UAE Caravan

UAE Caravan

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fabulous Paintings from Your Photos!

Good afternoon everybody,

How is everyone? hope you are all doing great!

Today I've got a great offer for all of you and I hope you like it.

Why don't you let me turn your photo into a 100% handmade painting and add a traditional UAE touch on it?! Like change your costume into an Emirati dress "Jalabiya" or instead of having green mountains on your background, I'll change it into golden dunes, sunset in the desert or Abu Dhabi's adorable corniche for instance!

Once you receive your painting you'll be proud to hang it on the wall or make it a unique gift for your loved ones!

Don't hesitate and give your eyes the chance to see my magic. Believe me you'll be amazed!

Your child or relative can also have his/her photo painted with a beautiful Emarati touch!

If you are interested, please send me an e-mail:

* * * P.S: The first 3 photos will receive a gift from UAE Caravan! So don't miss it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A new morning scented with Arabic Coffee

Good morning (Sabah Al Kheir in Arabic)

Every morning at work, the office boy offer us Arabic Coffee (Qahwa). And, one of my colleagues is a gentleman from Pakistan, asked me today to write for him the recipe of Arabic Coffee since he fell in love with it, and his wife would like to prepare it at home.
Therefore, I will post the recipe here in my blog, so not only my colleague and his wife could try it and enjoy drinking it, but also you all can do so.

First of All, you need the following ingredients:

3 eight ounce glasses of water
1 teaspoon of rose water
3/4 cup of lightly roasted and ground coffee
1/4 cup of coarsely ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon saffron
*Arab cup coffee - Approximately 2 ounces

Arabic Coffee Recipe:

1. Boil the water in a pan

2. Add the coffee and let boil over low heat for half an hour
3. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes to allow the coffee to settle
4. Put the cardamom, saffron and rose water in a coffee pot, and strain the coffee into it

5. serve and enjoy

P.S: Arabic coffee (Qahwa) is a symbol of hospitality and honor. In the Arab Gulf countries and many other Arab countries, the ritual of serving coffee is a sign that a guest is welcomed and honored by his post.

Qahwa is NEVER drunk with milk or sugar. However, they serve it with dates (Tamr), fruits and sweet things.

Rules and Etiquette of serving Arabic Coffee:

Rules of etiquette when serving the Qahwa require the host or hostess to personally hand each small cup (Finjan) to the guest with the right hand, after pouring the coffee from the pot (Dallah) with the left hand.

I hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Death in Islam

Salam all,

My post today might be sad and heart aching, but it is part of life. It is about death and how we deal with it in the UAE and most of the Arab and Islamic countries.
On Saturday, I went to the funeral of my friend’s uncle who died in the early morning of last Friday (June the 4th, 2010). May his soul rest in peace, Amen. And, I would like all of you to have an idea about death and everything related to it in Islam.

Death is simply a transition state from one world to another, as birth is. No one knows when and where he will die or knows how.

Islam explains death in full detail, how it happens, and what Muslims should do before, during, and after the death of a Muslim. So let’s take it step by step:


Family members of the dying person and his most pious friends should be informed and should be present at his side to help him turn his thoughts to Allah, encourage him very gently to repent, remind him about all the good deeds that he did, about Allah’s mercy, and Allah’s forgiveness so that he may anticipate Allah’s mercy and Allah’s favors.

Those who are present near a dying Muslim should do the following :
• They should be kind and patient.
• They should never leave him alone.
• They should give him hope, not allowing him to collapse out of pain or panic.
• They should prompt him very gently (Encouragement without insistence) every now and then to say the Shahada: "La ilaha ella Allah", which means ‘There is no God but Allah,’ in a very kind and sincere manner as these may be his last words.
• They should make Dua’ (Supplicate) to Allah to help him go through situation easy, and forgive him.


When the person is confirmed dead, family members or those who are present should :
• Close the eyes of the deceased.
• They should bind his lower jaw to his head so that it does not sag.
• They should cover all his body completely with a clean sheet.
• They should make Dua’ (Supplicate) to Allah to forgive him.
• They should hasten to prepare the body for washing, shrouding and burial.
• They should pay his debts from his money, or if there is not enough, then from any family member or any relative, this matter is important since the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) encouraged Muslims to pay the debts of the deceased.


