Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ramadan Kareem. I get to share Iftar meals in Dubai

In the Holy month of Ramadan,
there is no eating or drinking during the daylight hours.
Devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset...
After dark, it is time to celebrate with family and friends.
Derived from the word Ramad, meaning "scorching hot" or "dryness",
Ramadan falls during different seasons in various places on earth.

Iftar is the meal at sunset when the daily fast is broken

Traditionally the fast is broken with dates and water.
After that, the food is spectacular in both quality and quantity.

This "instrument" can be used to serve a variety of beverages,
eithe hot or cold.

These did look delicious,
but seeing that none are "missing",
perhaps they were for decoration only?

This is Melissa Lalande,
public relations manager for the Atlantis.
She explained the Iftar to me.
This is what she had to say:

Our final Iftar took place here.
Their slogan is
"Open doors, open minds"
The centre is situated in the Wind Tower House,
in the heart of the historic Al Fahidi District
in Old Dubai.

Nasif  Kayed runs the centre.
He educated us on Islam and its teachings
during our sojourn at Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre
for Cultural Understanding.

Time to break the fast...

But first, prayer time.
Both women and men can pray together.
In this instance, the women were standing behind me at the back of the room

Explaining what food is on offer,
before the guests tuck in!
The one meal that I did not partake in was Suhoor.
"Why not"?, I hear you ask...
Because it takes place before dawn!

Happiness is the Iftar meal.
Why do Muslims fast?
Fasting is seen as an exercise of one's character or spiritual being.
The overall benefit is becoming a better human being
and a more conscientious member of society.

In the middle of a centuries old tradition..
a modern way to record the evening.

From L to R:
Emily, Mustafah, Annie.
I asked these three visitors about their perspective on the evening.
This is what they had to say:

This young fellow  was there to record
the events for the local media.
After he interviewed me,
I turned the tables on him!
This is his perspective:

Women have a role to play
and it would have been remiss of me NOT to hear their side of the story.
Listen to what Yasmin had to say:

During Ramadan, one should refrain from:
a] Committing wrongful acts
b] Anger.
c] Gossip, backbiting or cursing
d] Ill feelings or thoughts
e] Arrogance in your walk or talk.

I have noticed that desserts play a large part in Iftar meals.
If invited to an Iftar meal, you do not have to bring a gift,
however a sweet or dessert from your culture is appreciated.

After our meal, we took a walk along the banks of the Creek
that runs through Dubai.
It was this waterway that there early fishermen used to bring their catch to shore.

A final look at Dubai.
Thanks to all those who hosted us on this trip.
The information on Ramadan used in this posting,
come from a booklet, Ramadan Explained, we were given at the Cultural Centre.
To find out more about the work they do,
visit their website:


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