Art of Living

Overview
Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The Art of Living is a not-for-profit, educational, and humanitarian NGO engaged in stress-management and service initiatives. The organization operates globally in 151 countries.
The organization’s activities are guided by Sri Sri’s philosophy of peace: “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world Peace”>peace.” To help individuals get rid of stress and experience inner peace, The Art of Living offers stress-elimination programs which include breathing techniques, meditation and yoga. These programs have helped millions around the world to overcome stress, depression, and violent tendencies.
The Art of Living has spread peace across communities through diverse humanitarian projects, including conflict resolution, disaster relief, sustainable rural development, empowerment of women, prisoner rehabilitation, education for all, and environmental sustainability.
Sister Organizations
Sister organizations of The Art of Living are dedicated to realize the vision of a stress-free, violence-free world. The International Association for Human Values (IAHV), Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth (VVMVP), Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir (SSRVM) and Vyakti Vikas Kendra India (VVKI), among others, formulate and implement humanitarian projects of The Art of Living.

Organizational Structure
The Art of Living is a multi-faceted organization with one of the largest volunteer bases in the world. The international headquarters of The Art of Living is located in Bangalore, India. Globally, the organization operates as The Art of Living Foundation formed in 1989 in the United States of America and in Germany. Since then, local centers of The Art of Living have been established across the world. In The Art of Living organizational structure, there is a board of trustees with a term of two years. Two thirds of the trustees change every two years. All the Art of Living teachers and the previous trustees are allowed to nominate a new board. There is a provision for an advisory board that monitors, and guides the organization. All the accounts are regularly audited by an external auditor. Other than expenses, no trustee is entitled to benefits in terms of salary, etc. The Art of Living’s programs fund it’s humanitarian activities. The proceeds from the sales of The Art of Living Publications and Ayurveda products are also directed to our social initiatives.

Memberships
CONGO (Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the United Nations), Geneva and New York

Contact Us

Center Information for: Dubai
Phone:+97155-2803815, +97150-7755680
Email: aoldubai@eim.ae/ info@artoflivingme.org

Center Information for: Abu Dhabi

Contact : Anirudh
Address: Mez 3, Power Grocery Building Defence Road, Near Dar Al Shifa Hospital, Abu Dhabi
Phone: +9712 6789123 , 0097126789234
Email:aolauh@eim.ae

ُSrc: www.artofliving.org/ae-en.

The American Women’s Association

n 1991, a small group of American women living in Dubai began meeting for coffee mornings at the Consul General’s home. Since then, the American Women’s Association of Dubai and the Northern Emirates (AWA) has grown into a vibrant organization that connects more than 330 women with a supportive network of fellow expatriates, cultural integration, charitable works and of course, plenty of fun activities!
Explore our site to find out more about what we do, who we are and how to get involved. We hope to meet you soon!

What We Do
The American Women’s Association of Dubai (AWA) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide support for women who are citizens or legal residents of the United States or who are spouses of U. S. citizens by sponsoring informational programs, arranging social functions, providing common interest groups, and promoting charitable activities for our members. To these ends, we offer a selection of activities and opportunities to get involved:

Monthly Meetings
Our monthly meeting is usually held the first Tuesday of every month. They are held at various hotels in Dubai and usually include a social hour with time for our breakfast buffet and a different program each month. Some of our past programs included cultural programs, speakers on women’s health issues, presentations on shopping and antiques, and many other wonderful topics. We have also enjoyed fashion shows, Marketplace, and Travel Fair.

Meet  Greet
A newcomer’s coffee is held on the third Tuesday of every month. This offers newcomers to Dubai the opportunity to meet our members and each other for a morning of socializing and information.

Annual AWA Philanthrory Ball
This black tie gala event is the highlight of the year. The funds raised by this ball fund the community services AWA provides to local charities and scholarship programs. This wonderful event brings together our members, the local community, corporate sponsors and guests.

Monthly Activities and Special Interest Groups
Each year old and new groups get together to pursue activities and interests they have in common. Currently we offer Moms and Kids Day Out, Book Club, Writers Club, golf, Mah Jong, cooking groups, and stitch group, to name just a few. These activities meet throughout the month..

Traditional Arabian Houses

Another amazing experience a UAE visitor will enjoy is the traditional architectural Arabian buildings with its distinctive decorative features and simple yet artistic forms.

