We at Marriott are grateful for the engagement and interaction we have received from our community here in the U.A.E. and abroad about happenings surrounding the holy month of Ramadan. We have just received our first contribution coming from outside the gulf and would like to share with you the thoughtful and connected words of Saher Ahmed, all the way from the U.K.!
“Born and brought up in Dubai, Ramadan has always been a very special month for me during the year. The time when Allah showers his mercy upon all Muslims more than ever. The night before Ramadan begins and the moon is sighted always fills me with a tingling excitement. Ramadan is not just about abstaining from food and water but also fasting with our other senses, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, ‘The true fast is not to merely abstain from food and drink, rather true fast is to abstain from futile activities and obscene talk.’ It is a month to reconnect with Allah, the Almighty, and ask wholeheartedly for forgiveness, to enhance ourselves as Muslims and as human beings as well. I love how this month teaches us patience, piety, self-control, humility, sacrifice and the list just goes on.
Three years ago, I moved to the United Kingdom and having lived in Dubai all my life it was definitely a big change. The feeling and vibe that you get in Dubai is irreplaceable. Originally being an Indian and experiencing Ramadan in India, England, Scotland and Dubai I can say hands down there is no place like Dubai. The lights, the oozing spirit of Ramadan is something words cannot describe. The lavish iftar tents with infinite specialities of food, the roads that have all sorts of lighting displays, the shopping malls decorated beautifully, the majestic mosques with beautiful sounds of the Athaan and the short working hours. Honestly words cannot describe how much I miss being back home with my family in Dubai during this period, those requests you make to your mum and impatiently wait till Maghrib to indulge in the divine food she has made per your requests.
Fasts in the UK are for almost 19 hours, I thought to myself how am I going to manage! A 19 hour fast means that there will only be about five hours between Iftar and Suhoor. This is a very small window of time, almost half compared to other parts of the world like the Middle East and Asia. I’m not going to lie, the first few days were very tough. I could hear my tummy rumbling, headaches, weak limbs but I was amazed that 3-4 days later how my body adjusted and the days went by so quickly. All I can conclude with is the Ramadan spirit in Dubai is unique to the city and something I will miss again this month from the bottom of my heart.”
Dentist, currently pursuing MSc. Health Management
London, United Kingdom
If you’d like to tell us what Ramadan means to you, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured on the Ramadan with Marriott blog.