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Ramadan in Sharjah

I will not claim to be an expert on the Muslim faith. I will however make a statement that I pray my readers take to heart. The faith and terrorism are two different things.

I enjoy living in a Muslim country. This one anyway. The UAE is not the KSA, or Iran, Iraq, or a few other places I will never live in and probably never visit. Even though Mary Ann and I live in the most conservative of the Emirates, we are never hassled, we live a good life. We do not worry about crime, from petty theft on. We respect the culture as much as we can. We do not dress like a WalMart shopper.

Looking for ammunition probably

Nor do we do disgusting things in public

This guy should be arrested anywhere

Mary Ann goes to Church, a regular Catholic Church, every Friday. Friday is the holy day in the Moslem world. The ruler of this Emirate donated a lot of land in the center of town for other religions to build Churches.

However, we do not proselytize.

No comment.

Now, back to Ramadan. Like I said, I’m just an infidel here. I keep a low profile. I am not a very religious person. I am not an atheist, but I do not believe in religions or isms. Worship bananas if you think it works, just follow the golden rule and I will as well.

Ramadan is like a month long. At the of it is the EID, which I think is Ramadan plus. What I understand and have seen is that Ramadan is a time of reflexion and charity. The malls have big collection bins where people drop off clothes for the poor, bought at  UAE mall prices. Each week of Ramadan has some emphasis. This week is the week to visit the poor. I keep expecting a knock on the door. The conversation (in my dreams) would go like this.

The Emirate says “I see you do not have a Bentley or even a Mercedes. No car at all! We are here to help you”

Me. “How can you help me?”

Emirate. “My Bentley is 9 years old and UEA law says  I cannot register it after 10 years, so I will give it to you to help you get back on your feet”

I can only have it for ONE YEAR! Then I have to have it crushed!

Me. “Allah Akbar!”

All through Ramadan the people fast from sunup to sundown. It is a month a fasting and binging. At sundown each night is a ritual called Iftar. Basically it is a meal on the scale of Thanksgiving in the states. Every night. According to some newspapers here, it leads to some health problems.

Imagine smelling the wives cooking this all day while you are fasting.

I do not observe the tradition. In the privacy of my own home, I munch away all day. In public you are not even supposed to drink water (its 110 degrees man!) or SMOKE! No wonder I stay home all day. Mary Ann however must go to work. I keep telling her to stash some granola bars or bottles of water in her desk, but she respects the tradition too much to do that. She does however have a quick meal when she gets home!

The only place you can eat or drink in public is an airport. Mohammed specifically said that travelers need not fast. The same applies to hotels, except that in hotels the eating area is secluded from public view. Anyway, I just stay home.

Ramadan next year?  We are already planning a trip.

My next post will be from Kathmandu, Nepal. We leave Friday. Air Arabia. US$350 round trip!

Stay tuned, tell a friend. My readership is climbing but I want MORE READERS!

Peace and love or A Shalam Alakhem.

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6 Responses so far.

  1. Diane Childs says:

    This article from yesterday’s New York Times seems to suggest a different approach to Ramadan. It’s about Husain Abdullah who is a Minnesota Viking. Plus I think the day may be longer in Eden Prairie than the Middle East. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/06/sports/football/06fasting.html

    P.S. I didn’t get this posting on my own feed but saw it on MaryAnn’s FB page.

    Enjoy your trip!

  2. Vickie Hubbard says:

    Thank you for clarifying Ramadan. I have some clients who are from your part of the world.

    Funny photos and boy we look ugly no?

  3. Ace says:

    I just got back from Kathmandu a couple of weeks ago. See my blog for a trip report. You guys will love it!

  4. I forgot to mention a couple of things about Ramadan.
    Yes, the grocery stores are open To accommodate the Iftar they have many specials, like 5 pounds of dates for the price of two, or 10 pounds of rice for the price of 5. People walk out of the store with carts full of stuff. Think of Ramadan as a month of Thanksgiving dinners, every night, after fasting all day. Imagine not having anything to eat or drink while you watch the Redskins/Cowboys game, and having to wait ’til the sun goes down to eat the Turkey. Forget about ham, aint happening.
    The other day Mary Ann and I went to one of Dubai’s big malls. The one we chose was the one where you can sky dive in. Yup, I’ll post photos if you don’t believe me. Anyway, we got there before sunset. I needed some photo supplies for our trip to Nepal. While we were walking to the BIG electronic store (I just love that store. Mary Ann takes my Credit card away from me when we get close) we noticed the food court and all the places like Starbucks were empty. While I was loading up on supplies, the Iftar call to prayer happened. By the time we got out of the store the hallways were empty and everyone was in the food court.

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