The Bastakia district for example, on the waterfront east of the Dubai Souk and Diwan, features a number of traditional wind-tower houses – precursors to air conditioning. From a distance, the towers appear to be beautiful lanterns with warm eastern sense which always connected me to the past while heading to the future through the impressive new modern architectures.

To restore and keep such beautiful traditional buildings, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage has started restoration of historic buildings in Al Ain with a view to preserve the past and the cultural heritage. The Jahili fort presents a wealthy traditional form of buildings which is considered as one of the most famous historical forts in the UAE, is located just outside the south-western corner of the garden that is near the Clock Tower Junction in the heart of Al Ain city. The Fort was built by essential traditional materials of mud-brick, stones, and palm-trees, was built for defense purposes and to guard precious palm groves. It was also used as a residence for the local governor.

Source: ask-ali.com.

Names

The majority of Emiratys have family names within one of a small set: Al (about 90% of all UAE), Bin (or about 5%). A UAE name consists of a family name, in almost every case one syllable, plus a given name usually of two syllables. The family name comes first. A UAE woman does not take her husband’s family name, but their children take their father’s family name.

More about Arabic/Muslim Names:

Arabic or Muslim names are names used in the Arabic speaking and muslim worlds. Not to forget that there are some muslim names which are not Arabic, for example Shahram which is an Iranian name or Okan which is Turkish name.

In our Middle Eastern world and culture our Arabic name can be quit long. It can consisit of a given which we relate to as (Ism), a nickname (Laqab) and patronyms which is (nasab) and/or a family name (nisba). Sometimes these name are preceded by what we call (Kunya), which refers to the persons first born son.

For example, people will be calling my father (Abu Ali) which means (Father of Ali) and Abu Ali is the (Kunya) of my father.

The majority of Arabic given names are derived from vocabulary words, equivalent to an English vocabulary name such as Faith or Willow. The ninety-nine attributes of Allah, as listed in the Qur’an, are frequently used as names, for example Rashid and Aziz. Sometimes the attributes are prefixed with Abd al meaning “servant of the …” (such as Abd-al-Aziz and Abd-al-Karim).

The historical figures from Islam are also a major influence on naming practices. The multiple forms of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are extremely popular, as are the names of his family and descendents, such as Abdulla, Ali, Bakr and Fatima. Military leaders are often honoured as well; for example Tariq and Amir. The names of prophets and other figures from the Qur’an are also used – Ibrahim and Mariam are two examples that have English biblical equivalents (Abraham and Mary).

Source: ask-ali.com.

Marriage

Emiratys believes that marriage is one important essence in life and a divorce is regarded as a disgrace not only for the couple but also for their families ― even though the divorce rate is growing rapidly these days. Marriage ceremonies preparation all depends on the family tribe system and traditions. Today’s typical wedding ceremony is somewhat different from what it was but at most part the Emiratys still care to maintain their cultural wedding ceremonies by having the men ceremony to be held in an outside indoor tint and women celebrate separately in either a hotel hall room or also in a indoor tint.

Source: ask-ali.com.

Friday Prayer

Jumu’ah ((also known as Friday prayer) is a congregational prayer (salat) that Muslims hold every Friday, just after noon. It replaces the dhuhur prayer performed on other days of the week.

Its important to understand that Friday in general is an important Family day for all Muslims around the world, especially in our Middle Eastern countries where we prefer to focus more on spending this day with our families and not to forget its our first day of the weekend so easy on the phones and work related subjects…

Source: ask-ali.com.

Family Life

Though my country is rapidly growing and very much adopting the global style of living, Emarati family is still very much connected and keeping the extended style of families form. In Addition to the basic family members (dad, mom, sons and daughters), grandparents, brother and sister in laws, Uncles and aunties will also be part of the one big home concept and its daily activities.

Happiness, sadness, worries, dreams are everybody concern and responsibility, you will never feel alone and helpless as you will always get support accompanied with unconditional love once you are part of the family. You are always considered as the family child no matter how mature you get to be, your mom will always spoil you with her sweet dishes flavored with her warm kisses and hugs and your dad will not ever hesitate to give you extra money even if you became completely financially independent.

In Emarati family, it is always mothers Day! Always Fathers day! Actually, its always the Family Day where all gather to share a big meal of rice with (meat, chicken or fish) options. Tickles, laughter and arguments which seems more into fights for a stranger view, is the surrounded atmosphere of the house when everyone is there.

Source: ask-ali.com.

