Tag Archives: Muslim

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.



Leave a comment

Filed under culture, religion

Mouloud – The Commemoration of the Day of Birth of Prophet Mohammed’s 2015

Muslims around the world mark this Thursday, December 24th, the birth of the prophet Muhammed, Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH), the last prophet of God who spread the message of Islam. He was born on Monday, 12 or 17th Rabi’ Al-Awal, in the Islamic calendar, in the year 570 in the Gregorian calendar, in the town of Mecca, which is in now Saudi Arabia. His name derives from the Arabic verb ‘hamada’, meaning ‘to praise, to glorify’. Prophet Muhammed was an orphan whose father ‘Abdallah’ died before he was born and his mother ‘Amina’ died when he was only 6 years old. He was raised by his Grand father ‘Abdul Multalib’ and later by his uncle ‘Abu Talib.’  He was known across Mecca for his kindness of heart, correctness of manners and purity of morals. At the age of 40 he received the revelation from God on the mount of Hira, through the Angel Gabriel and spent the rest of his life uniting mankind together for the purpose of worshipping the One God of Adam and all the other prophets, peace be upon them all.

During his 60 years of life prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught several important principles and morals, and even set forth rules for combat. He taught Muslims that all humans are equal regardless of their race, color and nationality. Moreover he instructed them not to hurt, hate, transgress against, put down or despise others. He was not only a prophet and messenger of God, but a social reformer, a moral guide, a statesman, a faithful friend, a devoted husband and a loving father. Therefore, he is considered the best example of behavior for Muslims, and according to the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the most excellent example for all of humanity. He was sent as a mercy to all mankind, he said:

The compassionate one (God) has mercy on those who are merciful, if you show mercy to those on earth, He Who is in heaven will show mercy to you

Even non-Muslim historians recognize him to as one of the most successful personalities in history. His complete biography has been authenticated and circulated amongst scholars around the world.

Here is some of what these scholars said about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), amongst them Michael H. Hart author of the book “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History” New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc. 1978, p. 33, who said

My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.

This is what Karen Armstrong, best-selling British author said about the compassion of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

In his 23 years of prophethood he transformed the Arab peninsula form paganism to the worship of one God; from tribal wars to solidarity and cohesion; from moral bankruptcy and lawlessness to the highest standard of moral excellence and disciplined living.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who spent his life spreading the message of Islam and peace, left us with these important words in his last sermon before his death, in the year 632 in Medina also in Saudi Arabia, reminding us to live in peace and good relations with God, oneself and others:

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action…

Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.”


Filed under News

Hajj Explained by SMCCU & Eid Mubarak

Issue 45

Elements of Culture

Hajj Explained

One of the 5 Acts of Worship

During this lunar calendar month of Dhul Hijah, millions of pilgrims from all over the world will make their way to the city Mecca to visit the Kabbah, the first house and holiest place of worship. Tradition holds that the Kabbah is built near the very spot Adam and Eve first prayed on earth, and is rebuilt by Ibrahim and his son Ismail – an order from Allah. Since that day, the Kabbah has been a place of pilgrimage. Today, Muslims from all levels of society, all cultures & colors, male & female make the trip once in a life time to this place as was taught in the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH. Pilgrims perform rituals which commemorate the story of the Prophet Ibrahim. The Hajj, one of the 5 acts of worship is due upon all Muslims and is to be performed once in a lifetime if you have the means (financial) and you are physically able to do so, and the path to Mecca is safe. It is a time for spiritual contemplation, asking for forgiveness from the Lord, and reflecting on one’s life.


Pilgrimage to Mecca – Hajj


Pilgrims on the Mountain of Arafat

Unity of Mankind

The unity and equality of all pilgrims start with the dress. Men wear two pieces of unstitched white cloth and women wear a simple dress with no frills, symbolic yet meaningful. The purpose is to humble and remind us that we are all one human race, equal except by what is in our hearts and our good deeds, which can only be judged by God/Allah. In summary, pilgrims from all over gather in worship no separation between them in any form (color, language, ethnicity, status or background) seeking forgiveness and Mercy. Once all rituals are all fulfilled, the Hajj is complete and pilgrims will celebrate Eid Al Adha, the Festival of the Sacrifice.

Eid Al Adha
The Eid begins with a congregational Eid Prayer held after the dawn prayers the morning after the Day of Arafat, one of the most important parts of the pilgrimage. That day, worshippers gather at the “Mountain of Mercy” from the break of dawn until sunset. The following day after the Eid Prayers, most Muslims will sacrifice a sheep, whose meat is distributed in thirds – 1/3 to your immediate family, 1/3 to friends and neighbors 1/3 to the poor people. It is a happy occasion where the Hajj goers are congratulated and people gather to share a meal and gifts. These festivities last for 5 days in the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed, PBUH.

Please visit our website at www.cultures.ae for more information about our programs or by contacing the SMCCU offices at 9714 353 6666. To Share, Like or Download a PDF version of this article – Issue 45 – Hajj Explained


Leave a comment

Filed under News

SMCCU Training Young Emiratis to Carry the Torch

SMCCU welcomes our young generation to join our programmes and be part of our Culture Awareness Academy,  where they can  learn about our own culture, history, traditions, and the faith Islam and how to convey this information accurately to others. Our aim is to equip the young generation with the knowledge and the skills needed to keep up with the rapid growth of the UAE and the place that it holds in the modern, technology advanced world.