Mourning over the dead is allowed in Islam. Grief at the death of a beloved person is normal, and weeping for the dead is allowed in Islam. What is prohibited is to express grief by wailing ( Bewailing refers to mourning in a loud voice), shrieking, beating the chest and cheeks, tearing hair or clothes, breaking things or scratching faces or saying phrases that makes a Muslim lose faith.

All of this is totally prohibited, and the deceased may feel pain by these actions, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said: "The deceased suffers when someone bewails loudly".
Some people let their beard grow to show their sadness, then after several days they shave it. Others wear black clothes, or black ties. All of this has no basis in Islam.

It is a Muslim’s duty to advise gently those who do these things to stop doing so, since it is totally prohibited. No loss, however great, should lead a Muslim to sour his faith. They should however bear patiently and accept Allah’s destiny.
Relatives of a deceased Muslim may mourn him for three days only, but a widow may mourn her husband four months and ten days.

This is due to Hadith (1) of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) who said : " It is prohibited for a woman who believes in Allah and the day of judgment to mourn any dead person more than three days except her husband four months and ten days ". This period is called the Edda (Waiting period) which is prescribed by Allah in the Quran.


When a Muslim dies, it is the responsibility of his family or other Muslims to wash him according to the Islamic rites of washing the deceased. Two or three persons may perform the washing.

The person(s) who may wash the deceased should :
• Be a trustworthy, and honest adult Muslim(s).
• Know the Islamic way of washing the dead and be able to carry out the washing.
• Not make any comment on the body of the deceased.

• If the deceased is a male, then ONLY males should wash him.
• If the deceased is a female, then ONLY females should wash her.
• For a married person, the spouse may perform the washing.
• For a child, either males or females may do the washing.


The deceased’s body should be washed in a clean, secluded, and private place where clean water and soap are available. Gloves or pieces of cloth are needed.

The body of the deceased should be washed with water and, if available, lotus leaves, or camphor (To be used in the final wash).

The washing should be done three or five, or any more odd number of times if necessary.


The body of the deceased should be placed on a table or alike, the deceased’s clothes should be removed, and the body should be covered with a sheet of cloth.

The head and the upper body should be raised slightly to insure the washing water with exudations from the body flows down and does not run back to the body.

The Awra (Private parts) of the deceased should be covered with a piece of cloth. (I have explained in a previous post what “Awra” is for males and females.).

The washer should start washing by saying:" Bismil - lah " which means " In the name of Allah".

The washer winds a piece of cloth around his hand, and with this he cleans away any impurities from the body using water. Then he should dispose of this piece.

The washer should take another piece of cloth around his hand, press lightly the stomach of the deceased so as so to expel, if possible, any remnants from it, and then wash the body of all impurities using water. Then he should dispose this piece of cloth.

The washer should take another piece of cloth around his hand (May use gloves), and wash the covered private parts, then dispose of this piece of cloth.

The washer should perform Wudu ( Ablution (2) ) on the deceased without inserting the water in the nose and in the mouth.

The washer should clean the body with water and soap (If available), starting from the head (hair, face and beard {Men}), then the upper right side of the body then the left side, after that the lower right side then the lower left.

In the case of a female, her hair should be loosened, washed, combed, and be braided in three braids, and placed behind her back.

The washing should be done three times, or five times, or seven times, as needed, providing that after washing the head, wash the right side before the left, and the upper parts before the lower ones.

In the last wash, the washer may use camphor, or some perfume with the water. After that the body should be dried with clean towel. Then the body should be totally covered with a white sheet. Get ready to start the shrouding.

SPECIAL NOTE : In case the deceased is a female in her menstrual period or have child birth bleeding, padding should be used to prevent blood from leaving the body.

• It is recommended that those who performed the washing should take a bath.
• It is recommended that those who performed the washing should make Wudu (Ablution).
• There is no Islamic teaching of reading the Quran during the Ghusul.
• There is no Islamic teaching of making special dthiker (Certain words to remember Allah) during the Ghusul.