Body Language

Passion, emotional, and very visual, these are three characteristic of any Middle Eastern person who is either born or raised in this region, that makes us very talkative plus speak with passion which forces us to use our hands and body to explain, describe and tell something to others. So whenever you see two people speaking loudly or pointing at each other, relax and remember they are probably just chit chatting and having a good time.

Source: ask-ali.com.

Arabian Food

One of the most pleasurable aspects of exploring our Middle Eastern culture is its cuisine. Dishes are rich of variety of flavors due to the use of herbs, spices and olive oil ingredients. Appetizers of different pickles types with special tiny dishes of smashed homos and sesame oil, rolled grape leaves stuffed with delicious rice and vegetables mix are just few options to drive your food lust to its high limits!

Main dishes are the real wonders where you will get seduced by the hot tempting food steam scented with cinnamon, ginger and different variety of spices and wild herbs. Red or white meat is an essential part of the dish recipe whether toasted in the oven after its fully dipped with lemon and garlic mix or steamed with light creamy milk and herbs.

Source: ask-ali.com.

UAE Custom

Should you cover when you arrive to UAE?

Visitors to Abu Dhabi can wear the same clothes that they do anywhere else in the world although ladies should dress a little more conservatively out of respect eg sleeves and not short skirts or midriffs showing.

Local Emirati women from their own choice wear the black Abayah, a long loose black robe that covers their clothing plus a head scarf called the sheyla. The abayah is very sheer flowing fabric and is often far from plain with intricate embroidery and beadwork along the wrists and hemline. The ladies often have beautifully hennad hands and feet.

Local men proudly wear a Kandoorah, a loose white robe to the ankle and on the head is worn a Gahfeyah, which is a small white cap that keeps the ghutra from slipping off the head. The Ghutra is a square scarf made of cotton, folded into a triangular shape with the fold in the front over the Gahfeyah. Finally the Ogal, a doubled black cord is used to secure the Ghutra in place. The different colours that the men wear are usually a fashion choice.

Source: ask-ali.com.

Religion

Who is a Muslim?

A person who believes in and consciously follows Islam is called a Muslim, also from the same root word. So, the religion is called “Islam,” and a person who believes in and follows it is a “Muslim.”

What is the difference between Muslim, Moslem and Islamic?
Definition: A person who peacefully submits his or her self to God; a follower of the faith of Islam.
Pronunciation: moos-lim (with a strong ‘s’ sound as in ‘snake’)
Alternate Spellings: Moslem — but “Muslim” is preferred and renders a pronunciation more faithful to the Arabic word.
Common Misspellings: “Muslim” is used when referring to people; “Islamic” refers to countries, laws, etc.
Examples: My neighbor is a Muslim.

How Many and Where?
Islam is a major world religion, with over 1 billion followers worldwide (1/5 of the world population). It is considered one of the Abrahamic, monotheistic faiths, along with Judaism and Christianity. Although usually associated with the Arabs of the Middle East, less than 10% of Muslims are in fact Arab. Muslims are found all over the world, of every nation, color and race.

Who is Allah?
Allah is the proper name for Almighty God, and is often translated merely as “God.” Allah has other names that are used to describe His characteristics: the Creator, the Sustainer, the Merciful, the Compassionate, etc.

Muslims believe that since Allah alone is the Creator, it is He alone that deserves our devout love and worship. Islam holds to a strict monotheism. Any worship and prayers directed at saints, prophets, other human beings or nature is considered idolatry. More..

Who is ‘Allah’ and what is His nature?
The most fundamental belief that a Muslim has is that “There is only One God” the Creator, the Sustainer — known in the Arabic language and by Muslims as Allah. Allah is not a foreign god, nor an idol. Arabic-speaking Christians use the same word for the Almighty.

The fundamental pillar of faith in Islam is to testify that “there is no deity worthy of worship except the One True Almighty God” (in Arabic: “La ilaha ill Allah”).

In the Qur’an, we read that Allah is Compassionate and Merciful. He is Kind, Loving, and Wise. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Healer. He is the One who Guides, the One who Protects, the One who Forgives. There are traditionally ninety-nine names, or attributes, that Muslims use to describe Allah’s nature.

Some non-Muslims mistakenly believe that Allah is an “Arab god,” a “moon god,” or some sort of idol. Allah is the proper name of the One True God, in the Arabic language used by Muslims all over the world. Allah is a name that is neither feminine nor masculine, and it cannot be made plural (unlike god, gods, goddess, etc). Muslims believe that there is nothing in the heavens nor on earth that deserves worship except Allah, the One True Creator.

