Abstaining from gossip and other “bad habits” is as important as fasting, he stressed.
For Ibrahim, a Lebanese expat in the UAE, experiencing the holy month of Ramadan in Dubai is not very different from what it is back home. The family breadwinner, who is in his 40s and has been living in the country for over 10 years, smiles when he talks about his attachment to what he calls his second country.
“Reading the Holy Quran, respecting the prayer timings, donating Zakat, and preserving the basic principles of worship are essential in this month. It is also crucial in other months, but this time of the year has a special meaning to us. I taught my children those basic elements and that won’t change no matter where we are,” he explained.
Abstaining from gossip and other “bad habits” is as important as fasting, he stressed. “The spiritual rituals cleanse both our body and soul. We try our best to keep this spirit within us even after Ramadan ends.”
However, what he misses in his home country is the gathering of larger and distant family members during Iftar or the occasional invites on Iftar and Suhour from friends and relatives.
“Back home, within our family it has become a tradition to invite each other for Iftar. It would also be an opportunity to catch up with a relative with whom we lost contact for some time,” said the father of two.
The engineer has a small circle of friends here apart from colleagues. He always spends Iftar at home with his family. “Breaking the fast together is important for us as a family. We enjoy the food my wife cooks and it is also a tradition that keeps us close.
“My children like to visit the malls which are open till late. They rejoice to see families going out and people shopping or sitting at cafes and restaurants. It is also a chance for me to run some errands I could not take care of during the day. Besides, some malls have Arab musicians playing the oud and we enjoy it a lot.”
Ibrahim will spend Eid Al Fitr in Lebanon with his parents. He gets emotional when remembering them.
“I have not seen them for a few months. Even though we are always in touch thanks to social media, I definitely look forward to getting together with them again soon. Taking care and providing for my parents is something I try to do as much as I can.”