Posted By Veiled Muslimah on/at 10/08/2008 07:18:00 PM

Assalāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhi Wabarakath,

A disco in Dubai exemplifies the emirate's moderating influences.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — In his old life in Cairo, Rami Galal knew his place and his fate: to become a maintenance man in a hotel, just like his father. But here, in glittering, manic Dubai, he is confronting the unsettling freedom to make his own choices.

Here Mr. Galal, 24, drinks beer almost every night and considers a young Russian prostitute his girlfriend. But he also makes it to work every morning, not something he could say when he lived back in Egypt. Everything is up to him, everything: what meals he eats, whether he goes to the mosque or a bar, who his friends are.

“I was more religious in Egypt,” Mr. Galal said, taking a drag from yet another of his ever-burning Marlboros. “It is moving too fast here. In Egypt there is more time, they have more control over you. It’s hard here. I hope to stop drinking beer; I know it’s wrong. In Egypt, people keep you in check. Here, no one keeps you in check.”

In Egypt, and across much of the Arab world, there is an Islamic revival being driven by young people, where faith and ritual are increasingly the cornerstone of identity. But that is not true amid the ethnic mix that is Dubai, where 80 percent of the people are expatriates, with 200 nationalities.

This economically vital, socially freewheeling yet unmistakably Muslim state has had a transforming effect on young men. Religion has become more of a personal choice and Islam less of a common bond than national identity.

Dubai is, in some ways, a vision of what the rest of the Arab world could become — if it offered comparable economic opportunity, insistence on following the law and tolerance for cultural diversity. In this environment, religion is not something young men turn to because it fills a void or because they are bowing to a collective demand.

That, in turn, creates an atmosphere that is open not only to those inclined to a less observant way of life, but also to those who are more religious. In Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Algeria, a man with a long beard is often treated as an Islamist — and sometimes denied work. Not here in Dubai.

“Here, I can practice my religion in a natural and free way because it is a Muslim country and I can also achieve my ambition at work,” said Ahmed Kassab, 30, an electrical engineer from Zagazig Egypt, who wears a long dark beard and has a prayer mark on his forehead. “People here judge the person based on productivity more than what he looks like. It’s different in Egypt, of course.”

Read the whole article here:

I first saw this on the UAE Community Blog, and then later it was e-mailed to me by a friend.

Although I find New York Times to be biased, especially their articles in 'Generation Faithful', this was a good read. The article gives you an in-sight into Dubai, 'the land of Mosques and Bars.'

In the end though, I truly believe your decisions are based on your actions. Yes, the environment and other outer-factors might influence you but no one is forcing you to go clubbing or drinking in a bar, whilst no one is forcing you to attend a Mosque for your prayers. It depends on you as an individual that you make the right choices.

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The very heart of Islam written by: Linus ********** October 20, 1997 said...

All this "strangeness" about Islam happens because peole are ignorant about it. People need to know the most impotant thing that Islam teaches - TAWHEED. They need to know the very heart of Islam -

Anonymous said...

all the Women must be covered head-to-toe in Burqa at all times!!

For it is written in the Mighty Book, that all who do not obey these commands are stricken with the Devil's blight, that of Shaitan!!

I am Brother Abu Zubaff.

Mohammed UK said...

Perhaps related in a way...

Anonymous said...

'In the end though, I truly believe your decisions are based on your actions.'

I actually thought it would be the opposite that the actions we do, are based on the decisions we make.
I suppose it's different for everyone.

It's upsetting to read how distant the people of Dubai are from the religion of Islam. I blame materialism and the tourism industry for this. People have sold their conscience and religion just for the pleasure of this world

Hajar said...


Quite distressing.

Rather than blaming materialism and the tourism industry, I choose to blame the people themselves for not being able to maintain and hold on strongly to their beliefs.

I suppose it's different to others too.


Anonymous said...

This shows the ugly side of the city. Sometimes we brush it under the carpet, but the facts remain. It is an undeniable reality.

Ofcourse, the environment for piety also remain available, alhumdullilah.

In the end, it all depends on what you choose to see & do.

Veiled Muslimah said...

hfm, lol, sorry, I phrashed that wrong! I didn't re-read what I wrote until now, but I knew something was wrong. Thanks. :) But that is what I meant though, it also makes sense, you make decisions and then take actions. :S Blunder.

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Musings, Articles and Ramblings of a Muslim Woman which range from a variety of different subjects.

Location: Dubai - United Arab Emirates.
The believers are only those who, when Allâh is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur'ân) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone).
Surat Al-Anfal - Verse 2
The Holy Qurán