x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Ask Ali: On the art of giving

Ali Allsaloom on how to reciprocate gifts and a woman's delicate marriage dilemma.

Dear Ali: My Emirati friends are extremely generous. They are always giving gifts, both big and small. Their generosity is lovely, but I do find it overwhelming and even intimidating at times.

I know they don't expect anything in return, but it feels awkward to always receive presents. What would you recommend I buy? ST, Abu Dhabi


Dear ST: First of all, you must socialise with some sophisticated Emiratis, although you did not make it clear whether they are male or female friends.

A female wouldn't normally give a gift to a male friend, as it might come across as flirting. However, a man is used to giving gifts, or not allowing a woman to pay for things, as our culture teaches us that it is our duty.

It does all depend on the relationship level between you and an Emirati man. If you are friends, then buy whatever you want. Even if you just got a male friend some aftershave, that would be seen as more than enough.

If you give Emiratis something that they wouldn't have thought of or was difficult to get, then they will really appreciate your efforts. That will gain you a lot of respect.

Cost is not important, so don't worry about splashing out all your dirhams.

There is also nothing wrong with not buying gifts. It is more important to show you are ready to do them a good deed.

For a group of women, why not throw a henna gathering? Take it from me, that would be a big "wow" factor.


Dear Ali: I am a Jordanian woman living in Dubai who wants to marry a Palestinian man who, because of his religion and respectful ways, should be accepted. But my father has refused to have anything to do with him because he says my intended, being Palestinian, would bring shame on our Jordanian family, despite the fact he prays and knows God well.

I'm trying to find some religious people who will speak to my dad and explain the harm he is doing. SL, Abu Dhabi


Dear SL: I'm sorry about your problems. Alhamdulillah for everything and inshallah things will get better soon,

Please note one thing. No matter how difficult it seems for you to marry this man, or indeed if he is meant to be with you, Allah, the almighty, will make it work.

But sometimes life is just a bit difficult.

My advice to you, sister, is not to file a case against your father. This won't work in your favour at all.

Patience is the key to winning this man.

It's important to think about what you would do if you defy your father.

How are you going to survive in the UAE? What kind of visa would you have? And what would happen if members of your family saw you with this man on the street?

You would also lose your parents' blessings which, as you know, is not appreciated in our religion at all.

Only God knows if this or that person is our "naseeb" or not. No force can change that.

My other advice or thought is for you to try to call the muftis from Awqaf. Their free toll number is 800 2422.

Explain your situation and hopefully they will come up with a solution that is halal and not something that could be seen as a wrong act against your parents.


Language lesson

Arabic: Book

English: Wallet

Let's say you are looking for your wallet, something we have all done in our hectic lives. You would say: "Wain booki?" meaning "Where is my wallet?"