x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

An explanation of the Muslim prayers and trying to juggle a busy life living in the UAE

Dear Ali: I travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai almost every day due to my work and, since I moved to the UAE, I have not been able to take care of many personal matters – for example, home bills, trying to find a maid and so on. I feel like I need to hire a personal assistant just to handle these tasks, but I’m not sure if I can get a maid under my sponsorship. Is there anything you may suggest to me please? KZ, Dubai

Dear KZ: My friend, I totally understand your frustration, because I remember those tough times when I had to do laundry, register my car, renew my driver’s licence, get groceries and so on. All of that is painful to achieve if you are too busy with your work, especially if you’re commuting 200km per day, every day.

Hiring a female maid won’t work if you are a single man, as it’s against the law to have one registered under your sponsorship. However, you may hire a pro or a driver who can help you with some of your home and work tasks.

But my best advice is for you to try Allinque services (www.allinque.com, 600 523 335). This company can offer you a personal assistant for your personal life. I can’t think of anything that this company can’t do, mashallah, so why not give it a try? I believe they can definitely ease a lot of the pressure you are going through. They can pay your bills, clean your car, prepare dinner for you and more.

Wishing you a smoother life in the country.

Dear Ali: I just moved to the Emirates and I’m living in Ras Al Khaimah. I’m really amazed by the dedication people have toward practising their religion, especially when it comes to praying. I’m wondering if you can explain how many prayers Muslims conduct per day? What does the prayer consist of? And can you tell me what du’a means? ZM, Ras Al Khaimah

Dear ZM: Glad you find it lovely how the people are able to practise their religion and conduct their rituals. In Islam, the intention of each prayer varies depending on the time of the day, as well as the reason for the prayer – or “niyah”, which means intention. So, for example, if a Muslim wants to pray the morning prayer he would start by saying “I intend to pray the morning prayer,” or “I intend to pray a ‘thank you to God’ prayer for his blessings,” etc.

A salah, or prayer, consists of a standardised set of rituals, movements and phrases such as standing, bowing, prostrating, sitting and reciting certain prayers, praises and Holy Quran verses. Each complex cycle of activity is a unit of rak’a, and with each salah we do a number of rak’as. For example, for fajr (predawn) , we do two rak’as. For dhuhr (afternoon), we do four; asr (late afternoon) is four also; maghrib (dusk) is three; and isha (night) is four.

The du’a, or supplication, is an informal activity where we ask Allah for guidance, forgiveness, help, etc, throughout the day. It can be in any language or whatever words.

Ali Al Saloom is a cultural adviser and public speaker from the UAE. Follow @AskAli on Twitter, and visit www.ask-ali.com to ask him a question and to find his guidebooks to the UAE, priced at Dh50.