Disrupted sleep schedule, doubling down on prayers: how residents are observing last 10 days of Ramadan in UAE

The last few nights are extra special to Muslims as Laylatul Qadr falls during that period

File photo
File photo

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Tue 11 Apr 2023, 3:56 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Apr 2023, 5:54 PM

As Ramadan enters its final 10 days, Muslims in the UAE are doubling down on their acts of worship. Special nightly prayers called Qiyam Al Layl will begin in mosques around the country with timings ranging from midnight to a little after 3am in the morning. This is in addition to the Tharaweeh prayers that have been conducted in mosques after the nightly Isha prayer.

For university student Ahmed Mohammed Shah, it is all about planning a balancing act. The physiotherapy student at the University of Sharjah has classes from 8 to 5 on most days and must find time in between for his Quran recitation and prayers. “Sometimes, it is a challenge,” he said.

“But I was prepared for it and I kept my attendance at 100% throughout the year. This means if I am tired any day after the Qiyam Al Layl prayers, I can afford to miss one or two classes.”

The youngster, who is also a Hafiz (has learnt the Quran by heart), said he tries to balance everything. “I want to spend a lot more time revising the Quran,” he said. “However, at university, I have a lot of projects and submissions so it is all a balancing act. Some days, when my classes are a bit laidback or I finish an assignment early, I whip out my phone and start reading the Quran on it. But some days, I am working back to back for several hours and am exhausted by the time I get back home.”

The last 10 nights of Ramadan are extra special to Muslims as Laylatul Qadr falls on one of the nights during this period. This is the night that the Quran is believed to have been revealed. According to the Islamic belief, the deeds done on this night is equivalent to that of 1,000 months. However, the exact day of Laylatul Qadr is not clear and it can fall on any night of the last 10, particularly the odd nights.

Aysha Chempan works in the UAE as a house help and she goes for her night prayers with the help of her employer. In between looking after the house and caring for two children aged 8 and 2, she manages to squeeze out time for it. “My employer is also a Muslim lady and she stays home so that I can attend the prayers,” she said. “After iftar, I serve up dinner and then head to the mosque. After the Tharaweeh prayers, I come back and eat. And sleep for a little bit before heading out for the Qiyam al Layl again. By the time I come back it is time for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal).”

After Suhoor and the morning prayers, Aysha spends some time reading the Quran until it is time for the elder daughter to go to school. “After she leaves, I sleep for a while until the younger one wakes up,” she said. Her next snooze is in the afternoon when the kids and their parents are back from school. “I take a quick nap before the Iftar rush begins.” The Indian national added that she first started going to mosque for night prayers only after coming to the UAE. “Here, the masjid is so close by and the streets are so safe,” she said. “So I am thankful for being able to do all my prayers at the stipulated time in a mosque. It is a very calming sensation.”

Healthcare professional Shahid Abdul Gani said that this was the one month where sleep eluded him. “I keep a strict bedtime schedule during 11 months of the year,” he said. “But this month, I barely sleep. I like to pray Taraweeh in different masjids listening to different reciters. So, the time I return from the mosque varies. I may sleep for some time depending on when I get home.”

After heading to Qiyam al Layl prayers, Shahid returns home to eat Suhoor and then pray Fajr. “My office only begins at 9am but I don’t have the habit of sleeping after Fajr,so I reach office by 8,” he said. “There I get some time to read the Quran before starting work with my patients.”

After finishing work at 2, Shahid tries to get some shut eye at home but it is not always possible. “Sometimes my kids will have a lot of things to share about school and friends,” he said. “On such days, I don’t sleep and we all just sit up chatting.”


More news from Ramadan 2023