SHARJAH: The second day of Eid Al Fitr was celebrated with grandeur and excitement throughout the country, as people from all walks of life opted for outdoor recreational sites to spend quality time with families and friends.
People, especially from Asian communities, hailing from different parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were giving priority to watch the latest movies across the country’s cinemas. Many Indians were seen wearing disappointed faces for being unable to get tickets as some of the major cinemas in Sharjah were fully booked for the next couple of days due to Salman Khan’s latest epic movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor and others.
Major malls in all emirates, which were hosting varieties of entertainment activities to enthral their visitors, also received a huge number of visitors. These were mostly families seeking to spend their leisure time by enjoying the array of activities which ranged from clown performances to traditional food tasting and enjoying music.
Talking to The Gulf Today via phone from Ras Al Khaimah, a group of Pakistanis spending their holiday at one of the picnic spots in the emirate said, “The humid weather has forced us to run away from the city life and explore some new spots outside Dubai. A group of close friends, loaded with biryani, soft drinks and other snacks are now enjoying the cool stream and greenery at Wadi Bih after a long drive.” “It was really fun as there are many groups scattered in the area setting up their barbecue grills to spend their evenings,” said Abid Faizi.
Besides farflung picnic spots in Northern Emirates, there were parks in Sharjah, Ajman and Dubai that registered a huge footfall of families. Numerous parks like Al Majaz Park, Safa Park and Creek Park have exclusive areas to cater for the needs of barbecue lovers as the municipality arranged special spots for outdoor cooking.
As part of the indoor entertainment activities, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) received the public throughout Eid with a number of activities in a number of shopping centres and malls across the UAE.
Children and their families enjoyed Eidi (money given to children on Eid) and the hospitality. Furthermore, folk art troupes amused all visitors and families with their shows, and performed a number of songs and heritage arts in 16 shopping malls across the UAE.
The HHC’s activities will continue throughout Eid Al Fitr from 5pm to 9pm at the following locations: Mirdif City Centre, Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Dubai Festival City Mall, Majlis Al Fahidi, Majlis Jumeirah, Majlis Al Rashidiya and “Family Forum Center “. In Abu Dhabi, the Eid events are held at Yas Mall: in Sharjah, the events are held at Gharayen Stores: in Fujairah, they are held at City Centre Fujairah: in Ras Al Khaimah, they are held at Al Manar Mall: in Umm Al Quwain, they are held at Manama Supermarket: in Al Ain they are held at Bawadi Mall while in Ajman, they are held at Ajman City Centre.
SHARJAH: The second day of Eid Al Fitr was celebrated with grandeur and excitement throughout the country, as people from all walks of life opted for outdoor recreational sites to spend quality time with families and friends.
Eid is about meeting, greeting over lavish meals: Pakistani community
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, July 19, 2015
DUBAI: The Pakistani community residing in the UAE has been celebrating the Eid Al Fitr along with their Muslim brethren in the Middle East with religious enthusiasm. Muslims in the Middle East celebrated the first day of Eid on July 17 while in many South Asian countries and other parts of the world, the Eid festive started yesterday.
Talking to The Gulf Today, a number of Pakistani community members shared their activities which ranged from religious congregations to fun with family and friends, as part of the celebrations that are a reward from the Almighty Allah after the month-long fasting.
Aziz Khan who is from Miranshah, North Waziristan, has been living in the UAE for over 7 years. Besides meeting friends and people from the same village residing in the UAE, Khan had special arrangements to invite some of his friends for dinner.
“Usually people from the same villages and towns, residing in the UAE, meet at their community’s ‘Deiras’ (male meeting rooms) just like me and people from my village have been gathering at one such place in Hor Al Anz in Dubai ahead of Eid prayers. It is a great event for every Muslim and just like individuals, families have their own way of celebration,” he said.
