Tag Archive | Abu Dhabi

44 and Going Strong…

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The past few days have been filled with lovely fun to-do’s.

It’s UAE’s (United Arab Emirates ) 44th National Day which is celebrated on the 2nd December of each year and several days following.

This is to mark their formal nationalization from a British Protectorate to the unification of  their Seven Emirates which consists of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain.

Very grand celebrations are held across the country to mark the event. They don’t do things in half measures!

There are several activities going on all over the Emirates to mark this auspicious event. Fireworks, Car Rallies and Dance Shows etc.

People are dressed up in apparels sporting the UAE national flag colours, homes, work places,  cars and streets are all flying the flag to celebrate this big day with joy and happiness.1449243683713[1]

Heritage Villages are set up all over the emirates in order to celebrate this event traditionally. Holidays are given from the National Day until two days later. Air Shows are conducted on Abu Dhabi and Ajman Corniche while Military Processions are held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition for the Rulers of the Emirates, Members of the Federal National Exhibition and the Emir Citizens.

For a Nation which started out as an utter dessert, they have not done badly, as a matter of fact, they have done a fantastic job of things and yet their push and progress is relentless.

Having meandered from Abu Dhabi; the sedate big brother in the house, to living in Dubai; the bold, glitzy and glamorous brother, to Sharjah, Ajman and Ras al-Khaimah; the rest of the crew, it’s a World of so many differences and textures.

It has been a beautiful day filled with camaraderie. People from all walks of life and 100 Nationalities are milling about in the city of glitz and glam.

I have seen more smiles in the past 2 days than in the 4 months that I have been here.

I even met a gorgeous looking lady from Mongolia and a couple from Tajikistan..Didn’t expect that and it took my brain a while to zero into Tajikistan on the globe.

Here are a few snippets of what I caught.

I hope they work. They were a bit finicky earlier.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

We took a glimpse and we were in awe…

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We had driven past the mosque along the express sometime in the past and its magnificent structure beckoned to my eyes….

We had no idea that we could visit as non-Muslims, but following inquiries we were duly informed of the visiting hours and the required observations.

We earmarked a day to visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

A lot of people may not know this, but the Grand Mosque was started as a vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was known for adopting a tolerant version of Islamic faith and for staying far away from fanaticism or extremism.

He imagined a place of worship that would help people come together. To understand Islam and to see it as a religion that has a message of peace, tolerance and diversity.
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A leisurely 2 hour drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi; with pit stops made at gas stations for a run to the loo (when you have children with you, prepare your mind for such incidentals) and to grab a cup of Tim Horton’s or Starbucks coffee and donuts.

We had eaten before leaving, yet an expedition has a way of rousing the nibbling juices.

It was blazing hot! Around 41 degrees Celsius if my guess was correct, but thankfully, there are shaded areas as you walk to the location where you have to obtain a compulsory ”Abaya” for the ladies before venturing into the mosque.

There were bus loads of tourists queued to acquire one, but the process is swift and efficient. They had loads and loads of Abaya! Soon we were on our way.

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The shiny starkness of the white marbled building that literally glinted in the sun left me bereft of words to describe my thoughts.

We had to leave our footwear in a sea of footwear a mile long at least and walked into the mosque which was refreshingly cool.

I observed that the marble flooring outside the mosque, which I had expected would be baking hot was cool. It must have had some sort of cooling system because our feet did not roast!

The splendour! The magnificence and the entire experience was sublime.

It stole one’s breath away and pulled at the inner chords of warmth and peace deep within you.

It left the heart feeling full and at rest.

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I realized that, we all, are on the same quest for the same thing which is centered on Love, Peace and Acceptance, even though peoples means of arriving at that destination differs.

I think that the confusion lies in our minds as faulty humans and not in the hands of God. Our genetic make up does not have any religion stamped on it. We are first created humans before anything else!

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Allah Akbar means God is greater than anything else on Earth and that is not debatable! A Muslim enters the ritual of prayer and divine presence after uttering Allah Akbar. It is akin to the sign of the Cross made by Catholics and I am Catholic!

Indeed, God is the Greatest! God does not promote violence or lies!

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

P.S. Unfortunately some of the videos that I took are not uploading and my pictures don’t do justice to the Mosque!

In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 13 Assignment: compose a series of vignettes. I am doubtful about my take on the assignment, but if the Truth be told, I am leaving it as it is.