Shrouding should start Just after washing the body of the deceased. It is recommended to use white sheets from inexpensive material. Extravagance is not recommended in the Kafan (Shroud).


The Kafan of a male should consist of three white winding sheets about {7 x 7 feet}, clean and large enough to conceal the whole body, after having been perfumed with incense. Use 4 tie ropes, each 7 feet long.

The material of the sheet should not be silk, nor should any gold be used.


1. The winding sheets should be spread out one on the top of the other .
2. The deceased, covered with a sheet, is lifted and laid on his back on the winding sheets.
3. Some scent or perfume may be put on those parts of the body upon which one rests during prostration, that is the forehead, nose, hands, knees, and feet.
4. If it is possible the deceased’s left hand should be placed on his chest, then put his right hand on the left hand like the way in the Salat (Prayer).
5. The edge of the top sheet is folded over the deceased right side, then the other edge over his left side. Then the second sheet should be folded the same way. The third and the largest sheet should be treated the same way.
6. These sheets should be fastened with a piece of cloth {Tie ropes}, one above the head, another under the feet, and two around the body.


The Kafan of a female should consist of five white garments, (Two winding sheets, a long loose sleeveless shirt {From shoulder to feet}, a waist wrapper, and a head veil), these should be large enough to cover the whole body and may be perfumed with incense, a loin cloth may be used to bind the upper part of her legs, use 4 tie ropes, each one is 7 feet long.


1. The garments are spread out ( First: winding sheets {7 x 7 feet}, Second: the long loose sleeveless shirt {3 1/2 x 14 feet, with a hole in the middle line for the head}, Third: waist wrapper {6 feet x 3 1/2 feet }, Fourth head veil {a 4x4 square feet white sheet}, and Fifth: the loin cloth {12 inches wide x 4 feet long} ).
2. The deceased, covered with a sheet, is lifted and laid on her back on the shroud.
3. Some scent or perfume may be put on those parts of the body upon which one rests during prostration, that is the forehead, nose, hands, knees, and feet.
4. The loin cloth is bound round her upper legs (Acts like underwear).
5. The waist wrapper is tied in place.
6. Put on the sleeveless shirt (Long to cover the body from the shoulder to the feet) .
7. Put the head veil.
8. The deceased’s left hand should be placed on her chest, then put her right hand on the left hand like the way in the Salat (Prayer).
9. The edge of the top sheet is folded over the deceased right side, then the other edge over his left side. Then the second sheet should be folded the same way.
10. These sheets should be fastened with a piece of cloth {Tie ropes}, one above the head, another under the feet, and two around the body.


A divine service is held over the dead body of every Muslim, young or old, even of infants who have lived only a few minutes. When the soul leaves the body, preparations are made for bidding him the last farewell.

It is highly recommended that, after washing and shrouding the body of the deceased, the body not to be kept long, but rather taken quickly, prayed for, and then buried.
Salatul Janazah is required to be performed in congregation to request pardon for the deceased and all dead Muslims, and to wrap them all in Allah’s Mercy.

Salatul Janazah is a collective obligation. A Muslim should not hesitate to participate in it, whether or not the deceased or his relatives are known to him.
Salatul Janazah is said silently, except the Takbeer (3) and Tassleem (4). All conditions for regular Salat are required in Salatul Janazah such as Tahara (5) , Wudu, clean body and clothes, neeyah (Intention), and facing the Qiblah (6).
There is a reward for attending Salatul Janazah for both the deceased and those who make the Salat (prayer) according to the following Hadith:

Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said : " Who ever attends the Janazah until it is finished, will earn a Qirat, and who ever stays until the burial, will earn two Qirats. Someone asked: What does Qirat mean ? , the Prophet answered :‘It means rewards as big as great mountain".

There are specific times when it is prohibited to perform Salatul Janazah, unless it becomes necessary, due to the condition of the body, to perform it quickly and then bury the body.

This is due to the Hadith of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) who forbade us to pray, or bury our dead during these specified times:

• From sunrise until the sun is fully risen,
• At the zenith of the sun (the sun at meridian), until it passes the meridian,
• From when the sun pales before sunset until it has set.


