Ramadan is the month of goodness and generosity, the month of repentance and forgiveness. During this holy month, the gates of heaven are wide open, and the gates of hell are closed. It is the month of fasting, God’s most cherished act of worship, as it enhances self-control and authentic human nature. Ramadan strengthens our appreciation of God’s blessings that we often take for granted and fail to thank God for them, such as food, water, other basics, and luxuries.
This holy month passes as if it were a few days for the believers. However, it teaches us the most important and valuable lessons: patience, discipline and self-control. Fasting, as Prophet Muhammad said, is half of patience, and patience is half of faith. Fasting helps us control our desires and impulses, and focus on ourselves, our innermost thoughts, and our goals in life. It develops our feelings of compassion and empathy for others, and reminds us of those who are less fortunate and who suffer from constant hunger and thirst that is not satiated even after the iftar.
Therefore, benevolence and social solidarity are some of the most prominent features of this holy month. Charitable initiatives gain momentum in UAE during Ramadan. And money is never lost on charity, as God rewards us immensely for every penny we spend on good deeds — this is something I witnessed firsthand and deeply feel its impact on all aspects of my life. Benevolence is not only beneficial to those who are in need but also to the donors who feel tranquillity, satisfaction and peace of mind.
Each year, we look forward to Ramadan, which I see as a golden opportunity to avoid distractions and focus on increasing productivity, recognizing the value of time, enhancing energy and innovation, and working to develop the best version of ourselves.
I really do not fathom how some people use Ramadan as an excuse for laziness, lethargy and delay. They speak less under the pretext of fasting, and the productivity of individuals and companies is reduced by half or even more. It is true that we work fewer hours during Ramadan; however, working hours are more focused, away from distractions and long breaks. The wisdom of fasting is clearing the mind, concentrating the energy, and showing dedication in mundane and spiritual endeavours.
Furthermore, Ramadan has a favorable impact on social relations, especially in the Arab Gulf countries. It is an occasion to boost rapprochement and social solidarity, even among the members of the same family who meet daily over iftar and suhoor. Families, relatives, and neighbors tend to exchange more visits in comparison with other months when social visits decrease due to daily occupations. The holy month is characterized by solidarity and sharing, even in acts of worship, such as the taraweeh prayers every night.
In addition to our beautiful Ramadan customs and traditions, we are keen in the UAE to celebrate the authentic traditions as much as possible and to pass them on to future generations, such as the Ramadan majlis full of the aroma of coffee and dates. These valuable traditions contribute to strengthening social relations, sharing happy and sad moments, and enhancing a sense of belonging, identity, and cultural heritage. Not to mention the delicious Ramadan banquets, which feature traditional Emirati dishes at iftar and suhoor, such as thareed and harees, as well as sweets, namely luqaimat, sago, and farni. These flavours are engraved in our memory; they are simple but invaluable.
At the economic level, Ramadan’s positive impact is obvious, especially through social gatherings and events, whether at home or in public places. These gatherings have a stimulating impact on the economy, due to increased occupancy at restaurants and hospitality facilities, especially those that have a smart approach and provide special services for iftar and suhoor. In addition, there is a significant increase in the consumption of commodities, foods, and beverages during Ramadan.
In conclusion, Ramadan is a month of goodness, productivity and generosity. It reminds us of God’s blessings and teaches us to appreciate these blessings and thank God for them. It also strengthens our relationships with our loved ones and our community, and encourages us to engage in charitable activities and develop the best possible version of ourselves. The purpose of Ramadan is not just to perform more acts of worship and good habits, but to ensure the quality and continuity of these acts and habits and to continue working on improving ourselves and getting closer to God by persevering in good deeds.
With the end of the holy month, I pray to God Almighty to accept our good deeds and acts of worship. May it bring prosperity and blessings to the whole world, and may we become fully imbued with the values of Ramadan, guiding our life throughout the year.
• Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is renowned for his views on international political affairs, his philanthropic activity, and his efforts to promote peace. He has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad.