Eid-Al-Adha, Eid-Al-Fitr, and Maulid Al-Nabi are some Islamic festivals observed in the Islamic community. The most important is Eid-Al-Fitr, which occurs during the month of Ramadan. On this day, many people worldwide gather to celebrate by breaking fast and reciting the Quran. Let’s find out more about this beautiful day and what it holds.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and the holiest month for Muslims. It is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection, during which Muslims worldwide observe a month-long fast from dawn until sunset.
Ramadan culminates in celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a joyous holiday that marks the end of the month-long fast. It is considered a time of heightened spiritual awareness and self-discipline.
How is Ramadan celebrated in the UAE?
Ramadan is celebrated in various ways worldwide, with customs and traditions that vary depending on the region and culture. Here are some of the ways Ramadan is celebrated in the UAE:
Fasting: Fasting is one of the most essential practices during Ramadan. Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset. This practice is believed to purify the soul and teach self-discipline and self-control.
Prayer: Muslims increase their prayers during Ramadan, with extra prayers known as Taraweeh performed after the evening prayer.
Charity: Ramadan is a time for giving to the less fortunate, and Muslims are encouraged to give generously to charity and perform acts of kindness.
Family gatherings: Muslims often gather with family and friends to break their fasts together at sunset. This meal is known as Iftar.
Night markets: In some countries, night markets are set up during Ramadan, where people can buy food and drinks for the Iftar.
Ramadan lanterns: In some countries, colorful lanterns are hung in homes and streets to celebrate the month of Ramadan.
Eid al-Fitr: The end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Eid al-Fitr, a time for celebrating with family and friends. Muslims usually wear new clothes, exchange gifts, and feast together.
What do people engage in during the month of Ramadan?
One of these special prayers is Taraweeh, performed after the evening prayer. Taraweeh prayers consist of reciting portions of the Quran, and the goal is to complete the entire Quran by the end of Ramadan. These prayers are typically performed in congregations at mosques, although some Muslims may perform them at home.
Another special prayer performed during Ramadan is the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr), which is believed to be one of the holiest nights of the year. Muslims stay up late into the night to perform extra prayers and seek the blessings of Allah. It is believed that the rewards for good deeds performed on this night are multiplied many times.
2. Sadaqah & Zakat
Sadaqah is a voluntary form of charity that can be given at any time and in any amount. It is not an obligation in Islam, but it is considered to be a virtuous act that brings rewards from Allah. Sadaqah can be given as money, food, clothing, or any other gift to benefit those in need. Sadaqah can also be given through good deeds, such as helping someone cross the street or volunteering at a community event.
On the other hand, Zakat is a mandatory form of charity in Islam. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is required of all financially able Muslims who meet specific criteria. Zakat is calculated based on a percentage of a Muslim’s wealth, and it must be given to specific categories of people in need, including the poor, the needy, those in debt, and others. The exact amount of Zakat is determined based on a set formula, but it generally amounts to 2.5% of a Muslim’s wealth.
3. Visit the mosque
Muslims gather at the mosque throughout Ramadan to perform the daily prayers, including the special Taraweeh prayers performed after the evening prayer. These prayers are typically performed in congregation, with the Imam leading the prayers.
In addition to prayer, mosques offer a space for Muslims to break their fasts together at sunset. Many mosques host iftar meals for the community, providing food and drinks for those fasting throughout the day.
Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal Muslims eat before fasting during Ramadan. It is typically eaten in the early morning, before dawn, and is an important part of the fasting ritual.
The suhoor meal is important because it provides energy and sustenance for Muslims fasting the entire day. It is recommended that Muslims eat a healthy and balanced meal during suhoor, including foods that provide complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, as these nutrients can help keep them feeling full and energized throughout the day.
After abstaining from food and drink for the entire day, Muslims break their fast at sunset with dates and water, in the same way Prophet Muhammad used to break his fast. Then, they perform the evening prayer (Maghrib) and sit down for the iftar meal with family, friends, and community members.
Iftar meals vary widely depending on the region and culture. Still, they typically include a variety of dishes and foods that are rich in nutrients and provide energy after a day of fasting. Popular iftar foods include soups, stews, meat dishes, rice, vegetables, salads, and desserts.
Things you should do during Ramadan 2023
Ramadan is all about remembering and reconnecting with Allah. Aside from that, it is an excellent time to teach your children and family about their culture and religion. You can accomplish this with the following ideas:
1. Decorate your home
From a practical standpoint, Ramadan decor can help create a festive and welcoming atmosphere for Muslims during this holy month. It can also serve as a reminder of the significance of Ramadan and help to create a sense of community and togetherness among Muslims. Decorations can include lights, lanterns, banners, and other festive items that add to the overall ambiance.
Symbolically, Ramadan decor can help Muslims connect with the month’s spiritual significance. Many decorations feature Islamic motifs and calligraphy that serve as reminders of the importance of the Quran and the teachings of Islam. Additionally, many decorations feature Arabic phrases and prayers that highlight the themes of gratitude, compassion, and devotion central to Ramadan.