All conditions for regular Salat are required in Salatul Janazah such as Tahara, Wudu, clean body and clothes, neeyah (Intention), and facing the Qiblah.

Muslims should form a minimum of three lines facing the Qiblah. The one who leads the Salat is the leader or his deputy, or the deceased’s father.

If there is only one Muslim with the Imam, he should stand behind the Imam.

The body (ies) should be placed in front of the person who leads the prayer.

In case there are more than one dead Muslim (Males and females), then the female(s) should be placed in the first row(s) in the direction of the Qiblah, then the male(s) in the following row(s), then the Imam. For example : If there are : a dead Muslim male, a female, a young girl, and a young boy, then behind the Qiblah, first place the body of the young girl, then the adult female, then the young boy, then the adult male, so the bodies are arranged in a way that females’ bodies are first, then the males.

There are NO Rukuh (7), Sujud (8), Athan (9), or Eqama (10).
Having the appropriate neeyah (Intention), raise your hands in the usual manner and say : " Alla-hu Akbar " which means “Allah is the Greatest”.
Fold your right hand over the left hand in the usual manner.
Recite the Fatiha silently.
Then say : "Alla-hu Akbar".
Then recite the Tashahood.
The Tashahood is :- ( Allahumma sallee ala Muhammad wa’ala alee Muhammad kama sallayta ala Ibrahim wa ala alee Ibrahim, wa barik ala Muhammad wa’ala alee Muhammad kama barakta ala Ibrahim wa ala alee Ibrahim, Fil alameen innaka hamidun Majeed).
This means : " O Allah! Grant peace to Muhammad and his family as you did to Ibrahim and his family. O Allah! Bless Muhammad and his family as you blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly you are Most Glorious and Most Praiseworthy".
Then say : " Alla-hu Akbar ".
Then make dua’ (Supplicate) for the deceased.
Then say: " Alla-hu Akbar ".
Then make dua (Supplicate) for all dead Muslims.
In the case of a dead baby or young child, make dua (Supplicate) for his parents.
Then say : " Assalamu alykum ", like you say in other Salats. Tasleem could be said only once.

• Salatul Janazah for the one who died far away is allowed.
• There is no Islamic teaching of putting the picture of the deceased or some of his clothes or flowers in front of or around the Kafan ( Shroud).
• To use a coffin (Box) is not allowed, unless there is necessity to use it, such as the body of the deceased is damaged, or for health reasons, or when the grave is wet and cannot be dried.


After Salatul Janazah, the deceased should be transferred to the Muslim cemetery.
It is recommended for those following the Janazah on foot to keep behind or either on the right or on the left of those who are carrying the body.
They should walk calmly, quietly, and not crowd or push others who are carrying the deceased.

Following the Janazah with incense or candles, mentioning Allah’s name loudly, weeping loudly or reading Quran, playing music, or carrying the body of the deceased on a military car, all are not allowed when escorting the body of the deceased.


Islam has a unique style of building graves and cemeteries that is characterized by simplicity and economy in costs and that avoids glorifying the dead with elaborate monuments.

It is of great importance that a special cemetery be devoted exclusively for the use of Muslims. Muslims may not be buried in the cemeteries of non-Muslims, nor can non-Muslims be buried in a Muslim cemetery.

The deceased should be buried in the locality in which he lived. It is undesirable to take the body to the person’s own country or to another city.
In Muslim cemeteries, there are two types of graves :
Al-Shaqq : is to make a deep vertical hole in the ground.
Al-Lahed : is to make a deep vertical hole in the ground, then in the bottom make a side horizontal hole big enough to cover the whole body.
Both types are used, but it is preferable to use Al-Lahed if the land is solid.
The burial should be done as soon as possible after death, but the following times should be avoided :

• At night
• From sunrise until the sun is fully risen.
• At the zenith of the sun (The sun at the meridian), until it passes the meridian.
• When the sun pales before sunset until it has set.

During these times burying is prohibited unless there is an urgent necessity.
The grave should be always perpendicular ( Horizontal) to the direction of Qiblah. Only men are allowed to attend the burial.

