Ramadan 2022 in UAE: In Sharjah, holy month is all about family, friends and charity

As a festive atmosphere returns to the Emirate after Covid-19, residents are hosting gatherings and enjoying cultural activities



by

Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Sat 16 Apr 2022, 8:55 AM

Last updated: Sat 16 Apr 2022, 10:02 PM

Post Covid-19, the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan has returned to Sharjah with various celebrations and a joyous atmosphere.

In Sharjah, the month of mercy is characterised by family gatherings, meal sharing, tolerance and charity. We went around the Emirate to capture the essence of the holy month as celebrated there.

Post-Iftar discussions

A number of elderly Emiratis have been gathering every day after Taraweeh prayers at Al Arsah Souq to exchange greetings and recall memories of Ramadan in the past. They sit on wooden bench beside the Souq, which features solid wooden doors, coral brick walls and hanging lanterns that symbolise UAE culture.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Ahmed Al Tunaiji, 76, said: "Among us, there is no one who does not respect our elders and have mercy on our young. These are lofty values that prevail even in the markets and daily life."

Meeting with friends outside mosques

Squares around mosques are a popular hangout spot for residents. It's here that they convene for some quality time after a day of fasting and prayers.

Some areas, such as Al Buhairah, Corniche and Khalid Lagoon, witness huge gatherings of people from various nationalities sharing Iftar meals in the open air and enjoying the pleasant weather.

Near Sharjah's Al Noor Mosque are vast green spaces and a corniche. Crowds flock to both areas in the evenings.

Majlis after Taraweeh

The practice of 'Ghabga' or 'Fala', where family and friends gather after Taraweeh prayers to share dinner, is officially back. Initially, people were only allowed to host 10 guests at a time to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Salam Al Kutbi from Al Madam said that Emirati families typically gather at one table to share a meal before returning to their homes with gifts.

"From the first day of Ramadan, we started to feel its spirit and enjoy its atmosphere, which is filled with love, mercy, giving and forgiveness," she said. "Food is often sent to our neighbours, the mosque and tents in the city."

Meanwhile, the youth volunteer to provide meals to fasting employees, such as the city's transport staff and construction workers, Al Kutbi added.

Ramadan tents

Ramadan tents, which are once again allowed in the UAE after two years, are an integral part of Emirati tradition. They embody the spirit of giving and human participation.

Thousands of nationalities gather in these tents during Iftar to break their fast. Many tents are set up outside mosques.

Festive atmosphere

Decorative lights are illuminating the streets of Sharjah, and residents have begun embracing the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan.

These decorations, which can been seen on streets, squares, landmarks and areas surrounding the Sharjah Mosque, narrate spiritual tales.

"The Ramadan decorations enhance the aesthetic appearance of Emirate of Sharjah and provide a pleasant environment that commemorates the spiritual atmosphere and joy we've seen post-Covid-19," said Obaid Saeed Al Tunaiji, director-general of the Sharjah Municipality.

Cultural activities

For the first time since Covid-19, bazaars and fairs have returned in various parts of the city.

The Sharjah Ramadan Festival is one of the oldest commercial and tourism events at the state level, as it includes many marketing, entertainment, heritage, historical, artistic and religious activities. This year, the festival is back in full swing with the implementation of Covid-19 measures.

Mosques full of worshippers

Though strict Covid-19 measures are in place at mosques, the turnout of worshippers is close to the pre-pandemic levels. With the sound of Azan and prayers on loudspeakers, even non-Muslims can experience the spirit of the holy month.

Women's prayer halls have also returned to normal in all Sharjah mosques. Women have been seen rushing to offer Taraweeh prayers with great joy. Some distribute water and dates among female worshippers.

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