He pointed that after offering their Eid prayer along with other community members they returned to their ‘Deiras’ where a lavish feast was ready to kickstart the celebrations. “To support and show our affection towards the host, most of the male members contribute for the food. Everybody has to pay between Dhs60 to Dhs100 and the food bought is enough take us through the whole day and to be served to over 200 people,” he said.
Communities from different parts of Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, living in the UAE, have the same practice. These ‘Deiras’ are the common meeting places for particular families. “At every such single place, the host has to attend over 250 people and the community has a place where to meet all the friends, relatives and colleagues. Everyone knows where to go in when they want to meet someone,” Khan added.
Syed Tabish Zaidi and Fareha Tabish, residents of Dubai for a long time, are some of those who have a vast social circuit of family members, friends and colleagues to enjoy the Eid in a memorable fashion.
“Eid Al Fitr in Dubai has its own flavour of enjoyment with a large number of friends, colleagues and relatives. Just like us, most of the community members offered the Eid prayers at Pakistan Academy Mosque in Oud Metha which is one of the best places in Dubai for one who wants to meet a large number of other community members,” Tabish said.
The couple pointed that after the Eid prayers, most of their relatives such as their cousins and their families gather at one place where the ladies engage in preparing fresh mouth-watering dishes and serving the guests. Children on the other hand, take it as an opportunity to fill their pockets with Eidi (gift money) from elders. “Eid is to meet and greet relatives over food and have fun. The other most important part of the day is to chat online with parents and siblings in Pakistan, as everyone is eager to showcase their new clothes while ladies prefer to share their new henna designs over the internet,” the couple said.
Zahaib Nabeel, who has been living in Dubai for over five years, spent Eid in a different way. “Like everyone else, we had Eid prayers in a grand congregational site where we not only met community members to share the Eid greetings but also had the chance to see old friends and colleagues. Eid is all about sharing the blessings with others while fulfilling the promises to visit the relatives’ houses and enjoy their company while sharing latest news on sports and politics,” he said.
Nabeel pointed out that the tradition to start the Eid day with homemade delicious Sheerkhorma (sweet vermicelli) is always observed. He says the sweet dish is always the starter of the Eid festival.
Charity puts a smile on labourers’ faces with Eid gift packs, shirts
SHARJAH: Eid Al Fitr is one of the most important events in the Muslim calendar and everyone has his way of celebrating it. Some have to meet old friends and gather relatives to make the day a family reunion and enjoy food. On the other hand, children rush to compete with each other and collect the maximum Eidi (gift money).
But there are people with warm hearts who move out to show affection towards the less fortunate in order to bring smiles to their faces. This is done by sharing gifts as a surprise gesture on the auspicious day.
Maha Khan, a social worker, is one such example who has been engaged with a number of social and charities activities under her http://www.theholymonth.com platform for the last many years.
The team with the support of their families and friends visited a number of places in Sharjah and Ajman from labour camps to other places to distribute Eid gift packs among the labourers. “As part of our social commitment towards the less fortunate segment of the society like labourers and remembering the true spirit of Ramadan and Eid, we have decided to distribute 500 shirts as an Eid gift to labourers in different places. We visited camps and places like busy roads and public places that have many municipality workers,” said Khan, while talking to The Gulf Today on Friday.
The group under the banner of their social website platform started a month-long charity Iftar food pack initiative in Ramadan and a total of over 10,000 Iftar food packs were distributed in a number of labour camps throughout Sharjah and Ajman.
The team with the support of volunteers gathered at one place ahead of Eid and completed the task of packing 500 gift packs. Each pack comprised a shirt and sweets under bright shimmering wrappings.
“Blue collar workers like gardeners, cleaners and other municipality staff working throughout the nights to make the city clean and healthy are worth being part of Eid celebrations. Usually no one pays any heed to these workers. It is only some lucky fellow who gets charity money from a passerby but what we are doing is to hand over the Eid gift packs with a smile and a message of joy which surprises them most of the time,” she added.
