Eid Al Fitr 2017: Everything you need to know

Eid Al Fitr is likely to be observed on June 25 in most Muslim countries.

Muslims across the world will be hosting dozens of celebrations for Eid, including prayers, feasts and parades.

The date Eid falls this year depends on when Ramadan starts. The Islamic Crescent Observation Project (Icop) has said that astronomically Eid Al Fitr of Hijri year 1438 will be on Sunday, June 25 in most Muslim countries, considering that sighting of the moon is a precondition for the beginning of the month of Shawwal.

Here is everything you need to know about Eid Al Fitr:

What is Eid Al Fitr:

Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha are the two major festivals in Islam. Eid Al Fitr, or the ‘festival of breaking fast’, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawaal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The festival is celebrated by the 1.6 billion Muslims across the globe. The date for Eid Al Fitr is based on the lunar calendar.

When is it celebrated:

The celebration  of Eid Al Fitr is subjected to the appearance of moon which is why its observance varies from country to country. The process of the moon sighting begins on the 29th day of Ramadan. If the moon is sighted on the 29th, the next day is declared as Eid Al Fitr and the first day of the month of Shawaal.

In other case, Eid Al Fitr may be observed after fasting 30 days of Ramadan. Fasting on the day of Eid is forbidden in Islam.

How is it observed:

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast for 29 to 30 days from dawn to dusk. It is a month of worship and spiritual cleansing for Muslims. They not only refrain from eating and drinking but also stay away from any misdemeanour, sexual relations, bad language and sinful acts. Extensive acts of charity are performed during the month.

After a month of spiritual training and successful completion of Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr is a day of celebration for Muslims. It is celebrated as a day of reward and victory for all those having devoted themselves to good deeds and worships during Ramadan.

How is it celebrated:

The mode of celebrating  Eid Al Fitr is majorly the same across the world.

The day begins with Eid prayer which follows the regular morning prayer. Eid prayer is obligatory for men and women to be performed in congregation. It is held is mosques and large ground also called as Eidgah. Eid greetings are exchanged between friends, family and strangers too. The celebrations of Eid Al Fitr can last up to three days. It is customary to wear new clothes, prepare a variety of dishes. In many Asian countries, elders give eidi (money) to children as a goodwill. Muslims visit their friends and relatives to exchange Eid greetings.

Public sector holidays

The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources has announced that Eid Al Fitr holiday for federal ministries and authorities in the UAE will begin on Saturday, 29th Ramadan (corresponding to June 24).

Private sector holidays

The Ministry of Labour has declared that the Eid Al Fitr holiday, as an official paid holiday for all private sector employees in the UAE, will be on the first and second days of Shawwal.


No WhatsApp calls in the UAE, authority clarifies

It was almost like a WhatsApp dream come true for UAE residents on Thursday morning when the blocked free call feature was enabled on the Instant messaging service.

But dreams don’t last, and so do the free calls.

The euphoria was short-lived as the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was quick to clarify that there was no change in the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) policy in the country.

TRA said in the statement that any applications or services of this type must comply with the applicable regulatory framework in the country.

Before the official clarification that the voice and video calls are not enabled in the country, Social media was abuzz with the ‘Finally!! WhatsApp Calling is Unblocked” news. And mobile phones did not stop ringing as elated residents took the opportunity to freely connect with their friends and family back home.

“I could not believe it. I pressed the call button on WhastApp by mistake and the phone was ringing, and my brother was saying hello on the other side,” said Prithvi. R, an Indian expat.

“So convenient and economic for all expats in UAE. My monthly bills scares me always because of international calls I make. Honestly, this will help all of us who miss our loved ones,” wrote Diana Lama, a MakeOver expert, on her Facebook wall.

Mohammed Hafsal, a watchman said he spoke to his wife three times since morning. “I burn half of my salary on calling my family. This is a great blessing,” said Hafsal.

“Yess!! That removes the need of another app on my phone, Skype,” tweeted another resident.

There were also skeptic ‘tweeple’ who warned the service is temporarily enabled due to a glitch.

The cheers soon died down with the official clarification on the matter that WhatsApp calling is not unblocked in the UAE.

The blocking of free calling service is a debated subject in the UAE with a Federal National Council member advocating for a lift in the restriction in the 2016 April session. Etisalat and Du, the two telecom companies in the UAE have also blocked the Snapchat’s voice calling features last year when an upgrade of the app introduced the feature.

But TRA maintains that “VoIP services are still a prerogative of the licensed providers who reserve the right to provide such services through their networks. Companies wishing to offer such services must co-ordinate with the licensed telecom providers in the UAE”.

Mohammed Mustafa Saidalavi, COO of Emirates Safer Internet Society said he would love to see a free quality tool where people can make free calls but “not at the cost of safety and security.”

“As a security and online child protection expert, I have concerns about enabling free Whats App calls that are encrypted. I will not endorse any tools that will allow criminals and anti-social elements to use encrypted calls and messages,” said Saidalavi.

We tried making a WhatsApp call before uploading this story and found that it was already blocked in the region.

Let us know if it has been blocked on your handsets too.


