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Ramadan Kareem 2017

What can be bad about devoting 40 days to thinking about God, thinking about his holiness, his compassion, his generosity, his mercy? What can be bad about fasting in his honor, renewing personal attention to family and close friends, to reading the word of God? Ramadan was my favorite time when I lived in Qatar and Kuwait, full of amazing surprises and grace. May your Ramadan be blessed, my friends, with unexpected abundance and joy.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Kuwait, Qatar, Ramadan | 2 Comments

Eid Mubarak 2016

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Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friends who have come through one of the hottest Ramadan’s ever, refined by God’s holy fire. I wish you peace, peace with your family, peace in your country, and peace on earth, good will towards all mankind.

July 7, 2016 Posted by | Cultural, Eid, Faith, Ramadan | Leave a comment

Ramadan Kareem and Pope Francis

“God bless the work of your hands!” was one of the Moslem sayings I most loved as I lived my daily life in various countries in the Middle East. So, Pope Francis, God bless the work of your hands yesterday in your encyclical saying we are all responsible for the price we pay for progress. You are a brave man, and you don’t hesitate to name corruption when you see it, and to do your best to correct us, and straighten the path of the Lord.

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“Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth,” he writes.

It is not entirely a happy message for me. One of the items he castigates is air conditioning, and as Pensacola hits the nineties every day, I hate to think of how I would live without air conditioning. I think I would turn into a slug, swinging in my hammock for hours every day reading a book. My house would be full of dirty dishes and dust. And I remember living in Tunis, and in Jordan, without air conditioning. We managed, by the grace of God.

Meanwhile, during the hottest months of the year, yesterday, our Moslem brothers and sisters began Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and personal purification. Imagine, going all day without water and without food, breaking the fast only as the sun goes down. I wonder if the Pope made his world-changing address on the eve of Ramadan on purpose, as he clearly made it to all mankind, not only to his Catholic followers.

Ramadan Kareem, my Moslem brothers and sisters, whom I cherish, and who taught me so much. May your fasting bring you great insights and purity of spirit.

June 18, 2015 Posted by | Character, Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Environment, Events, ExPat Life, Faith, Interconnected, Leadership, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Political Issues, Quality of Life Issues, Ramadan, Social Issues | 4 Comments

When is Ramadan 2015?

Ramadan in 2015 will start on Thursday, the 18th of June and will continue for 30 days until Friday, the 17th of July.

Note that in the Muslim calander, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan on the sunset of Wednesday, the 17th of June.

Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.

The dates provided here are based on the dates adopted by the Fiqh Council of North America for the celebration of Ramadan. Note that these dates are based on astronomical calculations to affirm each date, and not on the actual sighting of the moon with the naked eyes. This approach is accepted by many, but is still being hotly debated.

Info from When Is

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Quality of Life Issues, Ramadan, Travel | 1 Comment

When Is Eid Al Fitr 2014?

Today as I checked WeatherUnderground, I saw that the new moon is expected July 26th. However, when I checked About.com, it says that Eid al Fitr will start around July 28.

Maybe even though the moon is new, it cannot be seen as early as the 26th?

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Question: When is Eid Al-Fitr 2014?

Eid Al-Fitr is a holiday marking the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting which is one of the greatest religious observance in Islam. What is the date for Eid Al-Fitr in 2014?

Answer: Eid Al-Fitr is expected to be on or around July 28, 2014.

Note: The exact dates of Islamic holidays cannot be determined in advance, due to the nature of the Islamic lunar calendar. Estimates are based on expected visibility of the hilal (waxing crescent moon following a new moon) and may vary according to location.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Eid, ExPat Life, Faith, Ramadan | Leave a comment

Ramadan Kareem and Ramadan for Non-Muslims

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I wrote this post in 2007, when I was living in Kuwait. It has become an annual tradition to repeat it.

Ramadan will start soon; it means that the very thinnest of crescent moons was sighted by official astronomers, and the lunar month of Ramadan might begin. You might think it odd that people wait, with eager anticipation, for a month of daytime fasting, but the Muslims do – they wait for it eagerly.

A friend explained to me that it is a time of purification, when your prayers and supplications are doubly powerful, and when God takes extra consideration of the good that you do and the intentions of your heart. It is also a time when the devil cannot be present, so if you are tempted, it is coming from your own heart, and you battle against the temptations of your own heart. Forgiveness flows in this month, and blessings, too.

We have similar beliefs – think about it. Our holy people fast when asking a particular boon of God. We try to keep ourselves particularly holy at certain times of the year.

In Muslim countries, the state supports Ramadan, so things are a little different. Schools start later. Offices are open fewer hours. The two most dangerous times of the day are the times when schools dismiss and parents are picking up kids, and just before sunset, as everyone rushes to be home for the breaking of the fast, which occurs as the sun goes down. In olden days, there was a cannon that everyone in the town could hear, that signalled the end of the fast. There may still be a cannon today – in Doha there was, and we could hear it, but if there is a cannon in Kuwait, we are too far away, and can’t hear it.

