Worshippers at Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi. Antonie Robertson / The National
Worshippers at Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi. Antonie Robertson / The National

Discovering the true meaning of Ramadan



As it turns out, Ramadan is not simply an exercise in fasting during the day, binge-eating during the night and setting the clock to the morning's wee hours for those inclined to rise for the predawn meal. Neither is it about irate drivers who feel entitled to exhibit road rage, lacklustre employees who see the month as an excuse to slack off and overworked women slaving over a stove every day in preparation for the sunset meal. Ramadan is none of those things, if done right, and instead, is the chance for a spiritual boost, with lessons to be applied long after the month is out.

The month

So Ramadan is here (almost). How do we know this? Because according to official Islamic bodies, the crescent moon will soon be sighted, marking the beginning of the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Lasting 29 or 30 days - the end date will be revealed through another official lunar sighting in the last week of the month - Muslims are to refrain from food and liquid (including chewing gum, smoking cigarettes and the like) from dawn to sunset, and instead renew their focus on prayers and increase their recitation of the Holy Quran.

Why it's so special

It is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. As a result, Ramadan is also known as the month to recite the holy text even more eagerly and with renewed dedication to completing the task. Muslims are encouraged to complete the full recitation of the Holy Quran at least once during the month. With an average of 600 pages, this seemingly huge task can be achieved through the recitation of four pages before each of the five prayers daily throughout the entire month.

The fast

It is one of Islam's five main pillars (the others being the belief in one God and the Prophet Mohammed as His Messenger, praying five times a day, completing the pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able and giving charity or "zakat"). It is mandatory for all Muslims upon reaching puberty, as long as they are mentally and physically sound. The elderly and chronically ill are exempt from fasting; however, it is incumbent upon them to feed the poor instead if they possess the financial means.

A spiritual detox

The fast is not simply about denying your body food and water. It also involves arguably the more taxing challenge of avoiding ill speech, arguments, loss of temper and malicious behaviour. The whole point of the fast is to demonstrate submission to God and keep the mind focused on a spiritual plane.

The benefits

Patience and mercy, which, let's face it, we all need more of in these harried times. Ramadan is viewed as a month-long school where graduates leave with a developed sense of self-control in areas including diet, sleeping and the use of time.

The meals

The fasting day is book-ended by two meals: suhoor and iftar. The former is the early morning meal consumed before fasting begins at dawn, while the latter is to break the fast at sunset. If breakfast is viewed as an important meal, a healthy suhoor is even more vital as it is meant to last you up to 15 hours - as is the case this summer in the UAE - before breaking bread again. Slow digesting foods like barley, wheats, oats and lentils are recommended and limiting fatty and sugary products would be wise. There is a propensity to binge eat at sunset, but a balanced, moderate meal would really make all the difference, considering that the evenings are spent engaging in special nightly prayers. It is also recommended to break the fast with dates, as was the practice of the Prophet Mohammed, before moving on to other dishes.

The prayers

Ramadan is also defined by extra congregational prayers performed nightly after the evening isha prayers, which are normally the last prayers of the evening. Such an occasion presents a rarity in the UAE: a city devoid of the normal onslaught of evening traffic for the duration of Ramadan. For those living near a mosque, expect your neighbourhood to be a hive of activity for the whole month.

The finish line

Ramadan culminates with the three-day Eid Al Fitr holiday celebrating the end of the fast. Marked by a special morning prayer, the day is a form of spiritual graduation and a chance to permanently implement the spiritual lessons learnt throughout the month. Muslims dress in their best and visit friends and relatives as a sense of community prevails.

Traits of Chinese zodiac animals

Tiger:independent, successful, volatile
Rat:witty, creative, charming
Ox:diligent, perseverent, conservative
Rabbit:gracious, considerate, sensitive
Dragon:prosperous, brave, rash
Snake:calm, thoughtful, stubborn
Horse:faithful, energetic, carefree
Sheep:easy-going, peacemaker, curious
Monkey:family-orientated, clever, playful
Rooster:honest, confident, pompous
Dog:loyal, kind, perfectionist
Boar:loving, tolerant, indulgent  

Meydan race card

6.30pm: Maiden; Dh165,000; (Dirt) 1,200m
7.05pm: Handicap; Dh170,000; (D) 1,200m​​​​​​​
7.40pm: Maiden; Dh165,000; (D) 1,900m​​​​​​​
8.15pm: Handicap; Dh185,000; (D) 2,000m​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
8.50pm: Handicap; Dh185,000; (D) 1,600m​​​​​​​
9.25pm: Handicap; Dh165,000; (D) 2,000m

