Ramadan in UAE: Muslim, Christian and Hindu salon workers break fast together

Hailing from India and Pakistan, the colleagues offer prayers in the shop and share biryani for Iftar



by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 17 Apr 2022, 3:30 PM

Last updated: Sun 17 Apr 2022, 10:22 PM

Ramadan is a month of sharing with others. There is no better place to observe this than at a salon in Sharjah where Muslims, a Christian and a Hindu from India and Pakistan sit together and share their Iftar meal every day.

Ali Haider from Pakistan and Nafees Ahmed and Rukhshad Jaber Ali from India are joined by their Christian colleague Rohail Ghauri from Pakistan and Hindu friend Danish Hans from India during Iftar. They don’t just share their meals but feelings and happy moments that they have had with their families.

They break their fast and offer Maghrib prayer within the shop because customers start trickling in after Iftar, especially during the weekends.

“The best part of Ramadan here is that we have Iftar together with colleagues. A Pakistani family, which lives in the same building, provides us with biryani every day for Iftar. Some other generous people also share their meals with us. Breaking the fast together gives a feeling of a having Iftar with the family, to some extent. Then we offer Maghrib prayer at the shop because customers start coming after the Iftar,” said Nafees Ahmed, who has been living in the UAE over the past five years.

“Since we work from 9am till 12 midnight, we don’t get time also to cook at home.”

Ali Haider, who has been a UAE resident for two years, breaks fast at the shop every year.

“Boys from other shops also join us for Iftar, so we around five Indians and Pakistanis colleagues who share the meal during Iftar. Since we have been living and working together for the past few years, we have developed a good understanding. So enjoy each other’s company,” said Haider, who works here to support his five siblings and two parents in Pakistan.

Rukhshad Jaber Ali is relatively new to the UAE and it’s his first Ramadan without his family.

“I’ve been living in the UAE for seven months. I’m settling down and getting used to this new environment as I have some new friends now. I really miss my family because this is the first time I’m away from them. I always had Iftar with my family when I was in India,” he said.

Danish Hans, who comes from a scheduled caste in the Indian state of Punjab, says it feels very nice to sit and have a meal with Muslim friends. “It’s a different and very good experience that I didn’t have had in India.”

Income

Rukhshad has not remitted money to his family over the past seven months because he lost his income to some fines.

Haider said they don’t see customers during the day during Ramadan due to summer.

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“We don’t have much work in the day. It’s only after Iftar that customers start visiting saloons. Since it’s a commission-based system, we earn a decent income in some months. But then there are months we don’t earn at all, hence, don’t send money to our families,” added Haider.

“There are months when there is no income at all. Even during Ramadan, there is not much income except during Eid Al Fitr days. Customers rarely visit saloons during the day this month because they’re fasting and they prefer to stay at home,” said Ahmed.


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