UAE Caravan

UAE Caravan

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Prayer (Salat Al Jumu'ah)


Since it is Friday today, I thought of telling you a little bit about Muslims Friday Prayer (Salat Al Jumu'ah) as we name it in Arabic. (1)

Jumu'ah, also known as jum'ah, Friday prayer, is a congregational prayer (salat) that we Muslims hold every Friday, just after noon in lieu of noon time (dhuhr).

When the call is made for prayer on Friday, then people should leave off business; everything, and go to pray. That's why, on Fridays, Shops, Supermarkets, Shopping Malls, Restaurants and everything else opens after the Friday Prayer (Around 3:00 p.m).

The jumu'ah prayer is half the dhuhr prayer, for convenience, preceded by a khutba (a sermon as a technical replacement of the two reduced raka'ahs (2) of the ordinary dhuhr prayer), and followed by a communal prayer, led by the imam (3).

In most cases the khatib (4) also serves as the imam. Attendance is strictly incumbent upon all adult males who are legal residents of the locality, females are also permitted to go to the Mosque to perform the Friday prayers, and have a section that is separated from men in which they pray with fellow Muslim women, though it is only obligatory on all Muslim males.

The muezzin (5) makes the call to prayer, called the adhan (the call for prayer), usually 15-20 minutes prior to the start of Jum'ah. When the khatib takes his place on the minbar (6), a second adhan is made. The khatib is supposed to deliver two speeches, stopping and sitting briefly between them. In practice, the first speech is longer and contains most of the content. The second speech is very brief and concludes with a du'a (7), after which the muezzin calls the iqama (8). This signals the start of the main two rak'at prayer of Jumu'ah.

The prayers mainly have high attendance of worshipers, as compared to the ritual prayers.

Abu Hurayrah reported that Prophet Muhammad said: "When it is Friday, the angels stand at every door of the mosque and record the people in order of arrival, and when the Imam sits on the pulpit for delivering the sermon, qutba, they fold up their sheets and listen to the mention of Allah, the speech."

A person who goes to Friday prayer is said to have his sins between that Friday and last forgiven.

(1)-- What is Salah or Salat?

Salat is the name given to the formal prayer of Islam. Its supreme importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the paradigmatic Five Pillars of Islam, which are:

1- Shahadah (profession of faith)
2- Salat (prayers)
3- Zakat (giving of alms, specifically during Ramadan)
4- Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca, the place were the most famous islamic temple is located)
5- Sawm (fasting)

and These five practices are essential to all Muslims.

Salah is a ritual prayer, having prescribed conditions, a prescribed procedure, and prescribed times.

Performing salah is obligatory on all adult Muslims, with a few dispensations for those for whom it would be difficult.

To perform valid salah, Muslims must be in a state of ritual purity, which is mainly achieved by ritual ablution according to prescribed procedures.

The place of prayer should be clean. In a few cases where blood is leaving the body, salah is forbidden until a later time.

(2)-- What is rak'ah?

Salah consists of the repetition of two or more units of a prescribed sequence of actions and words. One complete sequence is known as a rak'ah (pl. rak'at).

The number of obligatory (fard) rak'at varies according to the time of day or other circumstances requiring salah (such as Friday congregational prayers). Additions to the fard rak'at can be made, again in different multiples according to the circumstances.

These are not required, but are considered meritorious. There are also dispensations from some or all of the prescribed actions for those who are physically unable to complete them. The prescribed words of the prayer remain obligatory.

Salah is prescribed at five periods of the day, which are measured according to the movement of the sun. These are:

1- near dawn (fajr)
2- after the sun's noon (dhuhr)
3- in the afternoon (asr)
4- just after sunset (maghrib)
5- and around nightfall (isha'a).

The Islamic day begins at sundown. Under some circumstances prayers can be shortened or combined (according to prescribed procedures). Prayers can be missed in serious cases, but they should be made up later.

(3)-- Who is the Imam?

An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the leader of a mosque and the community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads the prayer during Islamic gatherings.

More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have an Islamic question. In smaller communities an imam could be the community leader based on the community setting.

(4)-- Who is the Khatib?

Khatib or khateeb (khatib) is an Arabic term used to describe a person who delivers the sermon (khuṭbah), during the Friday prayer or Eid prayers.

The khatib is usually the Imam (prayer leader), but sometimes the two roles can be played by different people. There are no requirements of eligibility to become a khatib, although the person must be a male who has attained the age of puberty. It is also required that the khatib be in a state of physical purity.

(5)-- Who is the Muezzin?

A muezzin is a chosen person at the mosque who leads the call (adhan) to Friday service and the five daily prayers (salat) from one of the mosque's minarets. In most modern mosques, electronic amplification aids the muezzins.