Tomb Raider I–III Remastered

Developer: Aspyr
Publisher: Aspyr
Console: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 3/5

ANATOMY OF A FALL

Director: Justine Triet

Starring: Sandra Huller, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado-Graner

Rating: 5/5

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Intercontinental Cup

Namibia v UAE Saturday Sep 16-Tuesday Sep 19

Table 1 Ireland, 89 points; 2 Afghanistan, 81; 3 Netherlands, 52; 4 Papua New Guinea, 40; 5 Hong Kong, 39; 6 Scotland, 37; 7 UAE, 27; 8 Namibia, 27

11 cabbie-recommended restaurants and dishes to try in Abu Dhabi

Iqbal Restaurant behind Wendy’s on Hamdan Street for the chicken karahi (Dh14)

Pathemari in Navy Gate for prawn biryani (from Dh12 to Dh35)

Abu Al Nasar near Abu Dhabi Mall, for biryani (from Dh12 to Dh20)

Bonna Annee at Navy Gate for Ethiopian food (the Bonna Annee special costs Dh42 and comes with a mix of six house stews – key wet, minchet abesh, kekel, meser be sega, tibs fir fir and shiro).

Al Habasha in Tanker Mai for Ethiopian food (tibs, a hearty stew with meat, is a popular dish; here it costs Dh36.75 for lamb and beef versions)

Himalayan Restaurant in Mussaffa for Nepalese (the momos and chowmein noodles are best-selling items, and go for between Dh14 and Dh20)

Makalu in Mussaffa for Nepalese (get the chicken curry or chicken fry for Dh11)

Al Shaheen Cafeteria near Guardian Towers for a quick morning bite, especially the egg sandwich in paratha (Dh3.50)

Pinky Food Restaurant in Tanker Mai for tilapia

Tasty Zone for Nepalese-style noodles (Dh15)

Ibrahimi for Pakistani food (a quarter chicken tikka with roti costs Dh16)

The biog

Name: Shamsa Hassan Safar

Nationality: Emirati

Education: Degree in emergency medical services at Higher Colleges of Technology

Favourite book: Between two hearts- Arabic novels

Favourite music: Mohammed Abdu and modern Arabic songs

Favourite way to spend time off: Family visits and spending time with friends

RESULTS

9pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (Dirt) 2,000m
Winner: Mubhir Al Ain, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Ahmed Al Mehairbi (trainer)
9.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh70,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Exciting Days, Oscar Chavez, Doug Watson
10pm: Al Ain Cup – Prestige (PA) Dh100,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Suny Du Loup, Marcelino Rodrigues, Hamad Al Marar
10.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,800m
Winner: Jafar Des Arnets, Oscar Chavez, Ahmed Al Mehairbi
11pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Taj Al Izz, Richard Mullen, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami
11.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Majdy, Antonio Fresu, Jean de Roualle
12am: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Hamloola, Sam Hitchcott, Salem Al Ketbi

Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway

Director: Ashima Chibber 

Stars: Rani Mukerji, Anirban Bhattacharya and Jim Sarbh 

Rating: 2/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

FULL RESULTS

Middleweight

Eslam Syaha (EGY) bt Robin Roos (SWE)

Welterweight

Alex da Silva (BRA) bt Bagyash Zharmamatov (KGZ)
Murodov Samandar (TJK) bt Lucas Sampaio (BRA)
Shakhban Alkhasov (RUS) bt Salamat Orozakunov (KGZ)
Khotamjon Boynazarov (UZB) bt Mikail Bayram (FRA)

Bantamweight
Jieleyisi Baergeng (CHN) bt Xavier Alaoui (CAN)

Flyweight
Rashid Vagabov (RUS) bt Lun Qui (CHN)
Yamato Fujita (JPN) bt Furkatbek Yokubov (UZB)
Aaron Aby (WLS) bt Joevincent So (PHI)

Catchweight 176lb
Mark Hulm (RSA) bt Erkin Darmenov (KAZ)

Catchweight 160lb
Rustam Serbiev (BEL) bt Anar Huseyinov (AZE)

Catchweight 150lb

Islam Reda (EGY) bt Ernie Braca (PHI)

Flyweight (women)
Baktygul Kurmanbekova (KGZ) bt Maria Eugenia Zbrun (ARG)