Islam is based on the concept of Tawhid, or Unity of God. Muslims are strictly monotheistic, and fiercely reject any attempt to make God visible or human. Islam rejects any form of idol worship, even if it is an attempt to get “closer” to God, and rejects the Trinity or any attempt to make God human.
“Say, ‘He is Allah, the One;
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
He begets not, and neither is He begotten;
And there is nothing that can be compared to Him.”
Qur’an 112:1-4

In Muslim understanding, God is beyond our sight and understanding, yet at the same time “nearer to us than our jugular vein” (Qur’an 50:16). Muslims pray directly to God, with no intermediary, and seek guidance from Him alone, because “…Allah knows well the secrets of your hearts” (Qur’an 5:7).
“When My servants ask thee concerning Me,
I am indeed close (to them).
I respond to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me.
Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me,
that they may walk in the right way.”
Qur’an 2:186

In the Qur’an, people are asked to look around them for the signs of Allah in the natural world. The balance of the world, the rhythms of life, are “signs for those who would believe.” The universe is in perfect order: the orbits of the planets, the cycles of life and death, the seasons of the year, the mountains and the rivers, the mysteries of the human body. This order and balance are not haphazard nor random. The world, and everything in it, has been created with a perfect plan, by the One who knows all.
Islam is a natural faith, a religion of responsibility, purpose, balance, discipline, and simplicity. To be a Muslim is to live your life remembering God and striving to follow His merciful guidance.

What do Muslims believe about God, prophets, the afterlife, etc.?
The basic beliefs of Muslims fall into six main categories, which are known as the “Articles of Faith”:

1. Faith in the unity of God
2. Faith in angels
3. Faith in prophets
4. Faith in books of revelation
5. Faith in an afterlife
6. Faith in destiny/divine decree

The “five pillars” of Islam:
In Islam, faith and good works go hand-in-hand. A mere verbal declaration of faith is not enough, for belief in Allah makes obedience to Him a duty.

The Muslim concept of worship is very broad. Muslims consider everything they do in life to be an act of worship, if it is done according to Allah’s guidance. There are also five formal acts of worship which help strengthen a Muslim’s faith and obedience. They are often called the “Five Pillars of Islam.”

Ramadan
((Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast.
A. During the blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking.

Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits — essentially to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings. The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm)literally means “to refrain” – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.

During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained.

The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast. Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God.))

What is Islam?
The name of the religion is Islam, which comes from an Arabic root word meaning “peace” and “submission.” Islam teaches that one can only find peace in one’s life by submitting to Almighty God (Allah) in heart, soul and deed. The same Arabic root word gives us “Salaam alaykum,” (“Peace be with you”), the universal Muslim greeting.

To know more about Islam, Zayed House for Islamic Culture provides courses and help to enrich your knowledge about Islam or to help you as a convert.

Contact: Zayed House for Islamic Culture

Address: Shab Al Ashkhar Area, Mubazzara and Jebel Hafeet road Al Ain

P.O.Box: 16090

Phone: +971 3 782 9191

Fax: +971 3 781 0633

E-Mail: info@zhic.ae

Website: www.zhic.ae

Working Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 7:30 AM – 2:30 PM

1. Adhan (Noun)
Definition: The Islamic call to prayer .
Pronunciation: A thaan where “th” is as in the English word “The”
Alternate Spellings: azan, adan, Muslims went to the masjed for prayer.

2. A.H. (Islamic calendar)
Definition: “Anno Hegirae” or “After Hijrah.” Hijrah means “Emigration”. The Islamic calendar starts from the day Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, emigrated (made hijrah) from the city of Mecca to the city of Medina in 622 A.D.
Example: The year 2003 A.D. corresponds to the year 1423-1424 A.H.

