Ramadan in UAE: Pakistani cart puller keeps fast despite strenuous work

Khaleeq Ahmad's day starts at 7am and stretches until 10pm

By SM Ayaz Zakir

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Supplied photo

Published: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 8:56 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Apr 2022, 7:01 AM

Fasting for close to 16 hours is tough for most, so imagine how challenging it must be for those sweating it out while working in the blazing sun.

Through their sheer will and determination, fuelled by an all-consuming love of God, they keep going, despite the strenuous nature of their jobs.

A case in point are the thousands of cart-pullers in the lanes and bylanes of Deira who carry heavy loads on their modest carts, to keep the small businesses going.

Pakistani cart-puller Khaleeq Ahmad, who has been at it for over 10 years now says: “It’s tiring, but I cannot think of not fasting in this auspicious month.”

During the holy month, he starts his day as early as 7am helping shops and business establishment in the market sort and display the products.

“We are tied up with many shops who pay us about Dh5-10 to help sort and put up their products for display. That’s the first job we are hired for in the morning,” said Ahmad.

Soon after that, the cart pullers find a corner to rest, while waiting for customers to hire them. “During Ramadan, not many people come to the market. We only get businessmen from neighbouring countries, due to which our earnings dip,” said Ahmad.

But still there are local businesses who need delivery of goods or require moving them to other establishments, and people like Ahmad are called upon to do the leg work for a nominal charge.

As the call for Azaan rings out, Ahmad stations his cart close to the mosque to end his fast and offer his daily prayers. “We get a few customers after Asr prayers which adds a bit to our income,” he explained.

After toiling hard throughout the day, Ahmad says he earns about Dh25-30 a day during Ramadan, and saves up money to send back home to support his family.

Some 20 minutes before Azaan, he and his friends/colleagues begin preparing for Iftar. Many a time, he says some Good Samaritan, comes by to offer them Iftar.

“Sometimes we get to have a delicious feast at Iftar, but other times we have to buy our own Iftar,” he said.


The cart-puller buys a tandoori bread, some dal (lentil curry) and tea for Dh5 to end his fast, but its big money for the worker who earns a pittance for his daily work. “There are days when we don’t get meals [from someone], it becomes difficult. But we trust in the Almighty — we often manage to end our fast with His blessings and the help of a kind soul.”

Once he is done with Iftar and Maghrib prayers, it’s back to duty for Ahmad, until a break for Isha and Taraweeh prayers.

He finally calls it a day by 10 at night.


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