New e-system to register drones discussed

Abu Dhabi: The Light Air Sports Committee on Thursday met to discuss the government’s strategy for registering air-system products including drones through a new electronic system prior to their import or export.
The meeting, presided by chairman Ahmad Nasser Al Raisi, inspector-general at the Ministry of Interior and head of the Light Sports Aircraft Systems Committee, discussed the legal procedures, penalties, and fines that violators of the Civil Aviation Law in the UAE may face.

New regulations come after a series of temporary airport closures in recent years due to illegal drones wandering into sensitive airspace.
Al Raisi pointed out that the new law focuses on the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) products used in various fields in the country. He said that these products must be registered with the official authorities who will then assign a code number to the drones and monitor them in the market and in the air.
The system will also be used to develop a federal database of the products that will be traded in the UAE market, he said, adding that the committee’s technical team and a number of companies that provide protection systems from UAVs are studying the system that has been put in place.

The committee will visit the departments and institutions concerned with the supervision and inspection of all shops that sell the products in the UAE to familiarize them with the laws and regulations and to ensure their implementation.
Al Raisi emphasized that the implementation of the laws and regulations was crucial in limiting the random spread and misuse of UAVs.
He explained that according to the Federal Civil Aviation law No. 20 of 1991 regarding sanctions and crimes, Article (69) confirms that violators will be imprisoned for not less than a year or fined not more than Dh50,000 or punished by both.
According to Article (70), anyone launching a UAV without a registered license will be imprisoned for not more than three years and fined not more than Dh100,000 or they will receive either of the two punishments.


How to stay fit and healthy during Ramadan

Ever feel like you’re about to crash during Ramadan? Justifiably, fasting can have that effect. But you don’t have to spend the holy month feeling exhausted.
Here’s how to maintain a healthy and balanced diet as told by in-house nutritionist Lulwa Alarmali at luxury Dubai gym Embody Fitness.
1. Stay hydrated
Don’t leave all your water-intake to the last few hours of your day, Alarmali advices. To stay hydrated during your fast, aim for 250-500ml of water per hour during the hours you’re not fasting. Otherwise, the body will excrete it if it’s too much in one go.
2. Avoid crashing
Don’t break your fast with high sugar or large amounts of refined carbohydrates such as white breads, pastries, white rice, and juices or sodas, Alarmali says. “This will result in an insulin spike followed shortly by a crash, which will trigger cravings for more high-sugar foods, resulting in somewhat of a cycle.
Instead, to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and eliminate bad craving, consume foods high in protein and healthy fats, and choose slow digesting carbohydrates,” she says.
3. Thermodynamics & electrolyte balance
The concept of thermodynamics (energy in versus energy out) still applies to weight management during Ramadan, according to the expert, making it possible for people to gain weight or lose it depending on the amount of food they consume between the Maghreb and Fajer prayers.
“Electrolyte balance is important in order to avoid feelings of thirst. Before the Fajer prayer, have a banana or a few dates for their potassium content. If you’re avoiding sugary foods, have an electrolyte drink or powdered greens mixed with water,” she says.

4. Protein power
“If you train before breaking your fast, it’s important to supplement immediately with fast-digesting proteins and possibly carbs. Whey protein is a great option for breaking your fast, before starting your main meal.
BCAAs or an essential amino acid drink works just as well if you’re avoiding dairy, as whey comes from milk. Casein is a slow digesting milk protein, which can be taken before the Fajer prayer to provide a slow releasing source of protein during the fast,” says Alarmali.


Swiss hotel firm inks deal to run two Kuwait properties

Swiss-Belhotel International has entered into a management agreement with Omniyat Real Estate to operate two new properties in Kuwait.
The hotel operator said in a statement that both Swiss-Belboutique Bneid Al Gar and Swiss-Belresidences Al Sharq are under development and expected to open in 2018.
Laurent A Voivenel, Swiss-Belhotel International’s senior vice president, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India, said he sees Kuwait as a key growth market in the Guf region.
“The hospitality industry in the country is witnessing a remarkable growth at the moment and we are truly grateful to Omniyat Real Estate for having given us this great opportunity,” he said.
The steady growth of tourism in Kuwait, with a vision to welcome 440,000 visitors annually by 2024 is fuelling demand for quality hotels, he added.
Swiss-Belboutique Bneid Al Gar will offer 58 rooms while the Swiss-Belresidences Al Sharq will feature a choice of 68 one and two bedroom hotel apartments with fully-equipped kitchen facilities.
Dr Abdullah Abdulsamad Marafi, owner and general manager, Omniyat Real Estate, said: “We are very pleased to partner with a reputed operator like Swiss-Belhotel International who is well-placed to meet the needs of the domestic market in accordance with the best international standards.”
The announcement comes as Kuwait is pressing ahead with multiple plans to boost tourism that will see billions of dollars being invested in projects such as the expansion of Kuwait International Airport and development of cultural attractions like Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Islamic Centre.
According to figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism investment in Kuwait is set to rise 1.5 percent per annum over the next 10 years.
Corporate travellers accounted for 70 percent of total visitor arrivals in Kuwait in 2016 but the country is actively working to diversify its guest segmentation in order to secure the projected levels of growth over the coming years.


