x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Ramadan brings us closer to God and loved ones

Everyday people's thoughts during the holy month.

Every Ramadan, from day one, I beseech God to give me the stamina and patience to be able to fast as required, and observe other religious duties and obligations.

I also beseech God to bless me with peace of soul.

Ramadan has always been special for me for it is a holy month in every sense of the word.

It happens only once a year and is a time every Muslim looks forward to having Godly blessings and mercy.

Ramadan is a time when good deeds are greatly received and thus is a moment to renew my bond with God.

Through prayers and charity, I also find comfort and true meaning in life. It is a month where God accepts forgiveness and rewards the doers of good.

I like to attend religious lectures in mosques and cultural centres so I can have a better understanding of my religion, and most importantly to seek deep meaning of the act of fasting.

I really like to have a conscious mind while observing my religious duties. Reading the Quran is one of the most rewarding acts in Ramadan. I like to do it late every night. The aim is to conclude the reading of the whole book before the end of Ramadan.

Apart from its spiritual dimension, Ramadan is a social occasion. It is special because we use every moment of it to gather as families and friends to chat, to have iftar together and to pray together. Every Ramadan leaves with me memories that are different from the previous.

I am very keen to celebrate this holy month according to Arabic and Islamic traditions.

We welcome the holy month early through a festivity called Haq Al Laila, midway through the month of Shaaban - the month before Ramadan in the Islamic calendar - when we treat children with sweets and candies.

Ramadan also offers me the routine to pursue recreational activities, mainly playing football and watching new drama on television. Yet all of this does not make me forget to help people less fortunate than myself.

Every Ramadan evokes special feelings going back to my childhood days.

Adults used to rush to buy all the necessary food an hour or so before iftar. I watched that momentum with pleasure, because I knew that afterwards we would gather for a delicious and merry meal.

Elderly members of the family would chat about life and tell funny stories.

But Laylat Al Qadr (Night of Destiny), the night the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, remains special. We tend to go to mosque and pray until late at night.

Each time Ramadan nears its end I feel sad, because I know that I will miss its unique routine and the spirituality associated with it.


Ali Al Shamsi was born in Fujairah, lives in Dubai and works as a feature writer for The National in Abu Dhabi.