Category Archives: culture

Eid Al Adha


It is Eid again, a time to celebrate! Eid means festivity or celebration in Arabic. Eid Al Adha means the Festival of the Sacrifice. It is an Islamic festivity observed by Muslims around the world, which commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) to follow God’s command to sacrifice his son. Eid Al-Adha also marks the end of the Hajj which means pilgrimage.

Hajj is Muslims annual pilgrimage to the Holy city of Mecca, and the fifth pillar of Islam. All Muslims who are physically and financially able have to perform this pillar at least once in their lifetime. Millions of Muslims from different parts of the world travel to the Islam’s Holiest city of Mecca to visit the Kaa’ba. The Kaa’ba is the first house of worship ever built by the first mankind, Prophet Adam (PBUH), which was rebuilt by Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) and his son.

2245464943_8b056de8d2_bThe Hajj is a ritual that commemorates the trials and tribulations of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) and his family, during which pilgrims follow their footsteps. It is perceived as a journey of the body, mind and soul. A time for spiritual connection, asking for forgiveness, a reflection of one’s life and a remembrance of mortality and the Day of Judgment. Hajj takes place during the month of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. It officially starts on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah and lasts for five days.

During Hajj all Muslims are equal and united regardless of colour, ethnicity, gender, language or status. This is reflected by the pilgrim’s dress, which is aimed to show equality and modesty. Men wear two pieces of unstitched white cloth, while women wear simple long and loose garments covering their body showing only their face and hands, therefore not reflecting any wealth.

During the first day of Eid Al Adha Festivities, Muslims dress in new clothes and go to the Mosque for the congregational Eid prayer in the morning. Afterwards they go to the slaughterhouse where the sacrifice is made to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (PBUH) example of obedience. The meat of the slaughtered sheep is divided into three, a third for the poor, a third to friends and neighbours and a third for the family’s consumption. The rest of the day is spent visiting family, friends and neighbours, gathering to share meals and gifts. The three days of Eid are a time of celebration, generosity and joy.

It is a courtesy to greet your Muslim friend or neighbour by saying Eid Mubarak, which means Blessed Eid.

To understand more about Islam’s 5 pillars you can join our guided visit to the Jumeirah Mosque during the Eid or anytime throughout the year.
jumeirah-mosque

 

 

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Emirati Machboos Recipe


Machboos is one of the most popular Emirati dishes.  It consists of rice and can be made with chicken, lamb, or seafood. We serve it daily in our cultural meals. Many of our guests enjoyed it and requested the recipe, which we are happy to share with you. Recipes can vary from one household to another, as each one adds their personal touch to it, so this is our version.

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INGREDIENTS

  • I Kg chicken, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 Kg white basmati rice
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 table spoons chopped coriander
  • 1 potatoe chopped into square pieces
  • 2 14cups water

spices:

  • 1 tablespoon bezar (mixed spice)*
  • sea salt (as desired)
  • 1 whole dried lime (pierced a few times with a skewer. Called loomi)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 tablespoons Ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 4 whole cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 tsp saffron, soaked in lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the chicken and rub it with sea salt and bezar*, then brown it gently on both sides with some ghee.
  2. Transfer to a pot, add some ghee, fry the garlic, tomato, loomi, cinnamon, cardamom and coriander.
  3. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer in low heat for 15 minutes..
  4. Remove chicken pieces from the pot.
  5. Rinse the white Basmati rice until the water runs clear.
  6. Add rice to the pot and stir gently, then set the chicken on top of the rice.
  7. Add the water until it covers the chicken and bring to a boil.
  8. Sprinkle the saffron mix, cover the pot and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile fry slices of onion in the remaining ghee until soft and browned, remove from heat and add raisins to the onions.
  10. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot on a platter with the onion/raisin mixture as garnish on top of the rice. You can also add boiled eggs for decoration.

And bil afia, which means in good health, the Arabic way of saying bon appetite.

Follow our blog for other recipes coming up soon. We previously shared the recipe for the Ligamat.

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The Muslim Call to Prayer and Its Meaning


The call for prayer, in Arabic called Adhan, is that melodic chant you often heard coming from the mosque, while walking down the street in an Islamic country, in the mall in the UAE or in parts of a movie. Have you ever wondered what it means? The phrases used in the call for prayer are the same since the time of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him), 1400 years ago. It is heard five times a day, seven days a week and throughout the whole year. Here is what it means:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akabar, Allahu Akbar: God is the greatest, God is the greatest, God is the greatest, God is the greatest.

Allah is the Arabic word for God. ” Throughout their day and in prayer especially, Muslims use this term to remind themselves that God is greater than anything and everything. The creator is beyond time, direction and description. This phrase is not only used in worship, it is used to express appreciation, admiration, amazement, astonishment, fear or surprise. Unfortunately, lately it has been misused and abused. Princess Ameera Al-Taweel explains it beautifully in this video.

 

Ashhad an la illaha illa Allah, Ashhad an la illaha illa Allah: I testify that there is no God except God, I testify that there is no God except God. Muslims believe that there is only God and He is the Almighty, the Creator of everything and is the only one worthy of worship.

Ashhadu an Mohammad rasul Allah, Ashhadu an Mohammad rasul Allah: I testify that Mohammad is the messenger of God, I testify that Mohammed is the messenger of God. Muslims believe that God sent several messengers throughout time, with the same message for all mankind and Prophet Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him) is the last of these messengers. Hence, Muslims believe in all the prophets and messengers that preceded Prophet Mohammed, starting with Prophet Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc. (Peace Be Upon them All). Muslims also believe in all the holy revelations and scriptures that were sent with them, such as Prophet Abraham’s scriptures, the Zabur of Prophet David, the original Torah of Prophet Moses and the original Gospel of Prophet Jesus.

Haya alla el salah, Haya alla el salah: Welcome to prayer, welcome to prayer. The call for prayer is an invitation for Muslims to perform their prayer, spiritually connect with the Creator and disconnect from any worldly matters. It is a chance to thank God for his blessing, ask for forgiveness for any wrong doing and seek guidance throughout the day. Prayer is the moral compass for Muslims. If performed correctly and sincerely, it promotes God consciousness within them and makes them reflect on their actions from one prayer to the next and it also teaches discipline.

Haya alla el falah, haya alla el falah: Welcome to success, welcome to success. Success here is not measured by material gains or possessions but by good actions, which the prayer helps pursue.

La illaha illa Allah: There is no God worthy of worship except God

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar: God is the greatest, God is the greatest.

In the Dawn prayer a phrase is added after “welcome to success”, which is “Paryer is better than sleep, prayer is better than sleep”. As the dawn prayer is usually an hour before sunrise, this phrase is a reminder to worshippers that prayer should be a priority over comfort or anything else.

 

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