Awok.com rolls out its expansion plans

As the e-commerce battle in the Middle East heats up, and mergers and acquisitions become an integral part of the landscape, Dubai-based online retailer awok.com is slowly, but carefully planning a regional rollout.
The e-commerce in the MENA is becoming competitive and aggressive with US-based internet retailer Amazon.com buying Souq.com; Jadopado.com being acquired by a technology fund led by billionaire Mohamed Alabbar; and $1bn noon.com set to launch.
The competition is not unsettling for Ulugbek Yuldashev, the founder and chief executive of awok.com. With more than 3 million registered users — 75 percent of whom are repeat customers — and more than a million products delivered every month in the UAE, he is confident of regional success.
The company released its beta version for Saudi Arabia in April 2017.
“After having launched the beta version, we noticed a huge growth in customer numbers, which is increasing three to four folds on a week-on-week basis,” he tells Arabian Business in an exclusive interview.
A full-scale operation is most likely to start before the end of the year, he says.
As for the other four GCC nations [Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar], the company will begin operation with a cross-border delivery service.
“We will be operating with a cross-border delivery service in the first year, and then see if a local presence is required or not,” says the 33-year-old Kyrgyzstan entrepreneur.


UAE’s mobile phone penetration rises to 228%

Mobile phone usage in the UAE increased to 228.3 phones per 100 people in the first quarter of 2017, according to statistics issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
There was also an increase of more than 132,000 new subscriptions in March compared to February, state news agency WAM reported.
This led to a jump in the total number of subscriptions to 19.8 million, it added.
The authority’s statistics highlighted that the largest increase in subscriptions was in prepaid mobile phone services, which gained around 104,000 in March, while contract services increased by 28,000 during the same period.
The UAE is ranked first in the Arab region in terms of the readiness of its telecommunications networks, according to a study published by the World Economic Forum and 26th globally.


UAE’s first woman filmmaker kicks off her latest movie venture in Dubai

Nayla Al Khaja, considered the UAE’s first woman filmmaker, has held her first film club event in partnership with Roxy Cinemas in Dubai.
The Scene Club, which is a monthly gathering held exclusively with Roxy Cinemas, will screen independent films at Box Park and City Walk. By registering at thesceneclub.com, anyone can attend based on a first-come, first-serve basis. Limited seats are available depending on the venue.
The Scene Club met recently and screened the film Paterson, which was directed by Jim Jarmusch. Actor Barry Henley, who stars in the film as Doc, sat in on the discussion with the audience afterwards.
The movie was shown in Roxy’s newest cinema in Box Park, which has a 1950 feel. The venue has maroon leather seats, antique spotlights, old-fashioned wallpaper and vintage curtains, which together create a great setting for any film buff.
When speaking to Arabian Business, Al Khaja said the opening “was splendid”.
“People’s expectation of the launch was definitely met with positive praise,” Al Khaja said.
She mentioned how glad she was that Henley could be there to help celebrate the club’s first screening with Roxy.
“It was great to see an actor flying from LA to visit Dubai, interacting with the audience and with people in the same industry,” Al Khaja said.
She went on to say that it was Henley’s first visit to the region.
“[Henley] gave us a unique insight into how his acting career started, the challenges he faced, his work-life balance, his family and how the film industry differs in Hollywood,” Al Khaja said.
Said Henley: “Music plays a very big role for me in being an actor. For me, I hear the music of scripts before I even learn the lines.”
When asked what makes a good actor, he said: “A person that brings the truth, however you arrive at it. It’s just a person that you believe, you don’t have to go to school for that.”
Al Khaja is optimistic about the future for The Scene Club. Not only will the club be screening independent foreign films, but it will also offer a film production series titled Made in the UAE that will offer a monthly guide on tips and tricks for local filmmakers.
Al Khaja wants Made in the UAE to provide anyone with an interest in filmmaking with a platform for discussions about local films as well as filmmaking techniques.
She hopes it will offer an opportunity for people to see talented individuals, and to learn from industry veterans, thereby acting as “a stepping stone,” Al Khaja said.


One killed, 14 injured in multiple Dubai crashes

One person died and 14 others were injured in a number of traffic accidents in Dubai since Friday.
Dubai Police director general of traffic department Brigadier General Saif Muhair Al Mazrouei said one person died after suffering serious injuries in a collision between a light vehicle and a truck on last Friday on Emirates Road, near Al Maktoum Airport.
The accident happened due to the lack of attention and speeding of the light vehicle, which collided with a truck from the back. The crash killed the driver while three people suffered moderate injuries.
The second incident took place on Friday when a light vehicle collided with a cyclist, resulting in the seriously injures to him.
The third incident took place in Dubai Media City, where a Range Rover collided with a cyclist, severely injured the rider.
On Saturday, a pedestrian was seriously injured after car hit him near the Iranian consulate, while eight people were injured when two buses collided after one of the buses jumped the red signal.
Al Mazrouei urged road users to abide by the laws, regulations and traffic regulations and not to endanger their lives and the lives of others.