3. Alhamdulillah (Phrase)
Definition: A phrase that Muslims often use in conversation, meaning “Praise be to Allah. Usually as an answer for the question Kef Al Hal? How are you?
Pronunciation: al-ham-doo-li-lah
Example: “I got an A on my exam, alhamdulillah!”
Alternate Spellings: al-hamdilillah, al-hamdulillah

4. Allah (Noun)
Definition: Literally “The God.” There is no plural, masculine or feminine form of this word in Arabic. It denotes the One True God, the Almighty Creator, Who is neither male nor female.
Pronunciation: Al-lah (proper noun)

5. “Assalamu alaikum” (Phrase)
Definition: A common greeting among Muslims meaning “Peace be with you.” Extended forms include “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” (May the peace and mercy of Allah be with you) and “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh” (May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you).
Pronunciation: as-salam-u-alay-koom
Alternate Spellings: salaam alaykum, assalaam alaykum, assalaam

6. Eid (Noun)
Definition: “Festival,” of the two Islamic holidays.
Pronunciation: eed
Also Known As: Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha
Example: During the last few days of Ramadan, children begin to anticipate the celebration of Eid.
Alternate Spellings: Id, ‘Id, ‘Eid

7. Eid al-Fitr (Noun)
Definition: “Festival of Fast-Breaking,” an Islamic holiday that falls at the end of Ramadan.
Pronunciation: eed-al- fitter
Example: On the morning of Eid al-Fitr, we go to the mosque to pray, give in charity, and celebrate the completion of the fast of Ramadan.
Alternate Spellings: Id al-Fitr, Eid ul-Fitr, ‘Id, ‘Eid

8. “Eid Mubarak!” (Phrase)
Definition: A phrase of greetings said among Muslims to congratulate each other on holidays. It literally means, “Blessed Festival!” The appropriate answer is, “Allah yubarak feek!” (May Allah bless it for you also!)
Pronunciation: eed moo-bar-ak
Example: A U.S. postage stamp commemorating the Muslim holidays reads “Eid Mubarak” in both English and Arabic script.
Alternate Spellings: Id Mubarak, ‘Eid Mubarak

9. Fajr (Noun)
Definition: One of the five daily Islamic prayers, performed before the break of dawn
Pronunciation: fah-jar
Also Known As: salaat-l-fajr
Example: During Ramadan, Muslims eat a pre-dawn meal before fajr.

10. Hilal (Noun)
Definition: The very slight crescent moon that is first visible after a new moon. Muslims look for the hilal when determining the beginning and end of Islamic months.
Pronunciation: hi-lal
Example: As Ramadan approaches, Muslims begin searching the night sky for the hilal which marks the beginning of the month.

11. Iftar (Noun)
Definition: A meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan, to break the day’s fast. Literally, “breakfast.”
Pronunciation: if-tar
Also Known As: fotoor
Examples: During Ramadan, we sometimes go to the mosque to have iftar, breaking the day’s fast with a community meal.

12. I’tikaf (Noun)
Definition: A spiritual retreat in the mosque, usually performed during the last ten days of Ramadan. A person “making i’tikaf” will spend the evening and night in the mosque, devoting his or her time to worship and to read the Qur’an.
Pronunciation: i’tikaf (stands for a guttural stop, an Arabic sound that does not exist in the English language)
Example: During the last ten days of Ramadan, many people perform i’tikaf, spending a whole night in worship in the mosque.

13. Leylat al-Qadr (Noun)
Definition: “The Night of Power” – a special night that falls during the last ten days of Ramadan. It commemorates the night when the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Muhammad, peace be upon him. Leylat al-Qadr is said to fall on one of the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days of the month (21st, 23rd, 25th, or 27th of Ramadan). The Qur’an describes it as a night that is more valuable than a thousand months. For this reason, many Muslims spend the entire last ten days in extra worship or retreat in the mosque.
Pronunciation: layla-tul-qader
Also Known As: The Night of Power
Examples: Leylat al-Qadr is a very special night of Ramadan, commemorating the first revelation of the Qur’an given to Muhammad.
Alternate Spellings: leylatulqadr, leyla-tul-qadr, layla al-qadr, others

14. Maghrib (Noun)
Definition: One of the five daily Islamic prayers, performed just after sunset.
Pronunciation: ma-gh-rib (the (gh) sound is a blend that does not exist in English)
Also Known As: salaat-l-maghrib
Examples: During Ramadan, Muslims break each day’s fast at maghrib.
Alternate Spellings: maghreb

15. Masjed (Noun)
Definition: Mosque; a Muslim house of worship. Literally means “place of prostration” (in prayer).
Pronunciation: mas-jid
Examples: During Ramadan, Muslims spend a lot of time at the masjed for special prayers and community events.
Alternate Spellings: masjid

16. Qur’an (Noun)
Definition: Islam’s holy book; Allah’s final revelation
Pronunciation: Qoor-aan
Example: Every day during prayer, Muslims recite passages from the Qur’an.
Alternate Spellings: quran, koran

