Ramadan etiquette: A guide for non-Muslims in UAE

0
6

A look at some of the aspects a non-Muslim should know about Ramadan.

With the Holy month of Ramadan just round the corner, the fast-paced city life is set to slowdown, giving us a peek into a whole new side of UAE. If you are a non-Muslim and in the UAE for the first time, there are few important things to equip yourself with. Let’s take a look at some of the aspects a non-Muslim should know about Ramadan.

Suhoor

Suhoor, a vital part of fasting, observant Muslims eat a healthy meal together with the family in the dawn in order to remain in good health for the rest of the day during the fast. While on weekdays Suhoor is usually taken at home with family, weekends see city dwellers head to specially set up tents or restaurants to fuel up before the first light of the day, and the Fajr prayer. Suhoor needs to be wholesome to provide enough energy to last during the long hours of fasting. It is important that the food you consume keeps you hydrated, so pay careful attention to the selection of food-items during Suhoor.








Foods to eat during Iftar  Foods not to eat during Iftar
Potassium rich fruits: Dates are nutrient powerhouses and excellent food-item to break your fast. It not only helps you hydrate quickly, but gives you instant energy to make you feel rejuvenated after the long-hours of fasting. Carbonated drinks: Avoid drinking processed beverages and carbonated drinks. Stick to regular water and or coconut water to soothe your thirst.
Sufficient fluids: Drink as much water or fruit juices as possible between Iftar and bedtime to avoid dehydration High-sugar foods: High-sugar food items as sweets, chocolates should be avoided. They are instant source of weight gain and can lead to complexities if consumed every day.
Raw nuts: Almonds contain good fats which are essential, particularly when your body has been craving for fats after the long-hours of fasting. It is a perfect Iftar item which helps you feel full and in control, without the need to binge. Fried-foods: Greasy and fried food like fried dumplings and samosas should be avoided. Also avoid oily curries and greasy pastries to reap healthy benefits for your body during Ramadan.
Hydrating vegetables: Cucumbers, lettuce, and other vegetables are high in fibre and laden with the goodness of hydrating properties. It not only helps your body feel cool, but is also a great choice to keep you skin healthy and avoid constipation during Ramadan.  

The fast: Siyam

Fasting is one of the five fundamental tenets of Islam, which is compulsory for all Muslims except infants, the insane and the invalid. During this time, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset as a form of spiritual cleansing, self-discipline and empathy for the less fortunate.

On sighting the moon that ushers in Ramadan, it becomes mandatory to desist from eating, drinking and other worldly pleasures from dawn to dusk. Siyam or Saom, in Arabic, means to ‘abstain from’ eating, drinking, smoking and not allowing anything to enter the body as well as keeping oneself away from all vices.

The key is to remember that Ramadan is a month to reap rewards and benefits, and increase your spiritual connection. Siyam is an act of religious, cultural and ethical discipline among Muslims and the path of pleasing Allah, the Almighty. The person, who observes fast with a firm belief and complete self-control, is forgiven by God from sins.

Health benefit:  During the fast, the body rejuvenates itself and helps us detoxify by removing toxins from stomach, intestines and also boosts our immune system. With the scorching summer heat and a daily fasting period of about 15 hours, adapting to the changes in eating habits and daily routine affect different people in different ways.

Zakat

Charity during Ramadan, or at any time of the year for that matter, is not an obligation, but an extension of kindness to humanity. Charity, also known as Zakat, is one of the pillars of Islam that promotes the sharing of wealth with the poor. It is part of thanking Allah for bestowing believers with the ability to afford necessities and be financially stable in society.

In order to ease the donation process, the government of the UAE is affiliated with, and has established, a number of charities that are transparent and show donators exactly where their funds are going. From financially aiding families with food and first-aid in war-torn countries to giving clothes and providing children with education, there are several secure ways residents can reach out and help.

Show solidarity and respect

Most Muslims in the UAE fast during Ramadan (exceptions include pregnant women, elderly people, someone who is unwell) and yet go to work with the same dedication. It’s, therefore, important to respect those who are fasting and avoid eating or drinking in public. While non-Muslims are generally well aware of the dos and don’ts to be practiced during Ramadan, here are some tips they should keep in mind: Dos and don’ts for non-Muslims

The revelation

As per Islamic tradition, Muslims read one-thirtieth of the holy book each day of Ramadan. Similarly, they finish reading the whole of Quran by the end of the month.

Iftar

As the sun sets (Maghrib), the cannons will be fired during the holy month every day at sunset to notify Muslims to break their fast. The Iftar is the meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan, to break the day’s fast. The cannons were used to announce Ramadan and the Iftar time for Bedouins who did not live in the cities.  During Ramadan tents provide Iftars daily with the authentic Arabian experience.








Foods to eat during Iftar  Foods not to eat during Iftar
Potassium rich fruits: Dates are nutrient powerhouses and excellent food-item to break your fast. It not only helps you hydrate quickly, but gives you instant energy to make you feel rejuvenated after the long-hours of fasting. Carbonated drinks: Avoid drinking processed beverages and carbonated drinks. Stick to regular water and or coconut water to soothe your thirst.
Sufficient fluids: Drink as much water or fruit juices as possible between Iftar and bedtime to avoid dehydration High-sugar foods: High-sugar food items as sweets, chocolates should be avoided. They are instant source of weight gain and can lead to complexities if consumed every day.
Raw nuts: Almonds contain good fats which are essential, particularly when your body has been craving for fats after the long-hours of fasting. It is a perfect Iftar item which helps you feel full and in control, without the need to binge. Fried-foods: Greasy and fried food like fried dumplings and samosas should be avoided. Also avoid oily curries and greasy pastries to reap healthy benefits for your body during Ramadan.
Hydrating vegetables: Cucumbers, lettuce, and other vegetables are high in fibre and laden with the goodness of hydrating properties. It not only helps your body feel cool, but is also a great choice to keep you skin healthy and avoid constipation during Ramadan.  

Taraweeh prayers

Prayers during the period include the Isha (night prayers) and Taraweeh (extended evening prayers during Ramadan). The Laylat Al Qadr (The Night of Decree) happens during the last 10 days of Ramadan. The prayers during the period is considered the equivalent of 1,000 months of worship.