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Ramadan gifts can take many forms, from small tokens of appreciation to elaborate and thoughtful gifts. Some popular Ramadan gift ideas include:
Dates and sweets: Dates are a traditional food commonly eaten to break the fast during Ramadan and make a great gift. Other sweets and desserts are also popular during this time and can make for a sweet and thoughtful gift.
Islamic books and literature: Giving Islamic literature, such as books, prayer mats, or Quranic verse calligraphy, can be a great way to deepen one’s spiritual connection during Ramadan.
Personal care items: With fasting and long days of prayer, personal care items such as skincare products, scented candles, or aromatherapy oils can help to rejuvenate and refresh during Ramadan.
Islamic clothing and accessories: Traditional Islamic clothing, such as hijabs or prayer clothes, can make a great gift, as well as jewelry and accessories featuring Islamic motifs or calligraphy.
Grocery shopping during Ramadan can be a unique experience. Here are some things to keep in mind when grocery shopping during Ramadan:
Shop for dates: Dates are traditionally eaten to break the fast each evening during Ramadan and are often a staple item on shopping lists. Look for fresh, high-quality dates that are plump and juicy.
Stock up on staples: Many Muslims prepare special meals and dishes during Ramadan, but it is still essential to have basic staples such as rice, lentils, flour, and cooking oil on hand.
Plan: Since fasting occurs during the daylight hours, planning meals and snacks ahead of time is essential. Consider meal planning for the week and make a shopping list to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients.
Shop during off-peak hours: During Ramadan, grocery stores can be very busy, especially during the hours leading up to sunset when people shop for their evening meals. Consider shopping during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and long lines.
Consider buying in bulk: Buying items in bulk, such as dates, nuts, and dried fruits, can be more cost-effective and ensure enough supplies to last throughout the month.
Don’t forget about charitable giving: Ramadan is a time for giving to those in need, and many Muslims donate food or money to charity during this time. Consider adding extra items to your shopping list to donate to a local food bank or a charity organization.
Noon is a popular online shopping platform that offers a wide range of products, including groceries. The deals usually include discounts on popular grocery items such as snacks, beverages, canned goods, and cleaning supplies. With the ease and affordability that Noon grocery deals offer, it’s no surprise that many customers shop for groceries on this platform.
Buying new clothes for Ramadan is a well-known festival custom. Typically, the general public purchases trendy “Shein Ramadan edits” for Iftar parties or gives clothing as a Ramadan gift. This year, you can purchase sustainable fashion as a Ramadan gift for your loved ones. Stores like The Giving Moment, COS, and GAP are examples.
5. Switch to cruelty-free makeup
These days, halal makeup and cruelty-free beauty products are very popular. This is because they help keep during prayers and religious acts. Such products are being launched by companies such as Sephora, Faces Beauty, and Victoria’s Secret.
Changes witnessed across the city during Ramadan
1. Working hours
During Ramadan, it is common for the general public to observe fasting by breaking it immediately after sunset. As a result, several schools and offices adjust their work schedules to accommodate early starts and finishes.
2. Opening hours of the restaurant
To adhere to fasting, individuals consume a pre-dawn meal called Sehri. Numerous eateries commence operations early in the morning to facilitate and support this religious observance and remain open until late dawn.
3. Change in parking timings
During the Taraweeh prayer, free parking is provided in several areas, such as Sharjah and Dubai, exclusively for parking spots near the mosque. From 8 AM until midnight, standard parking fees apply.
4. Availability of taxis
While taxi availability remains relatively unaffected during the day, securing one in the evening becomes increasingly challenging, mainly due to the Iftar rush.
Sales & Gift Vouchers During Ramadan
1. Souk Shopping
If you’re a fan of indulgent shopping sprees, Souk markets should be your destination of choice. Special Ramadan Souk markets are set up throughout the Middle East during the festive period. In the UAE, Saffron Souk is a must-visit, offering products from baby clothes to furniture. Night markets featuring food stalls, clothing stores, games, cultural events, and more can also be found. Other top Souks in the Middle East include Souk Al Mubarakiyah, Spice Souk, Gold Souk, Old Bazaar, and Souk Jara.
2. Special discounts on malls
In addition to the standard discounts offered by online stores, numerous malls in the Middle East feature retail shops that offer massive sales of up to 90%. The Dubai Mall, Alhamari Tower & Mall in Kuwait, Red Sea Mall in Jeddah, and several others boast incredible deals on branded merchandise, where customers can find luxury labels such as H&M, Noon, Ajmal, Bloomingdale’s, and more. Take advantage of these incredible offers to purchase all your Ramadan essentials and exclusive Eid collections today!
3. Online shopping
One of the most significant benefits of online shopping during Ramadan is the substantial markdowns on various products, including home decor, furniture, lighting, fashion, beauty, electronics, and more. These items can be found at discounted rates of up to 95% in popular stores such as Noon, 6th Street, Amazon, Cartlow, Azadea, Namshi, and Sephora. In addition to these fantastic Ramadan deals, retailers offer cashback incentives, complimentary shipping, express delivery, and Ramadan gifts.
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Bipasha Grace is a graduate and enjoys writing about fashion, lifestyle, and travel. On weekends she loves to paint and on weekdays she works as a full-time content writer. Her love for animals is a driving force behind everything she creates.