When the fast is broken, traditionally after the evening prayer, you take two or three dates, and water or special milk drink, a meal which helps restore normal blood sugar levels and takes the edge off the fast. Shortly, you will eat a larger meal, full of special dishes eaten only during Ramadan. Families visit one another, and you will see maids carrying covered dishes to sisters houses and friends houses – everyone makes a lot of food, and shares it with one another. When we lived in Tunisia, we would get a food delivery maybe once a week – it is a holy thing to share, especially with the poor and we always wondered if we were being shared with as neighbors, or shared with as poor people! I always tried to watch what they particularly liked when they would visit me, so I could sent plates to their houses during Ramadan.

Just before the sun comes up, there is another meal, Suhoor, and for that meal, people usually eat something that will stick to your ribs, and drink extra water, because you will not eat again until the sun goes down. People who can, usually go back to bed after the Suhoor meal and morning prayers. People who can, sleep a lot during the day, during Ramadan. Especially as Ramadan moves into the hotter months, the fasting, especially from water, becomes a heavier responsibility.

And because it is a Muslim state, and to avoid burdening our brothers and sisters who are fasting, even non-Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, touching someone of the opposite sex in public, even your own husband (not having sex in the daytime is also a part of fasting), smoking is forbidden, and if you are in a car accident and you might be at fault, the person might say “I am fasting, I am fasting” which means they cannot argue with you because they are trying to maintain a purity of soul. Even chewing gum is an offense. And these offenses are punishable by a heavy fine – nearly $400 – or a stay in the local jail.

Because I am not Muslim, there may be other things of which I am not aware, and my local readers are welcome to help fill in here. As for me, I find it not such a burden; I like that there is a whole month with a focus on God. You get used to NOT drinking or eating in public during the day, it’s not that difficult. The traffic just before (sunset) Ftoor can be deadly, but during Ftoor, traffic lightens dramatically (as all the Muslims are breaking their fast) and you can get places very quickly! Stores have special foods, restaurants have special offerings, and the feeling in the air is a lot like Christmas. People are joyful!

There were many comments on the original post, and, as usual in the history of Here There and Everywhere, the commenters taught us all more about Ramadan than the original post. If you want to read the original post and comments, you can click HERE.

This year, Ramadan in the Northern Hemisphere will be one of the hottest, least comfortable ever. Imagine, having to refrain from all food and drink, from swimming, from smoking, from dawn to dusk for an entire month. People still have to work, although at some work sites, hours are reduced. Driving will be horrible, especially toward dusk when people are starving and eager to break the fast.

May God grant his mercy to all those fasting in 2014, may your fast be blessed. may the All Merciful and All Generous listen to your prayers; may the hours of fasting pass quickly and pleasantly, and may you enjoy the blessings of family closeness and religious insights.

June 27, 2014 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Cultural, Faith, Ramadan, Spiritual | 3 Comments

When Is Ramadan 2014?

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Forward planners alert!

When-Is.com tells us the start date of Ramadan 2014 will depend on where you live. If you live in the US, it will start a day later than if you live in Asia or the Middle East.

If you want first crack at Ramadan reservations, major airline sales often start in October 🙂 Eid al Fitr will start either the 28th or 29th of July, depending also on where you live.

Eid al Adha will be the 4th or 5th of October.

Ramadan in 2014 will start on Saturday, the 28th of June and will continue for 30 days until Sunday, the 27th of July.

Based on sightability in North America, in 2014 Ramadan will start in North America a day later – on Sunday, the 29th of June.

Note that in the Muslim calander, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan on the sunset of Friday, the 27th of June.

Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.

The dates provided here are based on the dates adopted by the Fiqh Council of North America for the celebration of Ramadan. Note that these dates are based on astronomical calculations to affirm each date, and not on the actual sighting of the moon with the naked eyes. This approach is accepted by many, but is still being hotly debated.

September 10, 2013 Posted by | Eid, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Ramadan | Leave a comment

Dubai’s Weight Loss Challenge: 1 Gram Gold Per Kilo Lost

AdventureMan called as I was booting up the laptop. “Did you hear that?” he exclaimed!
“I’m booting up now,” I laughed.
“What an opportunity for a scam!” he continued.
“Yes, like who does the official weigh in? Can they tell Fatma from Jamila in their abayas and niqab? Does this apply only to Emiratis, or also to guest-workers? Can they tell one laborer from another as they exchange cards?
In truth, paying people to lose weight works. I don’t know how well people are able to keep the weight off; that is always the big problem, no matter what the diet plan. Unless you commit to long term changes in the way you think about food and life-style activities, the weight is hard to keep off long term. But BIG BRAVO to Dubai for this inventive and bold challenge. 🙂
fat

From Arab News

DUBAI: KT ABDURABB

Thursday 18 July 2013

Last Update 18 July 2013 2:26 am

Need some motivation to cut that flab? If you live in Dubai, you can win gold to do just that. A new campaign “You are Worth … Your Weight in Gold” is aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and achieving optimal body weight. The contest is open for public. 