The distribution of shirts as Eid gift packs was started on the eve of the Eid (July 16) when the member of the social initiative visited different areas in Sharjah and Ajman including labour camps in remote areas and handed over the shirts to share the joy of Eid Al Fitr.
The team leader said that the continued support of family members and friends in fuelling the charity projects will not only bring smiles on the faces of the diligent workers but also motivate the community in general to come forward and support this segment of the society.
‘Students for the Earth’ collect unused medicines for the needy
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, July 15, 2015
SHARJAH: A Sharjah-based community group, “Students for the Earth,” recently concluded an innovative campaign called “A Dose of Help” to collect unused medicines to support humanitarian and environmental efforts.
The campaign was launched at the beginning of Ramadan and concluded on July 5. It aimed at collecting unused medicines to help the needy as well as protect the environment.
The drive “A Dose of help” was conceptualised and organised by group President Arushi Madan and its team leader, Khyati Saxena.
“We have seen different environmental, social and voluntary events throughout the year. In the Holy Month of Ramadan, we thought of doing something really different which would help protect the environment as well as help the needy. We wanted to conjoin environmental and humanitarian causes in one drive,” said Arushi Madan.
She said that they decided to think of how they can be different, working with something other than the commonly known plastics, papers, cans etc, asking what else is there which people treat as waste but can be helpful to others?
“After some brainstorming, we decided to do a drive to collect unused/goods and sealed medicines with an expiry date of 1 year or longer. When a medicine is not used, either because the doctor changed the prescription or told the patient to stop the medication, there is no reason for people to keep them in their homes. This way, a lot of people have good medicine at home that can be used,” she added.
Besides the setting up of two collection points for the unused medicine, the team also started visiting nearby pharmacies and clinics to see a positive response from the doctors and other community members.
“We are pleased to collect more than 1,000 units of medicines with more than 120 different types of medicines including nasal drops, paracetamol, thyroxine, insulin, ointments, cough syrups etc.” she pointed out.
The volunteers spent in total about 70-80 voluntary hours to sort out all the medicines from the initial conceptualising for the event, launching, promoting it to visiting pharmacies /clinics, receiving donations, clicking pictures, posting, sorting, packing and finally, planning the hand-out event.
One day before Zayed Humanitarian Day, the group assembled at Khalid Tower Park, Jamal Abdul Nasser Street, Sharjah where the medicines were handed over to the UAE Red Crescent Society.
Traditional, modern fashion products attract Eid shoppers
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, July 14, 2015
DUBAI: Ahead of Eid Al Fitr, which will fall on Friday, shopping to fulfil the needs of the most important day of the Muslim calendar has geared up as shops, malls and other places dealing in new garment varieties and other accessories witnessed a huge turn-up of people from all walks of life.
Visitors from different Asian communities at the three-day Ramadan Fiesta 2015, which is being held at the Crowne Plaza hotel, in Dubai, expressed great relief at the ability to enjoy the latest fashion trends under one roof.
The three-day festival included a lifestyle exhibition bringing in over a dozen prominent fashion brands from Pakistan. Fashion savvy clients saw a range of artificial jewellery, designer and footwear brands.
The Ramadan Fiesta was inaugurated by Sher Afgan Khan, Director General, Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), while those present included Habib Ahmad, Commercial Attaché at the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Salman Jokhio, PR Officer, TDAP, and others.
The event was organised under the patronage of TDAP to promote the Pakistani textile and garment industry in Dubai. It provides its overseas members an opportunity to celebrate Eid with traditional garments.
Nema Shaikh, a fashion designer from Karachi, brought a wide range of handmade exclusively handmade designed clothes, traditional women’s footwear like Khusa, Peshawri sandals and other such shoe ranges.
“During the festival I saw many people taking interest in my products. Every single product is exclusive and has a unique design to serve the needs of formal as well as casual wear. I have been selling women’s garments with the work of Qalamkari, Phulkari and Kandha through online platforms. I also use social media to take orders and deliver at the clients’ doorsteps,” she told The Gulf Today.
