Ramadan in UAE: How Emirati family's hospitality impressed Dubai taxi driver

Bangladeshi expat recalls how the matriarch of the family came out with food and invited him to join them for Iftar feast


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Tue 11 Apr 2023, 11:30 AM

Last updated: Tue 11 Apr 2023, 5:21 PM

Dubai Taxi drivers always have exciting tales to tell as they criss-cross the length and breadth of the emirate, taking thousands of passengers to their destinations. Even during the quieter month for business during Ramadan, as people who fast prefer to stay indoors and not travel much, these drivers have plenty of interesting experiences to recount.

Firdous Hassan, a Bangladeshi national, has worked with Dubai Taxi for 14 years (since 2009). Hassan religiously fasts during Ramadan and works from 4pm to 4am. “Fasting is easy for me as I sleep during the day time and wake up before my duty starts. I take a shower, offer my prayer and start my duty,” he said.

Sharing details of one of his memorable experiences during the holy month, Hassan recalls when he went to drop an Emirati passenger at his home just before breaking the fast.

“When I reached the destination, he asked me to wait. Initially, I thought I may have committed a mistake. Then he went to his home and brought plenty of food and water. His mother also came out carrying food for me and insisted that I join them in the Iftar feast. I was really impressed with their behaviour, especially the mother. They were such humble and down-to-earth people, and it made me realise that such great people live here,” Hassan told Khaleej Times in an interview.

Hassan, who is constantly on the go as a taxi driver, often picks up passengers just before it's time to break the fast during Ramadan. To ensure he can break his fast as soon as the time arrives, he carries dates and water with him while driving.

“I offer the same to my passengers, either they are Muslim or non-Muslim. After dropping passenger, I go to nearby restaurants or supermarkets and break the fast.”

He takes a two-hour break and also intermittently stops for tea during the non-fasting time. Hassan tries to allocate his spare time for prayers and reciting the holy Quran.

‘Miss my mother’s samosa’

Hassan went to see his family based in Dhaka in Ramadan two years ago.

“I miss my family but I talk to them every day. I miss my mother’s Iftar and cooking, especially samosas during Ramadan time. She is very good at making samosa and traditional food.”

Abdullah Naushad Abdul Khalil has been working as a bus driver with the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai, for 15 years. Born and brought up in Dubai, Abdullah has made the UAE his first home.

“Since my family has been living here in Dubai, I’ve not visited Bangladesh so far but now I’m planning to go and see Bangladesh. Thank God, I have a good job and I work only six hours during Ramadan. It becomes tiring sometimes but the Roads and Transport Authority takes very good care of its employees so that we are not exhausted during the holy month.”

At the time of the Iftar, Abdullah is allowed to park the bus to break the fast.


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