The winner will be the one who loses maximum weight during the program period of 30 days from its inception on Friday this week. The top three winners will get a gold coin equivalent to AED 20,000. Other participants will get a gram of gold for each kilo reduced from their body weight. However, the minimum weight to lose for the eligibility is two kilograms.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Dubai Municipality officials said the winners will get two grams of gold if they could reduce at least two kilograms within one month. 

Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, said the initiative comes after the grand success of ‘Yallah Walk’ campaign launched in 2011.

“It is also aimed at introducing walking tracks in different parks in the city of Dubai. Walking is an easy and economic way to stay fit and healthy. The municipality has provided residents with safe and accessible walking tracks in urban and rural areas,’ Lootah said.

“Currently Dubai has a total of 91 places where one can practice sport activities. These include residential parks, public parks, jogging track and beaches. In addition to this, every year the civic body opens new parks in more areas and adds sports equipments and tools for the public to promote a healthy community, he said. 

“Ramadan is the most appropriate season to launch such initiatives as it reminds us about many health benefits of reducing weight and encourages us to take strong steps to change our bad lifestyles,’ he added. 

The weight of each participant will be measured during registration and at the end of program. Participants can register at the event sites any day during the period. Participants must have excess weight to reduce and stay away from unhealthy methods to lose weight.

The final weight will be measured after the Eid holidays on Aug. 16.

Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC), said the DMCC is proud to support this health awareness drive to encourage society to change their daily routines in return for a healthier lifestyle.

‘We would highly encourage everyone from all walks of life to take part in this great initiative and hope DMCC’s contribution of AED 100,000 worth of gold coins will help motivate individuals reach the final target of improving and sustaining a healthy lifestyle and consequently a better quality of life,’ he said.

“I am sure Dubai can be the role model and astonish the world by its innovative ideas and initiatives,” said Anil Dhanak, general manager of Dubai Gold & Jewelry Group.”

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Diet / Weight Loss, Eid, ExPat Life, Food, Fund Raising, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Ramadan | , , | 1 Comment

Ramadan: Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? Depends on where you live

This is from the Huffington Post via AOL. Ramadan has started in the USA, but the rest of the world . . . not so clear.

 

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Is Ramadan Tuesday or Wednesday? How about Thursday?

Because of disagreements over when the lunar-based Islamic fasting month begins, Muslims will start their fasting on different days this year.

In the United States, the Fiqh Council of North America, a prominent group of Islamic scholars affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America, has declared the first fasting day of Ramadan to be Tuesday. It used astronomical calculations and a sighting of the new moon in California. Many mosques, such as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, have also encouraged their congregants to use Tuesday as the first fasting day.

But with the vast majority of the world’s Muslims living outside the U.S., and many of America’s Muslims having immigrated from or having family in other countries, the Ramadan calendars used in places such as the Middle East and South Asia have swayed some Americans to change their observation dates.

In several Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, Islamic leaders said Monday that the new moon had not been sighted, meaning that Ramadan fasting could not begin until Wednesday. Ramadan technically begins at nighttime, when the crescent moon is sighted, and the first day of fasting begins at dawn the following morning. Islamic leaders in Malaysia have also said the fast won’t start until Wednesday. To blame in some areas for the lack of a visible moon: cloudy skies and bad weather.

In Pakistan, news sources are reporting that the fast could begin either Wednesday or Thursday. The story is similar in India, which is home to 177 million Muslims. TheWall Street Journal reported Tuesday that monsoons had prevented moon-sighting committees from declaring the beginning of Ramadan.

Syed Tariq Bukhari, a member of the moon sighting committee at Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid, one of India’s largest mosques, said India lags behind the Middle East because of its geographical position and, this year, because of the monsoon.According to his committee, if the new moon is spotted either by a moon sighting committee, a reliable Islamic witnesses — a Muslim man with a beard — or a large number of people Tuesday evening, then Ramadan will begin in India on Wednesday.

If not, then Thursday will mark the start of the fast.

 

Regardless of differing dates abroad, American Islamic scholars are keeping with using Tuesday as the first fast, Fiqh Council of North America officials say in a statement on their website.

“There is a big chance of divergence. The Fiqh Council will stick to its criteria and decision no matter what reports come from abroad. Ramadan in North America will definitely begin on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.”

July 9, 2013 Posted by | Ramadan, Technical Issue | Leave a comment

Ramadan Statistical Blip

Usually by this time of the day, mid-afternoon, the majority of my viewers are US . . . guessing this is a Ramadan blip:

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July 8, 2013 Posted by | Ramadan, Statistics | Leave a comment