Mrs Jamal from Lahore offered a wide range of traditional style hand painted and hand designed jewellery from earrings, necklaces, Mathapati, Anglaz, rings and other items to fulfil women’s fashion needs through her brand For Eve.
She said, “The response was good as many visitors from different communities seem surprised to find traditional handmade jewellery to be selling at an affordable price range.”
She has also been selling her products online and participating in different exhibitions to promote her brand in Pakistan. The Ramadan Fiesta was her first time in Dubai.
Besides various garment brands selling their latest creations in women and men clothes, a huge stall set up by Sungi Development Foundation, an NGO from Pakistan, was promoting and reviving traditional handicrafts from different parts of the country.
Through its first ever presence in Dubai, the Sungi Foundation showcased a wide range of products from apparel to gift items and home accessories made by housewives.
The NGO was set up in 1989 and is working with marginalised communities in different parts of the country like Haripur, Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, different parts of Sindh and other provinces to revive the dying traditional handicrafts under its Enterprise Development Programme to support traditional handicrafts and empower women.
“Currently, we have over 2,000 active members, mostly women, who are trained and provided necessary support to revive and preserve their traditional handicrafts like embroidery, stitching and designing known as phulkari in Haripur, Rilli in various parts of Sindh and others. Through this project, these women have been working to manufacture products such as clothes, shawls, scarves and gift items like handbags, clutches, cases to protect mobile phones and other handy gadgets,” said Kulsoom Akhtar, programme coordinator, enterprise development programme, while talking to The Gulf Today during the festival.
Differently-abled team gives back to society in festive style
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, July 13, 2015
DUBAI: In the spirit of giving back to society, many small and prominent companies in the country are showcasing a wide range of activities involving their staff to support deserving people in the communities.
Like last year, the Desert Group initiated its month-long activities as part of the “Ramadan Festival with Enable” to support 160 families with food boxes, and conducting visits to various families in the community.
The firm’s Enable project, known for its wide range of gardening related products and solutions, is a CSR initiative which comprises more than two dozen people with special needs serving in different departments. This ranges from in-house activities to gardening and taking part in a wide range of workshops and training.
Reem Saeed Al Ghaith, CSR Manager of Desert Group, shared the details of “Ramadan Festival with Enable” with The Gulf Today on Saturday.
“The staff, as part of the Enable programme along with other members, takes part in various activities, from distributing food boxes to attending religious lectures. Last year, we gave Iftar boxes to 100 families, and the target this year is 160 families,” she said.
The team from Enable has been taking part in weekly seminars and paying four weekly community visits to different places, including the elderly home, the children’s ward at Latifa Hospital, and Wahat Al Rushd Centre in Sharjah.
She pointed out that initially, they started the activities as part of the rehabilitation programme to create an opportunity for the team to experience the blessing of giving and helping as the Holy Month of Ramadan is the best time to practise that.
“Last year, the team did that for the very first time, and this had a huge impact on them intellectually and emotionally. We are continuing this exercise with the support of the management of Desert Group,” she added.
The “Family Iftar Box” consists of 2kg rice, 2kg flour, 2 family-size lentil bags, 1 family-size oil can, 2kg sugar and 4 cans of beans, distributed per household.
The boxes have been distributed among families in different areas including Al Najma, Satwa and Al Qusais in Dubai.
However, regarding the seminars, Reem Al Ghaith pointed out that “the weekly seminars are also important, as part of our rehabilitation programme to strengthen positive behaviour at work and at home or with the community in general. Each Wednesday, in collaboration with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, a scholar conducts a seminar about a certain topic like honesty, prayer, fasting, etc. The team is also encouraged to ask questions,” she said.
It was also mentioned that the seminars were attended by staff members, while people who have been following the company on Instagram had also been invited.
