Ramadan routine: 'The holy month elevates my spirituality' says valet
Mushtaq Ahmed fasts during Ramadan while working under the hot summer sun as a valet parking attendant
As the summer approaches, people find their own escape from the scorching sun and keep hydrated during Ramadan.
Mushtaq Ahmed, though, doesn't have this privilege. Spending his entire working day arranging cars and giving out tickets to customers in the small outdoor valet parking are of Dubai Municipality's headquarters, Ahmed says he faces the tough job with patience.
Hailing from Afghanistan, 28-year-old Ahmed works from 8am to 3pm, with only a designated umbrella that shields him and his colleagues from the sun. A hat and sometimes a scarf to cover his face offers the only other protection. "You see the way it is in the parking and how hot and hard it is, but Allah gives us the power and patience to keep our fast," Ahmed told Khaleej Times, drenched in sweat.
The toughest part for him, though, is Iftar time. "We are away from our family without always having access to good food. But again, I manage all these difficulties with patience because I believe tomorrow will be better," said Ahmed, a UAE resident since 2014.
He previously worked at a supermarket in Business Bay for two years before going back home and returning to become a valet.
In Ramadan, Ahmed embraces the fact that people try harder to exert self-control. "I love it that who don't usually keep their prayers or worship Allah take this month to get closer to Him. They pray five times a day and attend mosques, even if they don't usually do that."
For Ahmed, Ramadan is about praying and "crying to Allah to forgive my sins." He added: "Our love for each other also shows more during Ramadan.
"I find solace in praying and reciting the Holy Quran. It elevates my spirituality in a world that's too quick paced and difficult."
The holy month is marked by little sleep and food for him, which he said makes him learn the meaning of patience. "I wake up twice in the morning during Ramadan, once for Suhoor and then for work. It is very tiring."
His favourite dish is okra that he used to have back home with his family in Kabul. "Ramadan is also about family and spending it away from them is hard." He said family gatherings and outings with friends always marked the holy month for him back home.
Ahmed now waits and prays for a better opportunity and a better day to come.
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