All Muslims who are present should remember death, the hereafter, and that one day he too will be buried. They should keep quiet (No talking unless it is necessary).The deceased’s male relatives are expected to put the body in the grave, putting the body in the grave should be carried out only by Muslim men. A female is placed in her grave either by her husband, her sons, her father, her brothers, or her uncle.

The deceased’s body should be entered to the grave from the direction where his feet will be (From the rear of the grave).

How to enter the body into the grave?

• Those who enter the body of the deceased in the grave should say : (Bismil llah wa ala millati rasulil llah), which means : " In the name of Allah and in the faith of the Messenger of Allah ".
• The deceased’s body should rest on his right side, and should be close to the wall and supported so that the body will not fall back, the deceased’s face should be towards the Qiblah.
• Those who put the deceased in the grave should not have had sexual intercourse with their wives the night before.
• They should undo the tie on the head and the feet.
• They should put above the body a layer of wood or big stones, so that earth will not be put directly on the body when they fill the grave with earth.
• After the body is totally covered, it is desirable to throw three handfuls of soil into the grave.
• Then the grave should be filled up with sand .
• It is allowable to put a mark on the grave or a stone to know the grave.
Just after the burial all Muslims, including the deceased’s relatives, may stay in the cemetery for a while and make dua’ ( Supplicate ) for the deceased, since he is being questioned by the Angels.


• There is no Islamic teaching of transferring the deceased to another country.
• There is no Islamic teaching of revealing the face of the deceased after putting the body in the grave.
• There is no Islamic teaching of shouting with special dthiker (Certain words to remember Allah) before, during, and after burial.
• There is no Islamic teaching of reading the Quran in the cemetery.
• There is no Islamic teaching of putting flowers, food, water, or money around the grave that will benefit the deceased.
• There is no Islamic teaching of putting anything in, on or around the grave that will benefit the deceased.
• There is no Islamic teaching of slaughtering an animal during or after burial.
• There is no Islamic teaching of staying in a state of sadness for one year .
• There is no Islamic teaching that the relatives of the deceased should wear black clothes.
• There is no Islamic teaching that planting flowers on, or around the grave will benefit the deceased.


• It is prohibited to step over, lean, or sit on a grave.
• It is prohibited to build any form of construction on the grave, or decorate the grave.
• It is prohibited to plaster the grave, whitewash the grave, or use cooked stones.
• It is prohibited to pray facing towards the graves.
• Women are forbidden from attending the burial.
• It is prohibited to slaughter animals around the grave.
• It is prohibited to cremate the body of dead Muslim, even if the deceased requested it before his death.
• It is prohibited to put candles on the grave.
• It is also disliked (Makruh) to pray in the cemetery.
• Performing autopsy on a dead Muslim is totally prohibited, unless it is requested by court order.


1) Miscarried Fetus:

If the fetus is less than four months old ( Mother was pregnant for less than four months ), then the fetus may not be washed; the fetus should be wrapped in a piece of white cloth and buried. Then there is no Salatul Janazah for this fetus.
If the fetus is more than four months old ( Mother was pregnant for more than four months ), then the fetus may be washed, shrouded (Using one or two winding sheets to cover the whole body), and then Muslims have the choice whether to perform Salatul Janazah or not.

2) Children :

A) Before reaching the age of puberty, a child may be washed by males or females. Shrouding a child for females use a shirt and two winding sheets and for males two or three winding sheets may be used.
B) For those children who reached the age of puberty, they should be dealt with as an adult { Female child like female adult, and male child like male adult}, but then Salatul Janazah be performed.

3) Martyr :

The body of a Martyr should not be washed, nor be shrouded but buried with the same clothes that people found him with.
The strongest opinion of Muslim scholars is not to offer Salatul Janazah for martyrs since Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) did not offer it for the martyrs of the battle of Uhud (11).


It is a Muslim’s duty to offer condolences, comfort, and sympathy to the family and the relatives of the deceased. This strengthens the relationships within the Muslim community.

When offering condolences, words should be chosen carefully and said gently to convey sympathy and to encourage the family and the relatives of the deceased to accept Allah’s will and to help them to get back to their normal life.