(6)-- What is a minbar?

A minbar (also spelt mimbar) is a pulpit in the mosque where the Imam (leader of prayer) stands to deliver sermons (khutbah).

(7)-- What is Du'a?

In the terminology of Islam, Du'a is the act of supplication. The term is derived from an Arabic word meaning to 'call out' or to 'summon', and Muslims regard this as a profound act of worship. Our Islamic Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said "Dua is the very essence of worship," while one of Allah's commands expressed to Muslims through the Qur'an is for them to call out to Him:

"And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)!"

(8)-- What is Iqama?

The word iqama refers to the second call to Islamic Prayer, given immediately before the prayer begins. Generally speaking, the iqama is given more quickly and in a more monotone fashion, as compared to the adhan. It differs from the first call to prayer, the adhan.

In order to know hoe to perfom a complete correct Salat, pls visit:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Arab / German meeting in PSUAD

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Last Monday I had one of the great experiences of my life. I was invited by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) to attend a meeting at Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi "PSUAD".

*** For more information, please visit

Attendant were:

*(In the Middle): Dr.Johannes Beermann, Minister of State, Chief of the State Chancellery of Saxony (who is a veeeeeeerrrry nice person)
*(On the right side): Mr. Philipp Mißfelder, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs of CDU/CSU (ruling party in Germany), the YOUNGEST deplomat I've ever seen, who is also a very nice person
*(on the left side): Mr. Thomas Birringer, Regional Representative of KAS to the Gulf-States, a number of students and officials and of course myself.

At first we were welcomed by the director of PSUAD, introduced our selves, then the usual meeting took its time. After that, Dr. Johannes, an Emirati female student, an Emirati male student, a Mexican female student, a Palestinian male student (all studying at PSUAD), a German staff member at KAS, Pr. Ronald Perlwitz, Head of Business and Languages Studies and Professor of the German Literature at PSUAD and myself sat together and had a very interresting "Chatting time".

We were from different nationalities, different cultures, different religions but still we made a good example of how civilizations could meet together and get along without any complications. Indeed am not going to compare the eight of us to the whole world, but I am just giving an example.

We discussed a number of issues, such as, Values Vs. Politics, Liberal societies between advantages and disadvantages, Freedom and Responsibilities, Muslims Difficulties in the German Society, etc. We ended up by agreeing that "The more you respect your culture, the more people respect you", which is 100% true.

I hope to have a similar "gathering" and "discussion" with young German people when I fly to Germany next October (Insha'Allah) to implement the second step of my project, and I hope to meet Dr. Johannes there as well for he promised to show me the Arab / Muslim small communities in Germany ^_^

More Info:

Paris-Sorbonne university Abu Dhabi is now present at its permanent campus, in Al Reem island (1) with the completion of the first phase of the project. With a capacity that takes up to 2,000 students, as well as related faculty and support staff, the new campus makes the ideal university environment.

A project handled by Mubadala (2) , and financed by a syndicate of international and regional banks, PSUAD new campus features approximately 93,000m2 of newly built, state-of-the-art teaching and recreational facilities, including accommodation for students, a library that accommodates 200,000 books, a 700-seated guest- auditorium, etc.

It is worth mentioning that the DH 1.6bn campus comes to translate the shared vision of General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the government of France. In that regard, a special ground breaking ceremony was held on January 15th, 2008 at Al Reem Island, joined by Nicholas Sarkozy, President of France.

Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi symbolizes a commitment to education between France and the UAE.

For more information, please visit:
__ __ __

(1) Al Reem Island is a residential, commercial and business project on Al Reem Isle, a natural island 600 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi island.

It is currently being developed by developers who quote the overall dimensions of the project as 6.5 million square meters and investment costs as exceeding $30 billion.

The project has gained international interest as one of the first free zones in Abu Dhabi, where foreign nationalities can buy property as leasehold. In total, at least 22,000 residential units are planned (figures do vary significantly between different sources) with the first buildings that were completed in 2009, in Marina Square.

(2) Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala) is a catalyst for the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi. Established and owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, Mubadala’s strategy is built on the management of long-term, capital-intensive investments that deliver strong financial returns and tangible social benefits for the Emirate.

Mubadala brings together and manages a multi-billion dollar portfolio of local, regional, and international investments. It partners with leading global organizations to operate businesses across a wide range of industry sectors including aerospace, energy and industry, healthcare, information communications and technology, infrastructure and real estate. By doing so, Mubadala accomplishes its mission to expand the economic base of the Emirate and contribute to the growth and diversification of its economy.

For more information, please visit:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weddings in the UAE

Hello everybody,

I have published a post recently about a multi cultural wedding that I've attended with my family in Dubai. So, I thought of giving you an idea about weddings in the UAE.


