unJane said...

I too enjoy the lovely smokefree days and just stay off the roads at Iftar. For SD...in the words of Sade - smooth operator..............

24 September, 2006 09:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Emirati,

You are surely not comparing a few gun related crimes in the USA to mass murder by suicide bomber in Iraq, are you?

I would think that murders in the USA on Xmas or Thanksgiving are attributed to robbery, what were the Iraq suicide bombers murdering for???? Certainly not robbery,drugs,family dispute. Anyone care to suggest a reason?

24 September, 2006 09:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to know which 'Charitable' or 'Religous' ethic allows for using the hard shoulder to jump traffic queues?

It was worse than ever this morning. 'Get out of my way, I'm fasting and therefore deserve to go to the front'

24 September, 2006 10:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ramadan Kareem.

What I don't understand is why we (non muslims)are forced to not eat in public. Why is this "respect" demanded and enforced??

If anything wouldn't it show greater moral fibre if a muslims did not eat with all the tempation around him rather than not eat when all the temptation is removed.

And secondly, maybe we should start forcing all the muslims to give gifts during Christmas in the west... tit for tat baby.

24 September, 2006 10:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 10:41

Why muslim girls in west (e.g France) are forced to remove their hijab in schools? beacuse French says they are secular and it is against their secular traditions.

UAE is a muslim country and it is against our traditions to eat in public during Ramadan. Non-muslims are prohibited to eat only in public and in private they are allowed.

24 September, 2006 11:58  
Anonymous another proud Emirati said...

Anonymous @ 10:41

Why shouldnt u eat in public? Well that is because u are in an Islamic country.

Eating in public is like saying clearly "fuck u muslims". I dont really care if that is what u believe but if u want to it to do that in ur private home not in public.

Your freedom is limited by others freedom.

There is no such thing called a christian country (a secular country with christian majority maybe) so dont use the christmas gift as a comparison

So my friend stop being annoying and start respecting the tradition and the culture.

After all this is an Islamic country ;)

24 September, 2006 12:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that proud emirati.

So I guess by you eating beef you are saying fuck you to all the Hindus.

Its good to see the local population still has no concept of logic, respect and freedom of religion.

-DD

p.s: HOW does it affect anyone if I am eating in public? Am I hurting anyone? Am I forcing anyone to eat? I better shut up before they put a fatwa on me.

24 September, 2006 14:11  
Blogger Peter said...

Nice post SD. As a non-Muslim and forty a day smoker, Ramadan is rarely an easy time - but I love the peace of the month, the slow pace of life, the genuine happiness of the country we live in. Not a time for point scoring on that dull old "East vs West" debate. Those of us who live here should know better.

24 September, 2006 14:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 14:11

Eating in public during the holy month of Ramadan is a clear diregard of the muslim faith and considered a very rude behaviour. Dont forget you are in a muslim country. So you must repsect the local traditions. If you are in a secular country then your concerns may have been justified.

However, as I said there are no restrictions on eating in private for non-muslims, so all this criticism is unnecessary. it's not some thing that non-muslims are being forced not to eat but only the eating places in public have been closed for a month. But still non-muslims can eat any where except at cafes and reataurants since they will be closed in the day time.

24 September, 2006 14:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ramadan the most unproductive month of the year for any business. I wonder what the boss would think if I decided I had to take 1 week off fully paid for by the company at Xmas? I would be sacked.

24 September, 2006 15:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Dubai wants to compete on the international stage they should understand that 80+% of the population are Expats !!!

And you know we need to eat!

Freedom...I no longer recognise that word.

24 September, 2006 15:35  
Anonymous Gay proud Emirati said...

YEs I agree we are all homosexuals and we love to impose rules on all non muslims and demand respect like whores. we are illogical and a minority in our own country but we are still PROUDDDDDDDD ! (dont ask me for what, but we still are the rulers)

24 September, 2006 16:05  
Anonymous another proud Emirati said...

@ Anonymous 15:35

You expats are over 70% muslims and wouldnt eat during the day time.

But it wouldnt matter even if u expats were 99.9% non muslims in the UAE.

Why?

The constitution clearly say that the UAE is an Islamic country and the Quran is the main source.

@ Anonymous 14:11

That logic would apply if u were in a hindo country, the UAE isnt.

I wouldnt ask people not to eat in public if I was in a secular country.

Why everything being said is considered as an insult to u people. We have our own system and we are happy with it. You came to the UAE clearly knowing those rules so u dont really have the right to complain.