The Enable team has close ties with many entities as part of its rehabilitation programme.
“It is one of our ongoing strategies to engage with our community through social visits during certain occasions or participate in special events.
These social calls and events, like visiting families during Ramadan, are part of our awareness strategy to show how easy it is for them to be productive and engage with everyone,” she explained.
She pointed that the objective is to create awareness for the successful inclusion of people with different abilities in the workforce, raise their productivity, and highlight the importance of an inclusive culture.
Pakistanis share views on last 10 days of Ramadan
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, July 10, 2015
SHARJAH: Muslims in the UAE along with their fellow faithful in the Gulf region are all set to engage themselves more than ever in the last third of the ongoing Holy Month of Ramadan.
The last 10 days of the holy month are most blessed days in the life of every Muslim. Expatriates from Pakistan residing in the UAE shared their valued thoughts on more prayers, charity and seeking more blessings and forgiveness from Almighty Allah.
In a recent talk with a group of community members in Sharjah, they highlighted the extraordinary importance of the last 10 days of the holy month.
Muhammad Ghous Qadri, owner and operator of a food and beverage outlet in Sharjah, defines the last 10 days as a “core part” of the holy month. “We as Muslims should try to engage ourselves in worship throughout the days and nights to seek the unlimited blessings of Almighty God and seek immunity from the hellfire.
“We should perform more salat (reciting prayers), recite Holy Quran and engage in other such worships. Our days and nights should be full of Zikr (remembering Allah) while spending as much as we can like paying Zakat Al Fitr ahead of Eid to people in needs so they can be part of the celebrations. We should seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah for our previous sins and promise not to repeat mistakes in the future,” he said.
He emphasised spending on orphans as they should not be left alone on the great occasion of happiness like Eid Al Fitr.
Muhammad Asif, a young Pakistani working in Sharjah as a restaurant manager, shared his views on the last third of Ramadan and said overall the whole month of Ramadan is full of blessings and we as Muslims should practise our religion fully.
“Each and every single Muslim in the world should spend more time in worship and supplications and seek forgiveness and evolve his or her life. They should never skip the five-times-a-day prayers.”
He added, “In Ramadan when we perform every religious obligation it helps us to continue this routine beyond the holy month. We should supplicate and ask forgiveness for our relatives those who are no more in this world, their souls are in need of our prayers. We should perform more charity works in the names of those who are no more alive,” he said.
Asif was of the view that we should ask Almighty Allah to guide us on the right path and be good Muslims not for ourselves but for those who are around us.
Karim Nawaz Khan pointed that generally as Muslims we have to fulfil our daily prayers by offering five-times Salat, reciting the Holy Quran among others but as part of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the quantity of our religious rituals should be increased.”
As part of the Ramadan worships, Almighty Allah has increased the reward of each single deed to manifold and to get maximum benefits we should use all our spare time in mosques to offer prayers, recite the Holy Quran and other worships.
Now with the start of the last Ashra (10 days), whoever has time should be part of Itekaf (spiritual retreat) and detach into mosques but those who are unable should try to spend every second of their spare time in worshiping,” he said.
Muhammad Waseem, a resident of the UAE for over one year, said, “Islam as a religion is a whole package of life and Muslims who are practising the teachings of Islam live a great life. There are also those who are trying their best to follow especially in the Holy Month of Ramadan when the atmosphere is all religious. I think we should spend our maximum time in mosques in prayers as each single deed has great value and his reward will benefit not only in this life but also in the hereafter,” he said.
Responding to a question, he pointed that everyone should try their best to spend maximum in charity in Ramadan. But as a good practical Muslim we should also allocate a portion from our monthly income for the benefit of people in need throughout the year.
Qamar Gulzar Attari said, “The last 10 days are very significant as they mark the time when the Holy Quran was revealed. Nobody knows either if he will be alive till next Ramadan or not so without wasting any further time the scale of our Ibadats (worships) should be increased.”