17. Ramadan (Noun)
Definition: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims spend the daylight hours in a complete fast.
Pronunciation: ram-a-dan
Example: During Ramadan, Muslims fast and spend extra time in devotion and prayer.
Alternate Spellings: Ramadhan

18. Sadaqah (Noun)
Definition: Charitable giving, or the money given in charity.
Pronunciation: sa-da-ka
Example: During Ramadan, Muslims give a lot of sadaqah to help those in need.
Alternate Spellings: Sadaqa

19. Sadaqah al-Fitr (Phrase works as Noun)
Definition: An amount given in charity to the poor at the end of Ramadan, to ensure that everyone has enough to eat during Eid al-Fitr. This amount is traditionally paid in food goods (rice, barley, flour, dates, etc.), collected locally, and distributed before the morning prayer on the day of Eid.
Pronunciation: sa-da-katul-fitter.

20. Sawm (Noun)
Definition: Fasting. As practiced in Islam, this means a complete fast: no food or drink at all during the daylight hours. Married Muslims refrain from intimacy as well, and all those fasting are to steer away from anger, bad language, and bad deeds. The fasting person’s complete attention is to be on worship and devotion to God.
Pronunciation: sawm
Alternate Spellings: siyam

21. Taraweeh (Plural Noun)
Definition: Special evening prayers performed during Ramadan. During each night’s prayer, one juz (1/30) of the Qur’an will be recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur’an will be completely read.
Pronunciation: tara-weeh

22. Suhoor (Noun)
Definition: A small meal traditionally eaten before dawn during Ramadan; the final meal before the day’s fast begins. It is very important to help the Muslim tolerate fasting hunger.
Pronunciation: soo-hoor
Example: During Ramadan, He wakes up before dawn, has some eggs and toast for suhoor, and then prays salaat-l-fajr. Then he will fast for the whole day, until he has iftar just after sunset.

23. Zakat (Noun)
Definition: Alms giving; one of the five “pillars” of Islam. Muslims who have wealth remaining over the year must pay a certain percentage to aid those in need. While it can be paid anytime during the year, many people prefer to pay it during Ramadan.
Pronunciation: zack-ah
Alternate Spellings: Zakah

Source: ask-ali.com.

UAE History

Early History
This area was converted to Islam in the 7th century; for centuries it was embroiled in dynastic disputes. It became known as the Pirate Coast as raiders based there harassed foreign shipping, although both European and Arab navies patrolled the area from the 17th century into the 19th century. Early British expeditions to protect the India trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimah led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbors along the coast in 1819 . The next year, a general peace treaty was signed to which all the principal shaikhs of the coast adhered. Raids continued intermittently until 1835 , when the shaikhs agreed not to engage in hostilities at sea. In 1853 , they signed a treaty with the United Kingdom, under which the sheikhs (the “Trucial Sheikhdoms”) agreed to a “perpetual maritime truce.” It was enforced by the United Kingdom, and disputes among shaikhs were referred to the British for settlement.

1892 Treaty
Primarily in reaction to the ambitions of other European countries, the United Kingdom and the Trucial Sheikhdoms established closer bonds in an 1892 treaty, similar to treaties entered into by the UK with other Persian Gulf principalities. The shaikhs agreed not to dispose of any territory except to the United Kingdom and not to enter into relationships with any foreign government other than the United Kingdom without its consent. In return, the British promised to protect the Trucial Coast from all aggression by sea and to help out in case of land attack.

Border Disputes
In 1955, the United Kingdom sided with Abu Dhabi in the latter’s dispute with Saudi Arabia over the Buraimi Oasis and other territory to the south. A 1974 agreement between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia would have settled the Abu Dhabi-Saudi border dispute; however, the agreement has yet to be ratified by the UAE Government and is not recognized by the Saudi Government. The border with Oman also remains officially unsettled, but the two governments agreed to delineate the border in May 1999.

The Trucial States Council
In the early 1960s Dubai was ahead of all the other states even that oil was not yet discovered in its territories. Abu Dhabi was behind until His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1967.

The British had started earlier a development office that helped in some small developments in the Emirates. The shaiks of the Emirates decided then to form a council to coordinate matters between them and took over the development office. They formed the Trucial States Council, [1] and appointed Adi Bitar; Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s Legal Advisor as Secretary General and Legal Advisor to the Council. The Council was terminated once the United Arab Emirates was formed.

