Faithful read Holy Quran at Al Noor Mosque in Sharjah. - Photo by Juidin Bernarrd
In addition to abstaining from food and water, during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are meant to refrain from using harsh language, insulting others or fighting. In practice, I’ve found that a good number of UAE residents find this to be a more difficult and much harder to follow task than not eating or drinking.
In the last 48 hours alone, I’ve watched two cab drivers argue loudly amongst themselves in Urdu over a parking space (within earshot of a mosque no less); seen two local Emirati women — presumably very hungry after a full day’s fast — disrespectfully ordering a Filipina waitress; and watched a grumpy Arab manager angrily scold an employee publicly and loudly.
On the one hand, I do understand. People have been fasting for almost three weeks now. It’s dreadfully hot and humid, and sometimes people wake up to strong winds — which feel like having a blow dryer in one’s face. People are hungry, thirsty, tired and irritable, so moods are bad and tempers flare easily. I, for one, think I’d be a tremendously difficult person to deal with after 19 days of fasting.
During normal times, most of the above incidents wouldn’t warrant much of a mention in Dubai. Since arriving I’ve found that people, both customers and employers, can be exceedingly rude to staff here, and parking spaces cause shouting matches or worse around the world.
But, it’s Ramadan. The overwhelming majority of people show an amazing amount of devotion through their fasting and routines, and every day, since the beginning of this holy month, I’ve been touched by the sense of community and togetherness that has been displayed by people in the UAE, be it locals or expats.
Even from a non-Muslim, non-religious standpoint, it seems unfortunate and somewhat daft to ruin a day of dedication, charity, quiet introspection and discipline with an ill advised, careless, and potentially hurtful outburst. It goes against the general spirit of the holy month. -firstname.lastname@example.org
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