My Ramadan: Atmosphere in UAE helps bring out best in people

Dr Faisel Ikram believes observing the Holy Month is easier and more enjoyable in the UAE compared to the West and the spiritual side of the month comes across more.
Faisel Ikram spends his day performing surgeries before going to his other office at the Pakistan Association. Lee Hoagland / The National
Faisel Ikram spends his day performing surgeries before going to his other office at the Pakistan Association. Lee Hoagland / The National

DUBAI // An atmosphere of giving and thinking of others during Ramadan helps to bring out the best in people.

That is the view of Faisel Ikram, who will be observing his sixth holy month in Dubai and, despite the heat, believes Ramadan is easier in the UAE.

Dr Ikram, who is the secretary general of the Pakistan Association Dubai, said it was also a wonderful time of year to help others less fortunate.

“Before I came to Dubai I spent many years in South Africa and I can say it is a lot easier to observe Ramadan in the UAE,” he said.

“You can see there is a change that comes over the country during this month and it’s much more conducive to fasting and the spiritual side of Ramadan.”

Shorter working hours mean it is more convenient for people to fast, he said. “Although there is an issue with the heat, I don’t think it impacts on most people as they are working indoors,” said Dr Ikram, who is a consultant gastrointestinal surgeon at Mediclinic City Hospital.

“Having said that, the nature of my job means that I can’t really have shorter hours because I work to what my patients need and, if I’m needed in surgery, then that is what I do,” he said.

“But it’s not just the fasting that is important in Ramadan, it is very important that we use this time to help give back to those in need. This is one of the great things about celebrating Ramadan here.

“There are so many ways you can help, like volunteering your time or donating in other ways to the community.

“I think, in particular for people who come over from the West, this can be an important added element.

It’s really important that we also help those who need our help and there are plenty of ways to do that in the UAE.”

An important part of enjoying Ramadan, he said, is to make sure it is observed in the correct manner.

“I always advise people not to have too much food at iftar and to make sure they eat healthily and drink plenty of water during suhoor,” he said. “That way you make sure you have enough energy for the day and aren’t suffering with hunger pangs during the course of the day.

“People should also try to get enough sleep during this month and, if possible, try to get to bed a little earlier so that they don’t feel so run down when they are at work.”

Dr Ikram, along with his family, plans to spend a couple of weeks in Saudi Arabia this Ramadan, to visit friends and to do the Umrah pilgrimage.

Published: June 18, 2015 04:00 AM


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