The Formation and Independence of the UAE
In 1968, the UK announced its decision, reaffirmed in March 1971 , to end the treaty relationships with the seven Trucial Sheikhdoms which had been, together with Bahrain and Qatar, under British protection. The nine attempted to form a union of Arab Emirates, but by mid-1971 they were unable to agree on terms of union, even though the termination date of the British treaty relationship was the end of 1971.

Bahrain became independent in August and Qatar in September 1971. When the British-Trucial Shaikhdoms treaty expired on December 1, 1971, they became fully independent.

The Rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai decided to form a union between their two Emirates independently, prepare a constitution, then call the Rulers of the other five emirates to a meeting and offer them to join. It was also agreed between both of them that Adi Bitar write the constitution and have it ready by 2 December 1971.

On December 2, 1971, at the Dubai Guesthouse Palace four other Emirates agreed to join and enter into a union of six Emirates called the United Arab Emirates. Ras al-Khaimah joined later, in early 1972.

Regional Role
The UAE became a positive element in the region and had an important role to play in engaging in good relations with all its neighboring countries. The UAE sent forces to liberate Kuwait during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War.

Sheikh Zayed’s Demise
On November 2, 2004, the UAEs first and only president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died. His eldest son Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan succeeded him as Ruler of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with the Constitution, the UAEs Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as UAE Federal President. Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Source: www.wikipedia.org.

Language

The official language of the UAE is Arabic, but English is extensively spoken and understood, especially in the hospitality industry. Guides and facilitators who speak other languages are also available.

Source: ask-ali.com.

National Symbols

Palm Tree
The palm tree in the Middle Eastern civilization symbolizes fertility and pride. While Palm always found surrounding Oasis, it was a sign for food and water. With its great height without bowing down, it is also used to symbolize pride and dignity. The tree is highly respected by Muslims as been mentioned in Holy Quran when God Almighty asked Mary the Virgin to shake the palm tree while she was in labor pains. People use the tree name for even ethical examples : Be like a palm tree, once people throw stones on it, it gives back delicious dates

Falcon
Falcon is the national bird of UAE and is a symbol of force, grace, pride, strength and courage, recognizing the importance of falconry in Arab tradition and culture.

Oryx
The Arabs have admired the Oryx for its whiteness and have called it Wahedi Arabi as an indication of its clear, vivid color. It was also called Wild Cow and it was described as a twinkling star glittering in the sky. So it became a symbol of beauty, resistance and untamed wilderness for centuries.

The Oryx is a symbol of power, dignity and pride because it never ran from a prospective battle but would consistently follow its attacker until it either won or lost the bout.

Dhow
A traditional dhow is a symbol of UAE commerce of ancestors and the sea-faring history of the U.A.E. It plays a major significance symbolizing the sea trade and pearl diving activities which was at a certain point in history our Gulf water wealth.

Source: ask-ali.com.

UAE Climate

Sunny, blue skies can be expected throughout the year although June to September is hot and humid with temperatures averaging above 40C. The weather is pleasant from October to May, and evenings in January and February can occasionally necessitate the use of a sweater.

Air-conditioning is present in all vehicles and buildings, including hotels, conference and exhibition halls and shopping malls.

Source: ask-ali.com.

UAE Location

The United Arab Emirates is situated on a pensinsula in the Arabian Gulf. It is bordered by Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the west and south. Iran is the closest country to it from the north. The UAE is 83,600 sq.km (including 200 islands – approximately).

On the map, it is situated at: Latitudes: 22 – 26.5 North Longitudes: 51 – 56.5 East.

Source: ask-ali.com.

7 Emirates

1-Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi means “Father of Dhabi” Dhabi is a type of Gazelle so basically it’s the father of gazelle named by the early hunters of the Bani Yas tribe who discovered the island when tracking a gazelle and found a rare and precious freshwater spring. Al Hosn Fort is now built on the site of this spring. Abu Dhabi is the Federal capital and also the largest of the seven emirates covering more than 85 per cent of land that constitutes the UAE.

Its long coastline extends for more than 400 kilo meters and was once the world’s best waters for pearling and fishing.

In 1958, oil was first discovered here in commercial quantities. It holds more than 80 per cent of UAEs oil reserves and 11 per cent of worlds reserve. This makes it by far the richest and most politically important of the UAE’s seven emirates.

2-Dubai

Who doesn’t know Dubai by now is probably not living on Earth!! Don’t you agree?

