Ramadan 2020: Virtual Iftar gatherings, e-classes for UAE residents as they #StayHome

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Iftar, UAE, residents, StayHome, Ramadan 2020

Dubai - The faithful are exploring the wonders of technology, looking forward to observing Ramadan online.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Wed 22 Apr 2020, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 23 Apr 2020, 2:09 AM

As millions of Muslims across the globe gear up to mark the holy month of Ramadan - under social distancing orders and quarantines - the faithful are now exploring the wonders of technology, looking forward to observing Ramadan online.
Staying at home, UAE residents are shifting their focus to how they can best use tech not only to connect with their loved ones real-time - but also to reflect and strengthen their faith by being part of online Islamic courses, live-streamed lectures, and prayers.
Sharjah resident Saira Parveen has already started taking Quran lessons over the phone.
"I could never imagine I would be able to learn Quran recitation over the phone, but because of coronavirus precautions, I managed to do some worship digitally. I wanted to see if I could manage this over the phone so I can slip it in my Ramadan routine and not miss on my recitation lessons," she said.
Parveen has been learning how to recite Quran verses correctly - with her teacher on the other line. 
"My teacher - Ma'am Yasmin - has been kind enough to give me at least an hour a day over the phone. We have so many perks given to us by the government, such as free landline-to-landline calling, good Wi-Fi connections, a number of free video calling apps. I feel blessed to be in such a country."she said.
Islamic teacher Sadaf Ather, who has been live-streaming her lectures for a Ramadan course since the nationwide sterilisation started, urged people to remain optimistic.
"Technology is truly a revolutionary advancement in our time. It had always been in a gray area when it comes to classifying it as 'Islamically beneficial' or not. During this Ramadan, however, we can assure that technology has become a huge blessing for us," Ather said.
She has been conducting Islamic, Arabic and Quranic classes using Webex, an app that allows hundreds of students to connect on a single platform.
"Although we are unable to go to mosques, we must stay positive as we can still connect with others and share fruitful knowledge using technology. From Quran apps to online lecture videos, there is a whole range of platforms available for us to still worship during Ramadan."
Entrepreneur Rafat Alvi also believes there are several innovative ways to embrace the spirit of the holy month.
She said she experiences the "real feel" of Ramadan through Taraweeh, so she has been planning to team up with an imam, who can lead the Taraweeh prayers online through video conferencing.
"I see so many of my friends of different faiths having online live mass services. Similarly, I am hoping we can also have a live-streamed version of Taraweeh prayers by an imam," Alvi said.
"Then, some friends could join our family in a video conference, so we can pray Taraweeh together behind an imam, from the comfort of our homes. Why not use technology to connect everyone and hear the beautiful recitation of Allah's book by an imam in real time?"

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