Ramadan through the eyes of a non-Muslim -Day 28

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Ramadan through the eyes of a non-Muslim -Day 28

The way Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived and his day-to-day life have an enormous influence on the lives of Muslims today, more than 1,400 years after his demise.


Bernd Debusmann Jr.

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Published: Wed 15 Jul 2015, 1:19 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Jul 2015, 2:11 AM

One aspect of Islam which I discovered during my first Ramadan in the UAE is the everyday connection Muslims have with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The way he lived and his day-to-day life have an enormous influence on the lives of Muslims today, more than 1,400 years after his demise.
Last night - or any night for that matter - non-Muslims across the UAE may have noticed their Muslim friends and colleagues going about performing their prayers in the exact same way, without realising why.
In the hadiths of the Sahih Al Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is quoted as saying: "Perform your prayers in the same manner you had seen me doing." This, I've learned, explains the remarkable consistency in ablutions and prayers for over a billion people across the Muslim world.
Additionally, this can help non-Muslims understand why the course of a day in the UAE is defined by prayer times, rather than meals, as might be the case in the West. After all, in his time, meals were not a sure thing - time to pray, however, was.
One helpful Khaleej Times reader took this one step further explaining that for many Muslims, the Prophet's examples are emulated in a wide range of other aspects, including how he slept (on his right side), how he woke up (wiping his face, washing his hands three times, snuffing water in his nose and so on) and what he prayed as he stepped outside his house.
"They (non-Muslims) should first know how important it is to know the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and why we love him more than ourselves, " the reader told me.
This point is important for us non-Muslims to think about as guests in a Muslim country. In the West, we're taught to think of Islam solely as a religion, but, as I've discovered, for many people in the UAE it is considerably more than that. It's a way of life.
This is clearly demonstrated in the manner in which the state facilitates the religious activities of Muslims in this country. Two nights ago, for example, the Sharjah Police provided free transport for thousands of worshippers going to and from the Saud Mosque and other local mosques on the 27th night of Ramadan. I, for one, have never heard of churchgoers in my own country being transported - on the state's dime - to and from churches for events such as Christmas.
As I've discovered, there is little separation of church (in this case mosque) and state as those of us who grew up in the West understand it. Given that, even non-Muslims who aren't particularly interested in Islam would do well to read up a bit on Islam's key figure for some insight into the country we live.

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