x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

World rumoured to end on 21-12-12, but the UAE is sceptical

The aptly titled Mayan End of the World Party is taking place at 360 in Dubai tomorrow night.

It's the end of the world as we know it according to the Maya Long Count Calendar, created more than 1,000 years ago.

For the Maya people, tomorrow is the last date of the calendar - which consists of 13 celestial cycles and was predated to cover more than 5,000 years - but this does not mean it is the end of the world.

That yarn was created by new age spiritualists and Hollywood.

Rumours of an impending apocalypse have led to the arrest of more than 500 people accused of scaremongering in China and sparked an increase in sales of luxury bunkers in the United States.

In the UAE, a rumour wrongly attributed to Nasa spread about a three-day blackout from December 22 caused by an alignment of the universe.

Aside from that, the only people in the Emirates taking the doomsday scenario seriously are the nightclub promoters cashing in on it.

Events include the Mayan End of World Party at 360° in Dubai tomorrow night.

"We're not too worried, to be honest," said a spokesman for Audio Tonic, which hosts the event. "There is not a better place to be on Friday than at 360°.

"We're not too concerned, we've been keeping a close eye on the weather and we've not heard of any meteor showers."

So far, residents of the UAE have remained level-headed and no one has been stockpiling food.

"We haven't noticed anything," said a spokeswoman for Spinneys supermarkets. "However, if people want to stock up, we have more than enough."

The lack of concern was shared by Alia Al Shamlan, 21, from Dubai.

"It's nonsense," she said. "It's big-time, extreme nonsense just predicting without any real proof of something.

"Also, in Islam, no one can know when the end of the world will be.

"In the Quran the exact date is impossible to be given.

"That's my belief, that we cannot predict, because it would be like [saying] we are God."

Rumours of the apocalypse have been fuelled by the media, added Ms Al Shamlan, an assistant events manager, who will be working as normal tomorrow.

"It's just a drama that Hollywood has created to make people excited," she said.

"[Tomorrow] I'm organising weddings and I have two, so I'm sure they won't be wanting to end their lives on their weddings."

People worldwide are urged to disregard the doomsday warnings and look at the scientific facts, said Dr Ahmed Al Haddad, the Grand Mufti of Dubai.

"People must take care not to disseminate wrong information and unfounded rumours, for there is great sin in that," he said.

"Even science has refuted these predictions, as did Nasa.

"This narrative must not be believed or circulated. Doomsday is not predictable and only Allah knows when it will happen."

Existential discussions aside, the prophecy has yet to cause any major disruption to the weather, said a spokesman for the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.

"[Tomorrow] there is no big change. The same conditions will be over the country," the forecaster said. "Today and tomorrow the temperature will be ranging, and will be up one or two degrees."

If anyone is concerned about the potential Armageddon, one way to avoid it, according to Twitter user @srafferty73, is to fly from Los Angeles to Sydney tonight.

He said crossing over the international date line means that passengers would skip Friday and arrive in Australia on Saturday.

Unfortunately, none of the Maya day keepers who kept count of the days in the ancient calendar were available for comment.

zalhassani@thenational.ae