Ramadan routine: 'I work more this month, but there's still time for prayer'
Hassan Ahmed Kigozi at his shop
Dubai - Ugandan national Hassan Ahmed Kigozi works in 2 gruelling shifts but it's still his favourite time of the year
The polite and kind attitude of many of the customers during Ramadan makes work easier for Hassan Ahmed Kigozi, the sales and store manager of Al Besht Al Arabi gents tailoring in Abu Dhabi.
Indeed, this is a month of compassion, forgiveness and blessings, says Kigozi as he speaks about the humility and patient nature of people - including his friends and customers - during the holy month of Ramadan. "In Abu Dhabi, the atmosphere of Ramadan can be seen and felt everywhere at any time," he said.
Unlike in other months, Kigozi's work during Ramadan is broken into two shifts, giving him time to read the Holy Quran and perform supplications. "Unlike other months, where I work from 10 am to 10 pm, my duty during Ramadan changes," said the 29-year-old Ugandan expat.
"I have two shifts from 10am to 1pm daily and then have a break for rest. The evening duty begins at 8.30pm until 1am. This big break allows me to have some special time to read the Quran and perform some duas (supplications), watching and listening to Islamic lectures and preparing my Iftar. Therefore, this interval makes my fasting easy."
His day still starts at 10 am, since he's the only one handling the shop. "I usually start with previewing orders that might have come in the previous day, since we get a lot of customers during Ramadan. We sell male Emirati attire, artifacts and products such as bishts, egal ghoutra, misbah and others."
Kigozi's says he places customer orders with their tailors to be prepared in a specified period of time and he also follows up on these orders for quick delivery. "During the long break and after Iftar, I prepare myself for Isha prayer and Taraweeh, where I just observe the first 8 units (rakahs) and later, I pray the remaining witr units (3 rakah)," he said.
His Iftar meal includes rice, chicken, dates and vegetables.
After Taraweeh, he heads back to the store located at the World Trade Center mall. In Ramadan, they get busy at night. "From work, I head home and have Suhoor before going to bed," said Kigozi.
"On some occasions, I find fasting a bit challenging, especially in the hot weather and you have to go outside the office and visit the homes of important customers who are unable to visit our store. So, we offer such special services such as home visits," he said.
With this being his fifth Ramadan in the emirates, Kigozi said he also misses being back home with his family for Ramadan. "In the cool weather of my country, fasting used to be easier," he said. "I miss the family fun, the fresh food and the Ramadan gatherings with childhood friends."