24 September, 2006 16:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the locals who use the "get out if you don't like it" argument

Then why the hell do all you muslims, complain, criticise and bomb the west.

No one asked you to come here. Why don't you all get out. You should be telling your fellow muslims to get out of the west instead of trying to create an Global Islamic Empire.

- Joe

24 September, 2006 17:02  
Anonymous earth gyrl said...

Anyway...back to the spirit of SD's post. Ramadhan Mubarak to everyone, enjoy the month :-)

24 September, 2006 18:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems there is a lot of misconception about eating in public during the month of Ramadan. There is no such law that bans an individual to eat in public during Ramadan. Only the public eating places like restaurants and coffee shops are told to close during the day in observance of the holy month. But still as an individual you can eat wherever you want. In my office except me all the employees are non-muslims and they eat and drink as usual without any restrictions.

So all those whiners, please STFU!!!

24 September, 2006 19:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foreigners are not allowed to eat in public for the same reason Islam swept through the Middle East quickly and it stays there. People in the Middle East are born muslims and there is no choice involved and since they have no choice about fasting during Ramadan it's rude to eat in front of them and you are denied choice too. Why did Mohammed get Muslims to fast during Ramadan?? It seems to bring out the worst in people when they're starving and in a hurry to get to the restaurant.

24 September, 2006 20:07  
Blogger inquilaab said...

haha you people are funny. talk about trying to bite the hand that feeds you.

Sour grapes i say!

24 September, 2006 20:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i went to the ajman marina to pick up some ramadan stock since everything is shut in ajman and i dont have a liquor license and guess who were crowding around the counter to buy crates n bottles that would last a year ... all muslims.. people in dishdasha's and pakistanis in kurtas. funny place this is...i really dont understand why muslims are such hipocrits. i mean if you want to drink n eat some delicious bacon, go ahead .. nobodys going to judge you, as long as you dont impose your bullshit on others... which is what they are doing all over the world. muslims want shriah law to be applied for them in the UK now. They want free rights to shout out their call to prayer in western countries.. but you cant hang a cross out on the church wall or they'll burn it down.. hopefully im in this country for another 6 months.. cya suckers!

24 September, 2006 22:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ no one would miss u.

24 September, 2006 23:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 22:24

good riddance.

but can you make it a bit early you mofo white dumbhead racist.

24 September, 2006 23:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

---

There you go folks: Islam, the tollerant, caring religion in action!...

[i]
---

25 September, 2006 00:38  
Anonymous Basil said...

Hi,
I wish you the best for the month of blessings and givings. I wish everybody to stop the killings around the world and christians and muslims to live like brothers.Say no to violence.Say yes to life and prosperity.If i may use your expresion.
Ramadan Kareem!!

Basil

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25 September, 2006 04:04  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Muslims do share Ramadan with non-muslims.

You can say that again! They force them on pain of punishment or imprisonment to "share" it.

As I said in my post last week, I detested Ramadan because of the compulsion that non-Muslims must also obey the religious laws of not eating or drinking before Iftar. A true believer should treat fasting as a personal thing and care not one jot what anyone else is doing.

And from the comments on this thread I see the theme, not for the first time, that "respecting" Islam is the same as "following" Islam, and anybody who isn't following Islam by eating in their office must by default be disrespecting Islam. This is intolerant bullshit at best, and the sooner it is cast into the dustbin of history the better.

25 September, 2006 06:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm trying to contact the webmaster of this blog. I'm looking for a few founding members for DiscussDubai.com a new, serious, forum for people living and working in Dubai and tourists.

25 September, 2006 06:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go - another "dark underbelly" story.

25 September, 2006 06:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6.44
I think that "Spiegel" Story is great and very true!
Cool !

25 September, 2006 10:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this blog sux big time..

25 September, 2006 10:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the ramadan time - everyone coming into the office late and sleepy, and a soporific day to just read the papers - shuffle a few around - complain of feeling tired, and then leave early. It is a lovely half holiday. Then breakfast and the late dinner parties into the early hours of the morning - so much festivity. What is it for again? Gamal