Condolences may be offered to the family and to the relatives of the deceased before, during or after burial for up to three days, but it may be offered even at later time if someone did not hear about it or he was far away.

It is recommended to leave after offering condolences to give the family time to take care of their other affairs, assistance may be offered for anything the family may need, and one may stay to help.

In the UAE and many Muslim countries, the family of the deceased do not cook or do anything at home. Their neighbors and other family members do everything for them all day long. They cook food in their houses and bring it to the house of the deceased’s family to offer it for people offering condolences, they bring fruits, Arabic Coffee, water, etc. People in the UAE are one big family and they become even closer in hard times.

It is Sunnah (12) that friends, neighbors and relatives prepare food for the family of the deceased, for the loss of the loved one occupies the family’s whole attention.
Families of the deceased in the UAE and Muslim countries hold gatherings for three days or more, and sometimes hire people to recite Quran loudly.
Usually Males gather in a separate living room or many times (in the UAE) the family of the deceased have a very big tent built beside their house for men to gather in, while females gather inside the house.


Upon hearing the news of the death of her husband, a Muslim wife should be steadfast and patient. She should accept all that Allah plans for her and her family with sincerity and patience.

It is prohibited to express grief by wailing, shrieking, beating the chest or cheeks, tearing hair or clothes, or saying phrases that makes a Muslim lose faith.
She may cry, as the Prophet did when his son died. He said :" The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord".
Allah in the Quran prescribed the Edda (Waiting period) for those wives whose husbands die : " And those of you who die and leave wives behind them, they (The wives) shall wait for four months and ten days "(Quran 2:234).

Edda is prescribed for widows in order to mourn the death of their husbands, observe their memory, fulfill any obligations toward them, and to see if the widow is pregnant or not.

A woman should not mourn for any deceased person for more than three days, except in the case of her husband’s death, which she may mourn for a period of four months and ten days. Such a woman in mourning is not to wear any fancy, bright clothes, but only plain clothes, not use any adornment or make-up, nor use perfume, nor die her hands or feet with Henna .

If the widow is pregnant, then her waiting period ends when she delivers her baby, according to Allah’s command in the Quran.
So a widow during the Edda should :

• Stay in her home, and only leave when it is necessary.
• Sleep in her home.
• Not wear fancy, bright clothes.
• Not wear jewelry.
• Not use makeup including eyeliners (kohol).
• Not use perfume.



While the life span of a Muslim is short, and deeds and actions stop after death, a Muslim may continue to earn rewards for certain things even after his death.
Good deeds, such as perpetual charity, are the ones that follow him a Muslim (Get the rewards), even while the person is in the grave, such deeds like: useful knowledge, a good child that prays for him, a Mosque that he built, teaching Quran to another person, a house he built for public use, a water fountain or a river that he rented and made it free for people, or a charity that he gave during his life while he was in good health; all are rewardable even after death.
So, there are generally three things that benefit the dead:

1) Charity; Continuous Charity ;
2) A knowledge left by the deceased from which some benefit may be obtained;
3) A virtuous son or daughter who makes Dua’ (Pray, supplicate) on the deceased’s behalf, or perform duties that the deceased did not do during his lifetime such as fasting missed days or Hajj, or pay his debts.

People put flowers, candles, food, perfume, on the grave all of this will not benefit the deceased.


In the beginning of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) advised Muslim males not to visit the cemeteries, but after that he the Prophet(P.B.U.H.) gave them the permission to visit the cemetery to remind them of the hereafter.

Most scholars say it is Makrouh ( Hated action ), while other scholars say it is permissible for Muslim females to visit the cemetery provided that the visit is not frequent and it is for the sole purpose of remembering death and hereafter.

When Muslim females visit the cemetery, they should wear proper clothes, no make-up or perfume, they should not cry loudly or say words of discontent or behave unislamically .

The purpose of visiting the cemetery is to remember the fact that everyone is going to die and that we must prepare for the day of judgment.
Visiting the cemetery benefits the dead too, since the visitors will make dua’ (supplicate) for the dead to forgive his sins and have mercy on him.
I know it is a topic that makes the heart beats faster but as I said it is part of life and we can not ignore it. We are all visitors in this world and I wish all of our last homes are in heaven.


