Islam is in fact the religion of unity in its expression of faith and practice. An estimated one in every five people, from all races, nationalities, and cultures across the globe are Muslim. Contrary to popular belief, around only 20% of Muslims are Arab and 33% of all Muslims live in the Middle East. The world’s largest islamic community is in Indonesia.
Islam is the second largest religion in the World with around 1,6 billion followers and as of 2017 the world’s fastest growing religion.
What do Muslims believe in?
Muslims believe in one, unique, incomparable, merciful god (Allah), the creator of the universe and agree on the ninety-nine specific names or attributes of Allah. They revere the same prophets: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed and accept the sacred writings of the Christians and Jews. Apart from the Quran, Muslims also refer to the life of Prophet Mohammed as a secondary source of guidance. Belief in the Sunnah and Hadith, the practice and example of the prophet is part of the Islamic faith.
Muslims belief in the angels created by Allah, the day of judgement, individual accountability for actions, and Allah’s complete authority over destiny; be it good or bad and in life after death.
In fact Islam was introduced to the Emirates in early 600 AD and since that time the Emirati people have embraced Islam as their faith and way of life by the wisdom of he Holy Quran.
The one hundred and fourteen chapters of the Quran touch upon all aspects of human existence-social organization and legislation, but its basic theme is the relationship between Allah and his creatures. At the same time it provides guidelines for a society, proper human conduct, and equitable economic principles.
What are the five pillars of Islam?
•Declaration there is no God but Allah (Shahada)
•Praying five times a day (Salah)
•Fasting during Ramadan (Saun)
•Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a time of giving and remembering the blessing of life that we have been given by Allah. It is also a time when we remember those who are not so fortunate; it is time to give generously, in money, gold, food and spirit.
Ramadan is a month where you may reflect on the relationships you have with your family and friends. Perhaps this would be an ideal time to reconcile with that uncle you may not have spoken to for months over a silly argument, or try to engage in more community and volunteer work.
Generosity within the community is a common practice during Ramadan. For example most Emirati families prepare enough extra food everyday during Ramadan to cater for fifty to one hundred extra persons. This spirit of giving is well known so just before sunset there are crowds of people from the community gathered outside homes to receive their Iftar meals.
Spending Ramadan in the UAE
During Ramadan every healthy Muslim is required to fast from dawn until dusk. Those fasting abstain from food, drink, smoke, sex, nutritionally-related medicine or any non-essential oral medicine.
The Adhan (call to prayer) for Al Maghrib (sunset prayer) marks the end of the fast for the day. Before praying the fast is broken with dates and water. After prayer the Iftar meal (breakfast) is eaten with family and friends.
In the Emirates traditional dishes such as Harees, Fareed and Lugamat are eaten daily for Iftar.
Enjoy the experience by spending time with your Muslim friends. Share an Iftar meal together or visit one of the many Ramadan tents found throughout the country.
It is important to respect the Holy month, so avoid eating, drinking, and smoking in public. A more conservative dress code will be appreciated during this month.
Many restaurants remain open during the daytime in Ramadan to serve non-Muslim customers.
Although you cannot buy alcohol during the daytime in Ramadan, non-Muslims can consume it in selected hotel bars, clubs, and restaurants after 7pm.
Compulsory prayers five times a day remain the same. However, there are extra prayers known as Taraweeh. These prayers are recited in the evening after Al Isha prayers around 8pm. It is a non-compulsory group prayer, which lasts about half an hour.
There is also an extra late night prayer called Tahajood which is optional. It is receited about an hour before dawn. Muslims will get up for Tahajood prayers and eat a meal called Suhoor. It is just before the call to Al Fajr dawn prayers and is a special time for family and friends to gather in the home or in the Ramadan tents. Typical foods eaten are Harees and Fareed.
Visit a mosque to hear facts about Islam!
Since 1998 the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai has been open to all visitors and travelers for guided tours and cultural discussions.
There are tours at 10:00am and 2:00pm daily, except on Fridays. Registration is open 30 minutes before tour starts.
For bookings please click on below link:
You can also visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. General visiting hours are from Saturday-Thursday 9am to 10pm.
Please note that the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is closed for tourism activities on Friday mornings, and reopens after 4:30 p.m. for visitors.
In addition you can take a cultural tour of the Mosque’s passageways and halls with qualified Emirati personnel leading these tours free of charge. Visitors learn about the artistic elements and architectural aesthetics distinguishing the mosque and the history behind its establishment, and learn facts about Islam. These tours are organized on a daily basis.
For more information click on below link:
In Sharjah non-Muslim residents and tourists can visit the beautiful Al Noor Mosque, which is located at Al Buhaira Corniche. Public visits are on Monday and Thursday from 10-11:00am. Private visits are possible from Sunday to Thursday upon request.
The mosque visit includes a brief on the architecture of the mosque, facts about Islam and an explanation on the UAE culture in English. The mosque visit program is free of charge.
Modest dress is requested for the visit of any mosque. Women are required to cover their hair with head scarves.