x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

'Islam gives us a peaceful feeling' say Emirati students

Emiratis seek solace in God, says graduate who aided research.

ABU DHABI // Not unlike his female counterparts, Fahad al Hosani, 21, and his friends tend to stick together during times of stress - going to the cinema and malls and eating out. However, one major difference from the experiences of their female counterparts is the burden of financial responsibility. "You want to work and earn money, and asking your father for money can feel like a shame for men," said Mr al Hosani. "This pressure is even worse for families who have less money."

The trainee teacher, who is studying at the Emirates College for Advanced Education, finds it difficult to be around friends who have jobs. That is a major reason many people leave school and choose careers such as the police or army, where they have the chance to earn money immediately, as well as follow a career path, he said. Deadlines and exams are the biggest causes of stress for Alya Abdulrahman, 18, a business and IT student at Sharjah Women's College. "Islam makes us live peacefully so it gives us a peaceful feeling to have faith and feel things will be OK."

Mariam al Qubaisi, a graduate who assisted Dr Campbell with the research, says Emiratis are spiritual and seek solace in God. "There's also a prevalent Islamic perception that more or less translates to 'after everymisfortune comes good fortune'," she said. Ms al Qubaisi, 23, thinks there are not obvious differences between men and women, and that both genders value spiritual and familial bonds.

"Emirati women have always been proud, strong and resilient," she said. "Women were entrusted to lead and protect homesand landswhen men were at sea. Women herdedtheir camelsin the desert. Women built furniture from date palm leaves. "Women handle stress at a more personal level and fight to overcome stress, while men tend to adapt to it. I think succumbing to stress is viewed to be a weakness by women."

mswan@thenational.ae