For Nielouphar Abdurahiman, a mama of three and the founder of Pretty Paper Studio, an art and crafts supply store based in Dubai, the Holy Month of Ramadan is all about slowing down – something we should all try to do more often.
I love the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadan and how it nudges us to be our better selves. Ramadan brings back a lot of fond memories from my childhood back in India and I try to instil the same traditions in my children here in Dubai. What I miss the most about Ramadan is the way all the ladies in my family used to come together in the kitchen to prepare Iftar. Of course, Ramadan isn’t about just food but one cannot deny the important role it played in bringing family members together.
- The patient wait for Maghrib call of prayers, the walk from our home to Masjid to say the Taraveeh prayers, meeting our friends for a quick chat, and the way the community comes alive during this month are some of my favourite things about Ramadan.
- Islam constantly reminds us to connect with our Maker and live our lives as per its teachings on a daily basis. During Ramadan, however, this connection with our God takes a whole new meaning, as we believe all the doors to paradise are open and the gates of hell are closed during the blessed month. This means our work and whatever else normally keeps us occupied takes a back seat and we spend extra time in worship. We are more aware of our surroundings and how we treat our fellow beings. Ramadan, in a nutshell, is the time for increased spiritual discipline.
- Thanks to the shorter working hours in the UAE, non-Muslim expats are also able to enjoy more time with their family and friends. I have noticed several of my non-Muslim friends use the extra time to unwind or get back to a hobby or fitness regime.
My children are learning more about Ramadan as they get older and they are really excited to welcome Ramadan once again this year, in sha Allah. We have plans to do some Ramadan related crafts and distribute food among friends and family. I am also looking forward to taking them back to Ramadan Sharing Fridges like we did last year so that they are reminded of the importance of sharing what we have with the less fortunate, Insha Allah.
I personally am looking forward to spending more time doing ibadah, cook good food for my family and spend more quality time with them, Insha Allah.
Nielouphar is the founder of Pretty Paper Studio, an art and crafts supply store based in Dubai