• Arranged marriages have been slowly declining in the UAE. Individuals now have a greater chance to choose whom they want to marry.
• An Emirati man receives $ 19.000 from the MARRIAGE FUND if he marries a national.
• Many Emiratis are trending towards single family homes instead of with an extended family, which is still encouraged by many traditional families. But, when a young man gets married, he usually spends the first years of his marriage life at his parent’s house.

Marriage Fund:

In 1992, under the directives of Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a Marriage Fund has been set up in order to limit over-spending on weddings and celebrations.

The fund aims to encourage UAE men to marry UAE women, assisting in covering the expenses of both the wedding and the setting-up of a family, increasing the birth rate, and discouraging men from marrying foreigners.

The Fund provides around Dhs 70,000 (around $ 19,000 or 14,000 EUR) depending on certain criteria to young UAE nationals. In tandem with this, the government has launched a campaign aimed at persuading UAE fathers to accept lower dowries (the money paid by a groom to his bride). It has also built special wedding halls where receptions can take place without incurring the expenses associated with expensive hotel receptions.

In order to curb soaring wedding expenses which burden the youth, the UAE’s Cabinet, on the 29th of September, 1997 approved a letter from the Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister outlining a draft law defining dowries, under Islamic Law, at Dhs 20,000 (around $ 5000 or EUR 4000) and divorce compensation at Dhs 30,000 (around $ 8000 or EUR 6000) and wedding parties should not exceed one day.

As a tradition in the UAE, the setting of the wedding date marks the beginning of the bride’s preparation for her wedding.

Although the groom is also put through a series of preparations, the bride’s preparations are naturally more elaborate and time consuming.

Before the Wedding:

In preparation for her wedding, the bride is anointed with all sorts of traditional oils and perfumes from head to toe. Her body is rubbed with cleansing and conditioning oils and creams, the hands and feet are decorated with henna and the hair is washed with extracts of amber and jasmine. Of course nowadays saloons do everything for women to be so beautiful and glamorous.

Traditionally, the bride is not seen for forty days except for family members as she rests at home in preparation for her wedding day.

Fine pieces of jewelry, perfumes, silk materials, and other necessary items are presented to her by the groom and his family, from which she creates her elaborate trousseau called “Zehba”.

Wedding Festivities:

The festivities usually take about one week or at least three days before the wedding night.

During that week, traditional music, continuous singing, and dancing take place reflecting the joy shared by families of both bride and groom.

Henna night:

A few days before the wedding night is the henna night. On this night, the bride’s hands and feet are decorated with henna, which is a dark brown paste made from the henna plant. When left on the skin for some time, the henna leaves a dark red stain.

The henna night is a time for all the bride’s sisters, female family members, and girlfriends to get together, sing and dance. All female family members and guests also decorate their hands with henna. The henna is not used for decorative purposes only but it serves also as a hair and skin conditioner as well as a medicament for some wounds, when mixed with special ingredients.

The back-to-back feasts and celebrations involve both men and women who usually celebrate separately.

Despite of differences in the living standards with progress of time, the social culture is preserved and treated as a heritage that should not be ignored.

Wedding night:

This is the night when the bride and the groom are OFFICIALY announced husband and wife and they go back home together after the party is over. The girl must preserve her virginity until this night or else she will dishonor her family and might even get divorced.

After the Wedding:

The next morning, family of the bride visit her (Usually the mother and the aunts). Later, the newly wed couple spend their honeymoon together in a place that they choose together.

Honeymoons can be spent inside the country or anywhere across the big world.

** A Bride from the past ** :

** A Bride Nowadays ** :

** The Groom ** :

Monday, April 5, 2010

Multi Cultural Wedding ^_^

Good morning everybody ^_^ ... I hope you are all doing fine.

I would like to share a very romantic and funny story with you today. Last Friday, I attended a wedding with my family members in Dubai.

It was like a very tiny international community...I felt like sitting in one of the "United Colors of Benetton" shooting studios, but with models wearing gowns and toxidos :)It was amazing and all of the guests were celebrating and enjoying their time in peace and harmony.

The Bride was GERMAN, the Groom was EGYPTIAN, the guests were from all over the world, knowing that each couple were not from the same country!!!

The most amazing married couple were a man from the USA (Afro-American) and his Indonesian beautiful wife. Another were a Jordanian husband and his Phillipina wife, an Indian Lady and her British Husband, and of course my Emirati Father and his wonderful Egyptian wife, my mother.

This wedding was a very tiny example of how people of different nationalities live in the UAE as one big family, despite their languages, skin colors, religion, beliefs, etc.

May God bless the UAE and the whole world.