View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Saturday, August 30, 2008

UAE Ramadan Reports

Ramadan in the UAE hasn’t started but it is a time for releasing prisoners, arresting beggars, sanctioning shisha smoking, reinventing Ramadan and establishing a central fatwa centre.

Setting Captives Free
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered the release of 777 prisoners to mark Ramadan.

The timing is a Ramadan gesture, similar (or possibly it relates to the same people) to the example of the UAE President a few days ago but the Gulf News report said it also was “enabling them to join their families in the month of fasting….[and it] gives the prisoners the opportunity to return to their families and integrate with society again to start a new life.”

Rounding Up Beggars in RAK
A plan will be put in place in Ras Al Khaimah to arrest beggars during Ramadan to add to the 27 beggars that have already been arrested in Ras Al Khaimah since the beginning of the year.

The word is, according to the Gulf News report is that “beggars take advantage of religious and spiritual feelings which spread among the public during Ramadan.”

Would they not be better seen as people needing food and recipients of Ramadan generosity?

Shisha Smoking Not Extinguished in Ramadan
Even though new rules have been regulating shisha smoking in public places in Dubai this practice has not been outlawed in the holy month despite it being a time to give up bad habits.

Reinventing Ramadan
Hard work, fast-paced students in Dubai are transforming the traditions of Ramadan to suit their modern style.

New Fatwa Office
The UAE’s Islamic Affairs Authority opened its official fatwa center, which provides religious rulings in English, Urdu and Arabic. UAE residents can obtain fatwas over the toll-free phone line or via SMS (text message). The centre is the first of its kind; it is now the only place in the UAE authorized to issue fatwas thus regularising what is and isn’t a fatwa.

Ramadan is a time for implementing many changes.

Related to Ramadan:
Ramadan is Great Financial Cost but for how much Spiritual Gain? Experiencing the Emirates (ETE)
Make Sure You Get it Done Before Ramadan, ETE
Don’t Visit Dubai in Ramadan, ETE
Are you ready to come to the UAE? ETE
What’s the time in the UAE? ETE
Young People Model Process to Bridge Inter-Faith Divide, ETE
The Blessings of Ramadan, ETE

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Ramadan rituals—special food as well as special fasting.