By Mudassir Raja
Ramadan is not just a month of abstinence. It also completely changes the daily life pattern. The holy month is more prominent in Qatar being a Muslim country.
Since there are expatriates from across the world, they tend to have different and distinct experiences of celebrating and enjoying the month of Ramadan in Qatar.
Elizabeth Wood is a British Muslim living in Qatar. A spontaneous and curious person, she has been living here for about 10 years. The thing she loves the most about Ramadan is cementing her connection with the Creator.
Community recently got in touch with her and asked her views on experiencing Ramadan in Qatar.
Introducing herself, Elizabeth said: “I value connection and creativity. I adapt easily and enjoy change and new environments, so being an expatriate in Qatar is enjoyable for me. I moved here alone when I was 23 years young to begin my career after graduating from university in Leeds, UK.
“I have lived in Qatar for 10 years, and now have a lovely family of my own. I am an empowerment coach and founder of Inspire Me – a coaching practice based in The Pearl-Qatar.
When asked how has her understanding of Ramadan changed after she moved to Qatar, Elizabeth said: “My understanding of Ramadan has not really changed even after I moved to Qatar, especially from the religious point of view. I think I have just noticed certain things more and have become increasingly aware of different perspectives and understood some cultural differences. I can differentiate them clearly from Islamic practices. In the UK, I started observing Ramadan when I was 19 years old, my first Ramadan as a Muslim, and followed closely the spiritual aspects rather than any cultural or ethnic practices associated with Ramadan.”
When asked that if she carries out some particular activity during Ramadan, Elizabeth said: “Yes of course. One of my most consistent one is the daily activity of Iftar, breaking of the fast, with the family. For me, it occurs at sunset following the Mughrib prayer. Yet another activity that I follow persistently is Taraweeh prayers which are held at the mosque only during the month of Ramadan, every evening until around 9:15pm. This is something new that I am doing this year consistently.25
“Further, I am hosting weekly workshops every Tuesday night on various personal development topics. Themes of the workshops are related to Ramadan but not limited to talking about Ramadan. Titles such as ‘Setting Intentions’, ‘Good Deeds’, ‘Tolerance’ and others are regularly taken up at the workshops.”
“If someone would like to attend for free they are welcome: www.inspireme.qa / IG: @inspiremeqa Workshops are held every Tuesday 9pm at Regal Market Cafe Tower 14, The Pearl. Regular timings are 6pm other than Ramadan).”
In response to a question on how she sees the Muslims in Qatar celebrating Ramadan, Elizabeth said: “That is a hard question to answer as there are thousands of Muslims in Qatar and they all celebrate Ramadan differently depending on their lifestyle, commitment to spirituality, family dynamics and other factors. I would be generalising, if I were to answer, based on what I see on a daily basis. The one thing that I notice vividly as a general observation is that the Ramadan celebrations here are more and more embossed in culture.
About the question that what one good thing she has learnt about Ramadan, the British expatriate said: “If I can choose only one good thing? It would be connection. I connect to my Creator and in turns to myself and everything around me at a more heightened degree. It makes me happy as connection is one of my core values.”
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