RAS AL KHAIMAH // Volunteers armed with window cleaners and paintbrushes this month cleaned and renovated mosques across the country as part of a Dh105,000 Takatof programme.
The renovations are part of a Ramadan effort that includes hospital visits, school donations and iftars with orphans and the elderly. Next week the volunteers will visit and renovate the homes of the needy.
For Mohammed Al Sadi, volunteering does not stop when Ramadan ends.
Mr Al Sadi said the mosque renovations introduced Emiratis to charity work that could continue throughout the year.
"Every day, it's not just for one," said the coastguard worker, who had volunteered for five years. "I want to return something to this country and help other people."
Mr Al Sadi, 40, freshened the fish-market mosque he was working on with incense before sunset prayers and recalled a time when the smell was not so sweet.
A caravan that overflowed with worshippers served as the market's mosque until Sheikh Kayed bin Mohammed Al Qasimi built a permanent mosque after 1971.
Mr Al Sadi believes his incense will help fishermen forget about their troubles at sea.
"If you have the feeling of the boat and you come into the mosque, it will be forgotten," he said.
RAK volunteers visited five mosques in the city and north-coast villages.
Up to 200 people attend the fish-market mosque for fajr prayers at dawn. Numbers double in the evenings when the market serves iftar.
"It's the life, the life of the people," said the mosque's Syrian imam, Sheikh Ismail Mohammed.
"In Ramadan they come every day. All the year it's full."