A Syrian family reunites in Ajman this Ramadan

A Syrian family reunites in Ajman this Ramadan
Hassan Ibrahim and family enjoy a traditional Iftar at their home in Ajman.

Hassan Ibrahim's family was displaced inside Syria and walked across Turkey before flying to their new home in Ajman.

By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Tue 30 May 2017, 8:12 PM

Last updated: Wed 31 May 2017, 5:49 PM

One year ago they were opening their fast among other displaced Syrians inside their country, today, they feast together again as a happy family.
Hassan Ibrahim, a construction company manager, said having Iftar together as a family is more important to them now than ever.
Ibrahim has lived in the UAE for almost nine years, however, his family is still relatively new to the country.
They arrived just last year, after being displaced inside Syria and walking across Turkey before flying to their new home in Ajman. They were finally reunited with their husband and father.
Although, one of their sons currently lives in a refugee camp in Germany.
This Ramadan is the first one he and his wife and children, Iman, 14; Amal, 9; and sons Eman, 13 and Mohammed; will be spending together as a family after three whole years.
"We're excited and we are very happy," Ibrahim said. "I always did Iftar with my colleagues. But I can't imagine how my wife and children were spending their Ramadan."
"What I'm most excited about is having meals that my wife has made for Iftar."
Since it's their first Ramadan together after so long, the preparations for Iftar at the Ibrahim household start at around 3pm. Ibrahim's wife, Sabah, first seasons cabbages to make a traditional Syrian dish, called mihshai malfoof, which are cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and beef.
"It's my husband's favourite. Before Ramadan started, he told me I have to cook malfoof for everyone," she said.
The dish takes time to cook, so she always makes a head start. Her daughters, Iman and Amal, lend her a helping hand in making some of the "easier" foods, such as tabbouleh (traditional Middle Eastern salad, which consists of chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, lemon juice olive oil and salt).
"Sometimes I also make fattoush. I think that's easier to make for me," said Iman. "We mix crunchy tomatoes, bread and cucumber together. It's not as hard and detailed as tabbouleh. You don't have to chop everything so thin."
From 3pm until 20 minutes before Iftar time, Sabah prepares two bowls of tabbouleh, three main dishes -- Kibbeh bil sanieh, which is minced meat with rice, mihshai malfoof and manoushi bread with mutabal hamwi (Syrian bread with eggplant dip).
For drinks, there is qahwa, which is traditional Arabic tea.
 "I always make sure everything is ready on time," Sabah said.
Ibrahim said the family always feasts on the floor. Even though, they do have a dinner table, they prefer eating on a mat as it's their "culture".
"You can see in the UAE that many people eat in the majlis. We do this in our house too. We place a mat on the floor and we eat there."
"Just because all of the food is here, doesn't mean we'll eat it right away," Ibrahim said. "First, we open our fast with the dates and water, then we pray."
 You'd imagine that after fasting for more than 12 hours, they'd be gorging down those cabbage rolls real fast, but that's not the case.
 The family humbly opens their fast with just one or two dates and a glass of water, followed by the maghrib prayer.
 "After praying, we all sit and eat patiently and enjoy," Ibrahim said. Most of the times, the family also invites Ibrahim's cousins over to enjoy an iftar meal with them.
 "The bigger the crowd in our home, the better," he said. "If you have more family living near you, you should invite them. This is our culture. We share and care for our friends and family. We just wish our son Ibrahim Hassan was with us."
After Iftar, the entire family, including Ibrahim and his sons, help the ladies of the house clean up.
"If they're cooking, we should clean, right? I think that's fair," Ibrahim said. "I have my family with me again after so long. Don't want to take them for granted."

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