x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 December 2017

Ask Ali: The World Cup will make Ramadan spiritual and sporty

It’s going to be really interesting to see people balancing between Ramadan and staying up until late to watch the football, then sleeping for few hours and going back to work.

Dear Ali: I can’t believe that Ramadan is almost here. As an expat, I’m just wondering if there is anything different or new this Ramadan that we should be aware of? Any tips would be helpful, as we are planning to spend the Holy Month in the Gulf. TR, Abu Dhabi

Dear TR: You’re totally right – Ramadan is visiting us very soon. What a great blessing for all of us to be able to experience it again.

As Muslims, we always think of the coming of Ramadan as a new year, meaning that we wish each other “Kul’aam wa Antom bi khair”, which is equivalent to saying “Happy new year”.

This Ramadan is taking place in our hot summer season, so it seems there will be more indoor activities even in the evening, unlike other Ramadans, where more outdoor activities would be welcomed.

As you probably noticed, every year Ramadan shifts 10 to 11 days earlier, and this time it’s expected to arrive either by June 29 or 30, if not June 28. All of that makes it an interesting time for us to prepare ourselves to welcome it, especially in the media, including television and radio stations, since Ramadan is known to be the best time for television shows and soap operas and programmes to be aired because of the high number of viewers.

It will also be the peak season for football fans, with the World Cup in Brazil, so that means TV stations, as well as restaurants and cafes, will all have to be preparing themselves to welcome a great number of viewers to watch the games, which will take place during a crucial time: right after taraweeh prayer (which is the last prayer that Muslims will conduct each day during Ramadan). This means that many people will be in their homes from sunset and then 10pm and then off to either various hospitality tents or to restaurants, which will be all turning their TV channels to the World Cup until very early in the morning – many of the games will begin between 11pm and 2am UAE time and the later games will run all the way through until 4am.

It’s going to be really interesting to see people balancing between Ramadan and staying up until late to watch the football, then sleeping for few hours and going back to work, and so on. But the good thing is that the World Cup, which runs until July 13, will start in the second week of June, before the arrival of Ramadan.

Overall, enjoy this Ramadan as it will be very sporty and spiritual. Also, I invite you to watch my new TV show, Duroob, which will be aired on the Abu Dhabi Al Emarat TV station this coming Ramadan. It’s a cultural travel show, for which I was blessed to travel to over 20 countries to bring great inspirational stories to the viewers. It’s in Arabic, but it will soon be translated into many different languages. Wishing you a lovely coming Ramadan.

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.

weekend@thenational.ae

Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

Follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.