'Ramadan is beautiful': Irish convert in Dubai finds serenity in holy month despite challenges

He loves a lot of things about Ramadan but his favourite is the feast his in-laws put on for iftar


Nasreen Abdulla

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David Lynch (left) with his wife Aruba and father-in-law. — Supplied photo
David Lynch (left) with his wife Aruba and father-in-law. — Supplied photo

Published: Tue 2 Apr 2024, 12:59 PM

Last updated: Tue 2 Apr 2024, 4:35 PM

This is just the second Ramadan for Irish expat David Lynch and he feels like fasting has become easier.

“Last year was a trial fast and I often got too hungry or thirsty,” he said. “But this year, thankfully, it has become a lot easier. I have also been working hard to maintain the discipline of Ramadan.”

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Lynch, who moved to the UAE in 2017, accepted Islam in late 2022. “It has been an interesting journey so far,” he said. “I am still trying to get the hang of things like prayers and fasting. I feel like I am not praying as much as I should be but I am getting better.”

Last year, Lynch got married to his Pakistani wife Aruba. “Thankfully, my wife and my in-laws have been very patient with me,” he said, “I have been going to Taraweeh prayers with my father-in-law this year and I love it.”


For him, the hardest part about Ramadan has been foregoing his tea. “I usually start my day with two cups of tea and then a coffee at 11am,” he said. “Giving that up has been quite difficult. Whenever I get hungry or thirsty, I try to distract myself by doing more work. So, as you can expect, my productivity is through the roof.”

The expat, who works as an investment director at Sidra Capital, said that despite the challenges, he has found a lot of support at work.

“This year, we moved to an open plan office so there is no place for me to hide when I am tired,” he said. “However, there are several colleagues of mine who are fasting. In fact, there is even a non-Muslim co-worker who has been fasting for years. There is a nice support system at work.”

Favourite part

Despite the challenges, Ramadan is one of Lynch’s favourite times of the year. “Even before I became a Muslim, I used to love the holy month,” he said. “There is a certain peace and calm that descends on this city every year during Ramadan. Dubai is a fast-paced place where everything moves at breakneck speed. However, during Ramadan, everything and everyone slows down and it is the most beautiful, serene feeling.”

This year, he has a new favourite part of the month as well — the feast his in-laws put on for iftar.

“I had been warned of Pakistanis' love for feeding and hosting,” he chuckled. “But I was not expecting a full feast for iftar. There are lots of different types of appetizers like samosas, pakodas, fruit salad and tempura vegetables. My mother-in-law also makes this whole grain chickpeas with ginger sauce and it is absolutely delicious.”


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