UAE-based personalities tell us what Ramadan means to them

Saeed Saeed asked 10 UAE-based personalities what the Holy Month means to them.

Salim Dahman, one half of the hip-hop duo Desert Heat. Stephen Lock / The National
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As Ramadan continues, Saeed Saeed asked 10 UAE-based personalities what the Holy Month means to them.

Munther Al Jennibi, singer

It is a special and blessed month. It is a time for self-reflection and challenging myself. The challenge lies in remaining disciplined in terms of fulfilling the religious obligations. It is also a wonderful time you spend with your family. It is spiritually encouraging.

Nasser Iraq, novelist

It's a time to reconnect with my family and give as much to charity as I can. I will also use the time to read a lot of books, both spiritual and historical, as well as continue writing my next novel.

Salim Dahman, rapper from the hip-hop duo Desert Heat

We have this thing in our house where we stop watching television for the whole month. We focus on our spirituality and exercise. You know, after Ramadan we lose a lot of weight. The month for us is like a reset button for our body and soul.

Shaima Al Sayed, comic

In Ramadan, I am at my happiest. I'm just calm and serene. I don't leave the house, and in the evenings, I try to go to as many mosques as I can for the prayers. My goal this month is to pray as much as I can at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Ali Al Saloom, author of the Ask Ali guidebooks

It is a gift from God and we greet it fully with all of our soul. It is a time for reflection, for me to focus on my spiritual development.

Faisal Al Saari, oud virtuoso

It's a chance to be part of this special spiritual atmosphere. Ramadan is a valuable opportunity for us all to purify ourselves from sins and bad habits. I plan to take this opportunity fully and learn from it because the month does go by quickly.

Nayla Al Khaja, filmmaker

Ramadan brings me back to my childhood as I spend it with my family. It's also a chance for me to break the routine. For 11 months I was working hard and not spending enough time with my parents, so Ramadan is a chance to break that and reconnect spiritually with myself and my family.

Nadia Buhannad, author and educational psychologist

It's like a spiritual holiday. I'm always on the run so Ramadan for me is that great chance to slow down. I finish work at 3pm and I spend it mostly at home and focus on rereading the Quran and spiritually evaluating myself.

Farhad Hussain, Radio Mirchi jockey

It's all about self-discipline and controlling myself, be it my thought process or my nerves. My show Purani Jeans is in the evenings so when I am fasting during the day I try not to talk at all and save it for the show. If I can get closer to the Almighty with my fast then this Ramadan would be a big success.

Adel Khozam, poet

I would describe it as a deep journey to purify my soul, body and mind. I stay away from heavy or fatty foods. I also spend a lot of hours alone studying old texts from the Arabic and Islamic worlds, treasures that have been lost in today's world of Facebook and Twitter. Ramadan is a valuable chance to get in touch with our humanity.