How to treat the Quran and our nation's flag with the respect they are due.
Ask Ali: patriotic duties
Dear Ali: I'm either late or early with this, depending on your point of view, but I have a question about Ramadan in the UAE. During the holy month, I noticed some department stores, notably LuLu, playing the Holy Quran over the speaker system. I really don't like this. I find it to be an insult to the Quran and to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Usually people pay no attention to the Quran as they shop. This is disrespectful as Muslims should give full attention to the Quran when it is being recited aloud.
IS, Abu Dhabi
Dear IS: There are different views about this issue. It is all about the store's intention, brother.
The Holy Quran is recited every day - that's right, every day of the year, not just during Ramadan - at most of the local co-operative societies, such as the Jameyat AD Society and the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society, whether here in Abu Dhabi or in Al Ain or Bani Yas. It's their policy, which I think is great because it's preferable to music.
I remember when such stores used to play music, and people wanted that to stop and instead the Quran to be recited. Some people, such as you, do not believe this to be right.
In terms of LuLu, again it's about intentions. The Quran being played during Ramadan is not a bad idea at all, in my opinion. It is a lot better than disrespecting all Muslims who shop there while fasting by playing music.
Still, I encourage you to reach out to the Islamic department at the Awqaf ministry, www.amaf.gov.ae. They will be more than happy to listen to your concerns.
Alhamdulillah last year's Ramadan was very light, as I hope this year's will be, and many people embraced it. But I must point out that we are living through a difficult time for our faith. The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said: "There will be a time when the Muslim will be holding onto his faith as if he is holding onto a hot charcoal."
Indeed, it can be a challenge to practise our religion every day, but the rewards make it all worthwhile as we protect ourselves from temptation.
Dear Ali: I have a business idea that involves the UAE flag. It would be used in an appropriate and respectful manner. But is there any permission or approval I must seek in order to reproduce the UAE flag as part of my business proposal?
PR, Abu Dhabi
Dear PR: Because this is still a business idea and not yet reality, it is private and only people interested in your idea will be viewing the flag, so you won't need any official approval.
Once you reveal your plans to an Emirati, I'm pretty sure you will be able to tell whether it's something you should pursue by his or her reaction. Get a local's opinion and feedback before working further on your idea, so at least you will be aware of what the local response might be like, be it positive or negative. Then you can better gauge whether using our national flag would be a wise business decision and if it will be a commercial success.
After the idea is approved by Emirati friends, colleagues or experts you will be in a better position to approach the chamber of commerce to license the product or whatever this business idea is. They will share their opinions with you and even help put you on the right track to making money.
The ezba is an important part of our country for many Emiratis. It is a place for family getaways and somewhere to have fun with your friends and relatives out in nature, where animals such as goats, sheep and camels are tended. "Ana rayeh el ezba" is how you say "I am going to the farm" in Arabic.