1- Hadith: or (Ahaadeeth –plural-) are narrations originating from the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
2- Ablution or Wudu: is the Islamic act of washing parts of the body using water. Muslims are required to be clean in preparation for ritual prayers.
3- Takbeer: is the Arabic name for the phrase Allāhu Akbar (الله أكبر). Usually translated "God is [the] greatest," or "God is Great", it is a common Islamic Arabic expression, used as both an informal expression of faith and as a formal declaration.
4- Tasleem: is said to conclude the salah.

You say: Peace be unto you and so will Allah's mercy
(In Arabic: Al-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatul Laah)
-Upon saying this, slowly turn your head to the right-.
السلامُ عليكُم ورحمةُ الله

then you say it again: Peace be unto you and so will Allah's mercy
(In Arabic: Al-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatul Laah)
-Upon saying this, slowly turn your head to the left-.

5- Tahara: The act of being clean, pure and performing the Wudu(Ablution)
6- Qibla: the direction of the “Kaaba” in Mecca toward which Muslims turn for their daily prayers
7- Rukuh: Rukuh is the bowing part of salaah (Muslims Prayer).

8- Sujud: the position in salaah in which the person prostrates on the ground with his hands, knees, feet, and face touching the ground.

9- Athan: is the Islamic call to prayer
10- Eqama: It is the second call to Islamic Prayer, given immediately before the prayer begins
11- Battle of Uhud: Please visit:
12- Sunnah: is an Arabic word that means habit or usual practice. The Muslim usage of this term refers to the sayings and living habits of Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Some questions and answers!

Good morning everyone ^_^

A couple of days ago, I have received an e-mail from a lady who had some questions related to UAE’s culture and people. This was her e-mail:

Assalam alaikum sis!

How are you? Inshallah everything is fine with you!

I have few questions, maybe you know the answer...

Is it true that local women in wealthy high class Emirati families have something like a "personal assistant"- a personal maid- ?. A personal maid that helps madam do dress and even wash her in the bathroom? One of my friends says in their family they have this kind of maids whom their families get good money for this, instead their daughters work as "personal assistants" in some wealthy families but can never get married- no time for that, "career".

Another question is about weddings. All weddings in the UAE are segregated, which means that women celebrate separately in a big wedding hall, thus a bride can wear an open dress and have all the make up, same for the women-guests- they can wear open dresses, no need for hijab (1). Yet again I heard that in some very wealthy UAE families- a social wedding party is mixed- men and women are present, while the bride wears an open dress and make up in front of strange men. But in life she has to wear an “abaya” (2) and “sheila” (3), sometimes even “niqab” (4). Then this is a contradiction. Is it true? do such weddings take place? Or I simply misunderstood?

I'll be grateful if you could answer please.

Take care!

Indeed, I replied and explained everything to her. I am posting my replying e-mail here in my blog so that everyone can read the answers and understand the whole idea.
Here is my reply and the answers:

Wa Alaikom Assalam sis,

A1- Emirati families tend to be big families in very large homes or villas (Grandparents, Daughters, Sons, Grand children, etc). And usually every big house with an extended family has 2-4 house maids (depends on the size of the house and the number of people in it), a driver and a cook.

Some wealthy Emirati families have nannies for their kids, specialized to help mums with their babies and children (other than house keepers).

I have heard that some very wealthy Emirati Families have a "Personal Assistant" for some “women” members of the family, but I DON’T THINK that they wash their Madams in the bathroom because it is forbidden in our religion and culture that a woman sees the “Awra” (5) of another woman. It is unacceptable Not in Islam, nor in my Culture.

In addition to that, the "Personal Assistant" might not get married not because of her career, but because she chose not to. No one, no matter who he or she is, can force a house maid or a personal assistant to do something without her agreement. So, If she wants to get married and start a family, she is totally free to do that.

A2- Regarding weddings, they are all separated in the UAE (Women celebrate alone and Men celebrate alone in two separate Halls or Luxurious tents).