Dubai is the second largest Emirate in the United Arab Emirates. Under the guidance of Shaikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, it has forged a reputation as one of the most important and vibrant cities in the Middle East. It is here where the tallest, the biggest, the largest and the unknown future are all revealed in this great city.

3-Sharjah

The third largest of the seven emirates, Sharjah is situated between Dubai and Ajman. Once part of a single emirate with Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah is ruled by the Al Qasimi family.

Sharjah is known for its beautiful and impressive architectural buildings, mosques, museums and distinctive souqs. The lovely Corniche, beautiful gardens and a rich cultural heritage add charm to the bustling city. Here you will get to see attractive landmarks such as the resplendent King Faisal Mosque and the Pearl Monument, a symbol of UAE federation.

Dubai-Sharjah drive is just about fifteen minutes when traffic-free. Sharjah also renders easy access to Ajman, Fujairah and the other emirates.

Under the guidance of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah has earned the title of the cultural capital of the UAE.

The Emirate has some of the most interesting architecture in the country, an archeological museum, numerous examples of traditional watchtowers, and a natural history museum and souks to rival any in the region.

It is a good place to purchase carpets from Iran, Pakistan and Afganistan.
The headquarters for the Authors’ and Writers’ Union in the UAE are located here, which has over a hundred publications to its credit and home to one of the best book fairs in the UAE are located here.

4-Ajman

Ajman is the smallest Emirate of the UAE and lies between Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. The central area of Ajman is agog with activity, while the outskirts have many farms. Ajman has a few good fast food restaurants, a City Centre (shopping mall), a cinema, and a traditional Islamic designed souq.

5-Umm alquwain

Umm Al Quwain is a happy destination for fun-lovers who wish to go sailing and bird watching. It is famous for its Multi-million dirham aqua park, which attracts thousands of visitors. History prevails at Umm Al Quwains archaeological site and ancient fortified settlement of 2,500 BC. The Emirate is also famous for Falaj Al Mu’ala -natural oasis and important agricultural site.

6-RAK – Ras Alkhaimah

Ras Al Khaimah, meaning ‘head of the tent’ is said to represent Bedouin shelter symbolizing traditional Arabian hospitality. The Emirate, enveloped by the sea, desert and mountains unveils the rugged as well as serene facets of natural beauty. It is known for its pleasant camping and trekking sites. Close to the foot of the mountains are natural water springs with secluded bathing facilities. It is a wonderful place to laze around and enjoy a relaxed holiday. RAK was also once the centre of the naval strength of the southern Gulf states. Clashes with the British Navy led to its downfall in 1820 and the subsequent arrival of a British presence upon the local scene.

Ras Al Khaimah officially became part of the UAE Federation on October 10, 1972, a year after the Federation was formed.

7-Al Fujairah

Fujairah is a land of calm and charm. It is the only emirate that lies on the eastern side of the UAE, along the Gulf of Oman, while the others are along the Arabian Gulf. The scenic mountains and winding roads make the trip enjoyable. Cascading waterfalls and pristine beaches are a major attraction to tourists as well as UAE residents, who often escape to spend a peaceful weekend here. Beach divers love to explore the marine wealth of the coastal areas.

The Friday market offers a rustic shopping experience. Fujairah has a rich and lengthy history of settlement, stretching back thousands of years. It was known in the old ages as The land of the sea giants and was the first home for immigrants known as the Phoenicians, who came from the southeast of the Arabian peninsula.

Source: ask-ali.com.

UAE Overview

UAE – United Arab Emirates is a constitutional federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi is the capital and largest city of the UAE federation, which was formally established on 2 December 1971. The day is now celebrated as the annual National Day when all major cities of the emirates are brightly lit-up and decorated with lights.

The name Arabia typically heralds exotic images of desert, sand dunes, oasis, camels, and perfumes. Yes, however, there’s many more in UAE than the world dreams of.

United Arab Emirates stretches across 83,000 sq km and has Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman as its close neighbors.

Four-fifths of the UAE is desert. Yet the country exposes contrasting landscapes – from awe-inspiring dunes to rich oasis, precipitous rock mountains to fertile plains and lush greenery. The cities are characterized by modern architecture and upscale technology co-existing with tradition and culture.

UAE is one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations and has all the right ingredients for an unforgettable holiday: sun, sand, sea, sports, impressive shopping malls, top-class hotels and restaurants, and above all, a safe and welcoming environment. So, ladies and gentlemen Marhaba (welcome) to my country and your second home.

Source: ask-ali.com.