As Muslims around the world observe Ramadan, there are some professionals for whom fasting on the job proves to be a risk. Dubai-based pilot Ameen Ali is one such person.
“When I first started flying, many many moons ago, I once tried fasting,” he said. “But I realised pretty quickly that it was quite challenging, and I couldn’t give my 100 per cent to the job. So, I ended up breaking my fast.”
As a pilot in charge of the lives of hundreds of people, people like Ali cannot afford even a tiny lapse in their concentration.
“During Ramadan, I get the roster a month in advance,” he said. “I only fast during the days I am off work. I then make up for the fasts I missed during my days off through the rest of the year. And usually, I try to take the last 10 days of the month off. However, this year, it hasn’t been possible.”
Ali then went on to explain how pilots inform their fasting passengers about timings.
“We have an app that allows us to put in our exact coordinates,” he said. “Once we put that in, the app will give us the timings for all five prayers. Using this, we are able to alert our passengers about their Iftar or Suhoor timings if they are fasting. I am glad that even if I am not fasting, I can help those who are.”
Born and raised in the UAE, Ali says Ramadan is a very special time for him. “I love being able to spend time with my family,” he said. “I enjoy being able to have Iftar and Suhoor with them. Those are the small things that give me a lot of happiness. And I think Ramadan is best in the UAE. I have always spent my Ramadan here and I love the feeling of peace that transcends this city during the month. The night prayers, the slow pace, it is all something I love to soak in.”
Having been a pilot for more than 12 years, Ali has recently set up his own garage. “Cars were always my first love,” he said. “With the planes and now my cars, I feel like my life is surrounded by engines and I couldn’t be happier.”
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