It is without a doubt not easy for our youth who are born and raised in the UAE.  Living in a multi-cultural city, they are asked questions  by so many from all over the world.    To be equipped to demystify, explain and represent our culture to the world can be daunting,  especially when  the  worldwide media gives a mostly negative point of you, and of course ignores the positive. That’s why  SMCCU is the perfect venue, where you can come, meet, learn, practice and build your knowledge, self-esteem, and  become confident with knowledge  of our heritage, history, past and faith.  So join us, you will without a doubt gain something immeasurable.

As to our guests(Expats) and visiting tourists, we are glad to have you come ask any question you have in mind, let us learn about one another; we learn from your culture as you learn from ours as we exchange our talks in the most open way under the “Open doors. Open minds” banner.  Hope to see you soon; login and book anytime.  http://www.cultures.ae/index.php?Itemid=710


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Business Culture Insight: Emirati Vs Chinese hosted at SMCCU

FDR_8042The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding was honored to host local leaders from the Chinese business community for an interactive and bridge building dialogue at the centre. Organized by  Lucy Chuang of the Global Sino Consultancy and  sponsored by Shihab Mohammad Shihab Gargash, director of Commercial Bank of Dubai and Gargash Enterprises, Emiratis and the Chinese Business community gathered to talk culture, business, and collaboration in the UAE.  Various traditional Emirati practices and terms were discussed beginning with how Bedouin hosts would accommodate a guest with traditional Gahaweh Arabia, how to conduct a meeting and socialise and the meanings of some commonFDR_8082 arabic terms like wasta and Inshallah, and how to build long-term professional relationships.  On that issue, both  Acting General Manager  of Petrochina International Middle East and Captain Song Wang, chairman of the Chinese Business Council, Wu Qiunan commented in regards to commonalities among the cultures, “When Chinese do business, it’s important for us that we build trust with our partners first, and we honour our word to them.” Qiang LI – Deputy General Manager, Agricultural Bank of China and Yu Tao – President/CEO, China State Construction Corporation were also in attendance at the event.   Lucy Chuang of the Global Sino Consultancy organizer of  the event chose the back drop of the  SMCCU as a perfect atmosphere to showcase authentic Emirati hospitality.

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, News

Youth from All Over the Globe Visit SMCCU

The SMCCU has received 21 Universities from all over the globe in the first third of 2013 and has become a must visit and first stop for many educational institutions coming to Dubai. Students attend our programmes  to get a firsthand look at the traditions and culture of the people of the UAE through our well established programmes which include  Cultural Meals, Masjid Visits, and Heritage  Tours of the Al Fahidi Historic District. The area, which houses the centre  is unique and represents the humble beginnings of this nation in an interesting juxtaposition of old and new, with its historic landmarks and more modern galleries.  The centre’s focus is to give visiting universities the opportunity to explore Dubai throughout its diverse history, and leave with an understanding of how the people’s resourcefulness and adaptability to their harsh living environment is unmistakably who the Emirati is and remains to be today.   They value their rich past, and this enables them to retain and embrace their history and traditions, while using their experiences and skills to help catapult their small communities into a now burgeoning metropolis.  Topics range from Arab history, Arabic culture,  basic precepts of the Islamic faith and how they effect the economic, social, political, and religious standards and foundation of this region.  The sessions as always start with the motto, ” Open Doors. Open Minds.” and students are free to ask any question on their mind with our promise to answer in a frank, open and honest way. . The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, and therefore students leave with a sense of having a truly authentic and enlightening experience.

From North American visitors included Boston University, California State University, Kogod School of Business, University of Maryland, Kenan Flagler (UNC), Duke University,West Virginia University, Robert H Smith School of Business, Harvard College, and Pacific Lutheran University. From Europe and Asia visitors included, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Utrecht University School of Law, The University of Utrecht School of Economics, Hogeschool Rotterdam, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Universite Nice Sophia Antipolis, Vrije Universiteit and University of Groningen, Leiden Law School, Bocconi  University, Heinrich-Heine University.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1 Comment

Filed under Events, News

Zayed University Job Fair Attracts Young Emiratis

The SMCCU participated in the Zayed University Job Fair this week.  Current volunteers and interns welcomed interested young Emiratis to look at SMCCU for future careers, training and volunteering for our cause.  The centre’s focus is to not only educate expats and visitors about the culture and tradition of the people of the Emirates, but to train young Emiratis as ambassadors and representatives of the UAE. The programme includes buiding their knowledge of the past, as well as providing them with full training in public speaking and presenting. Our Cultural Awareness Academy helps give the participants practical experience in public speaking, improving their effectiveness, polishing their delivery and preparing them for whatever career path they later choose.  Of course, successful participants in the programme are welcome to become a permanent part of  the SMCCU, and there are full,  part-time, volunteer and freelance opportunities available. If you are looking for an exciting and rewarding place to kick start your carreer, you may fill out an application online at http://www.cultures.ae/JobApplicationForm.pdf .  Visit us in the Bastakiya or join one of the many events going on in the centre weekly.  Last year more than 41,500 visitors participated in SMCCU programmes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

Filed under News