Personally I have never heard of a mixed Emirati Wedding because it is close to impossible, but again, families differ in the UAE. But mixed weddings of Emirati families in the UAE are VERY VERY RARE (like 0.1%).

In addition to that, If the bride, her groom and both their families are ok with having a mixed wedding and showing parts of their bodies in front of strange men, then they shouldn’t have a problem not wearing the “Abaya” or “Sheila” in their daily lives. Again, no one is forcing anyone to do anything.

As I said before, people are not the same, they are like the hand fingers. And in the UAE there are very strict families, mild families and very free or open minded families, but all of this is related to CULTURE not RELIGION and there is a difference between both of them. For example: Some ladies in the UAE do not cover their hair completely, they just wear the “Sheila or have it on their heads as a scarf”. Some other ladies cover themselves from head to toe, and some wear the “Niqab” or the “burga” (6) but might show their fringe or front hair. But, again, this is because there is a big difference between Religion and Culture.

The UAE is a free country but the majority of us ,Emirati citizens, maintain respect of our culture, religion and traditions and we are proud of our customs, religion and country.

Hope my answers made it much easier for you to understand. Please do not hesitate to ask.


*** Some Vocabulary:

1. Hijab:

It is the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general.

2. Abaya:

is long over garment essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world. It is considered an Arabic cultural dress integrated into the hijab, or Islamic dress, for many countries of the Arabian peninsula such as Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates, where it is the national dress.
A traditional abaya is black and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head or a long caftan. The abaya covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands. It can be worn with the niqāb, which is a face veil covering all but the eyes. Some women choose to wear long black gloves, so their hands are covered as well.

3. Sheila:

it is a veil that covers the hair.

4: Niqab:

It is a face veil covering all but the eyes.

5: Awra: It is a term used within Islam which denotes the intimate parts of the body, for both men and women, which must be covered with clothing. Exposing the Awra is unlawful in Islam and is regarded as sin. The exact definition of Awrah varies between different schools of Islamic thought.

Men’s Awra: The awra of a man refers to the part of the body between the navel and the knees which should be covered when in public and also during the ritual prayer.
Neither men nor women should uncover their genitals at any time except when in privacy. Men and women should at all times wear garments that are loose and the material is not transparent as to see the skin colour and shape of the other (male or female).

Women’s Awra: Women's Awra changes according to the situation:

• In ritual prayer: In ritual prayer, a woman should cover her entire body excluding her face and her hands from the wrist to the base of the fingers. She should also cover part of her forehead and the area under the chin.

A woman should cover her hair and body while performing the ritual prayer- whether she is praying in presence of her husband or she is praying alone in her chamber, as the basis for covering in prayer is different that the basis for covering in front of people.

• In front of her husband: There is no restriction in Islam on what body parts a woman may show to her husband in private. The husband and wife can see any part of each other’s body especially during sexual intercourse.

• In privacy: It is recommended that a person covers his or her sexual organs even when alone in private. There are exceptions such as when taking a shower or going to the bathroom.

• Among other women: The Awrah of a woman amongst other women is the same as the Awrah of men (from her navel to her knees). Awrah in front of non-Muslim women is a point of debate. Some scholars say that women should cover all but the hands and face, while according to the most preferred opinion, a Muslim woman can reveal in front of a non-Muslim woman as much as she would in front of other Muslim woman.

• In front of a mahram: (close male relative that she can not marry, such as, Father, Brother, Uncle, etc.), a woman can show her face, head, neck, hands, forearms, feet and calves and she must cover everything else.

• In front of her male children: If the child understands what the Awrah is, then it is not considered permissible for a woman to uncover her Awrah in front of him.

• Awrah in front of unrelated men (either Muslim or non-Muslim) is also a matter of dispute.

Most Muslims hold that entire body of the woman, except her face and hands, is part of her awrah, that is the parts of her body that must be covered during prayer and in public settings.

Salafi Muslims (a Sunni Islamic movement that takes the pious ancestors, the Salaf of the patristic period of early Islam, as exemplary models) believe that a woman's awrah in front of unrelated men is her entire body including her face and hands.

6: Burga:

It is a traditional face veil that is worn by married women.