25 September, 2006 10:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD - great article... i kind of get the point of it now.. great job starting up some steamy conversation among ppl. hehehe.. day by day i keep getting more impressed with your stuff.. hehehe.. i cant get enough of this.. all it started out to be was a ramadan greeting... and now its war online. and just to let the person who called me "mofo white dumbhead racist" know... im indian and im a hindu.. ive grown up in this country.. before we lived here in fear that one day someone might see my religious chain/pendant and hoped that no police would notice the religious figures that i carried in my baggage,coz of whats happened to ppl we know... thats kind of over now.. coz now were not alone.. we've got the world on our side.. everybody hates u guys..your days are numbered! shmo's got child slavery and trafficking charges on him now, everytime ppl feel sorry for gaza victims, another suicide bombing takes place.. the world is watching and your days are limited..(insert sci-fi suspense tune here)

25 September, 2006 20:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ Actually everyone is against u. You are temporary labourers and will remain so as long as ur in the UAE.

so start treating urself as one, work hard, follow the country rules then leave.

Everyone will be happy.

25 September, 2006 22:16  
Anonymous Dan Jacklowski said...

Tim Newman

Since you're so vitriolic and polemic about our hosts and Islam and Ramadan etc (your blog sucks pal, i just visited it - just full of hate and venom and prejudice) perhaps it's good that you're out of here now. Dubai is a largely a tolerant city and it's so nauseating to hear second rate expats cribbing all the time about one thing or another. Enjoy Russia pal...one less bigot around with you gone....

25 September, 2006 22:29  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Dry yer eyes and stop snivelling, jacklowski. The mean streets of blogging are no place for the weak and easily offended.

26 September, 2006 04:34  
Blogger DG said...

Ramadan kareem everyone. As for the comments, I prefer to stay silent. Thank you to all people with positive comments & "No comments" for people with negative comments :-)

26 September, 2006 06:44  
Anonymous foo said...

For -> Anonymous @ 22:16

You are invited to a party being hosted by some Ex-temporary workers of yours. Tonight at Freddy's Bar on Dean St. in Brooklyn.

Pass by and hope your insurance is paid up in full.

26 September, 2006 10:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 20:20

hindus are the biggest hypocrites of all. As an Indian muslim i'll be roasted in a few seconds if I dare to utter even the word "beef" in front of a rampaging hindu mob... leave aside eating a double decker beef burger in front of them.

Yet you hindus come here and whine all the time demanding full rights as you were a citizens of this country. Instead of teaching tolerance and forcing your opinion here in the UAE you should be doing the same job at home. You know as they say charity begins at home.

26 September, 2006 11:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To

anonymous @ 11:03

You dumb f**k STFU. Guys like you should never exists in this world. Ok if you go infront of raging Hindu mob and say will eat beef then what does that represents about your attitude?

OK fine leave that aside what if a hindu comes infront of a raging muslim mob and say I will eat pork. you will just keep mum and go away?

oh my god I am scared now may be you will contact foreign extremists and will get some suicide bombers on us. Everyone in the world know who you are and what you are upto.

do one thing say india is not your country and tell the locals in uae that uae is your country and you want to live and die in uae .. next minute they will take the s**t out of you and will throw you like a piece of garbage once they find you are a piece of crap.

One more point do you think you can live all this way if only 95% of hindus in my country dont want you to live there? they treat you as humans.. they are paying taxes and you get most of benefit out of it in the form of minority reservations and you occupy most of the government jobs and get free or discounted education in all universities and yet people like you treat foreign elements as your brothers instead of us.

pay some respect to the people of the country you live in. dont just take some filthy politicians or some gangsters actions and put that onto the whole population.

my comments only goes to f***rs like you. I dont mean to offend everyone in india.

26 September, 2006 15:50  
Anonymous Dan Jacklowski said...

Mr. Newman

Ever the arrogant bigot ....carry on in Siberia or whatever ...wherever ....enjoy comrade, enjoy ...

D. Jacklowski

26 September, 2006 18:30  
Blogger Mansur said...

sorry for being so late and being the last one, but happy ramadan to you too..

mansur

26 September, 2006 20:04  
Blogger ReginaFilangee said...

Ramadan was by far, my favourite time of year in Dubai. Now more than ever do i miss being there. Ramadan Kareem!

26 September, 2006 20:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the one who is perfect throw the next insult.

30 September, 2006 20:38  
Blogger saif said...

ya'all need to calm the heck down !
Nice article tho !! peace and cheese

13 September, 2007 00:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/01/29/warren-ellis-friend.html#comments

Bush bombed the wrong Muslim shithole. Of course, I'm sure the common people are very nice, so a simple massacre of the authorities would suffice nicely.

30 January, 2008 07:17  

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