Thoughts on Dubai

Thoughts on Dubai

I have heard a lot about Dubai from various people. I recenly have made a number of trips there and I thought I should share with you what I think about Dubai.I must say I am impressed that the Ruling Emirs have had foresight enough to realise that their oil wealth will not last forever and so they have put that wealth to use by aggressively developing Dubai in to a thriving Business & Commerce centre and tourist resort; really top marks to the Makhtooms for this foresight. However, there is a down side. The down side is the over-westernisation of Dubai, whilst it remains a Muslim country standards of dress and conduct are very permissive. I think that with the influx of western tourists, the influence of their dress has filtered through to the population. I noted whilst walking around that a lot of young Arab women have adopted the “midriff exposing” mode of dress, and there is, what seemed to me a lot of boyfriend/girlfriend type couples walking around. I was staying in one hotel where the foreign hotel staff, Filipino ladies, were wearing quite short skirts and this surprised me. I would expect that a country such as Dubai would at least dictate a minimum decent standard of dress for both men and women, especially in public places. Having said that, female Government officials are pretty well hijabed.

I was pretty shocked at Arab TV in general, it seemed to me that there is a lot of innuendo in the programmes. Whilst channel hopping and waiting for “al-Rihla with Shaykh Hamza” show, I noticed an Arab pop video and was flabbergasted by it. By western standards it would be considered mild titilation, but even mild titilation from an Islamic stand point is indecent, this is all the more worse when you consider the Holy Month of Ramadan as well. There is also religious programming but it is very boring, usually you have some stern-faced Shaykh sitting there sermonising and taking phone calls for an hour, ya Shaykh “smile your on TV!” There is one redeeming show and that was the recent “al-Rihla with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf” aired at Iftar time on MBC. The production on the show this year has been nothing short of excellent, the show had a reaaly creative director [Eissa Bougary] and a great production crew that has produced probably the slickest, professional and visually stunning show in the history of Arab TV programming. Both style and content are absolutely superb, well done the director (and good friend) Eissa Bougary and the rest of the production crew.

I will be back with some more comments on Dubai, insha’Allah.



12 thoughts on “Thoughts on Dubai

  1. I agree with you observations on Dubai Masud.

    Having flown to Dubai a few times, I have seen the changes over the last 20 years. A dry uneventful desert landscape with a few rise hotels and apartment blocks, Dubai was little known more of a crossing bridge for people from the far-east and Asia. Trade was always good, and the immigrant community was small and found in pockets of Sharjah and Rasal Khama etc.

    Now as Masud rightly comments things are certainly different. But what did we expect when the young Arab sons and daughters come back from studying in the west, in Europe, England and America, what else do we expect but for the affluent new cultured next generation to mimic their new found masters.

    Sad I know, but that is reality. Dubai is America, with a few hijabs thrown in. Think of it as if the whole of America has embraced Islam, there are still strong traces of previous cultural habits like short skirts, high raised glossed buildings etc… We often forget that we have offered little in returned to what we have received; good or bad from the west. But Dubai is a cleaner and little more sophisticated version of the states.

    I guess, until we change the whole approach of our “dawah” little change is on its merry way. We still blame each other for the wrongs in our communities, for simply still cannot forgive each other for the wrongs done and finally we have simply stopped to even think that this deen is based on something worthy of aspiring to.

    What I hear about Dubai today is that more underground Casino’s are on their way and a greater influx of prostitution is also being branded in from neighbouring countries. Some may be shocked and what I write but again I would suggest that we just look at the begins of the western countries, originally setting off with high ideals and morals then as things progressed; like the movie “Its a Wonderful Life” humanity some how finds itself in “Pottersville”, because “George” (that?s supposed to be you and I) stopped trying.

    Time maybe short, but its still enough for us to turn this last boat safely back home. Don’t be so distraught with US elections, a wise old man once send about politics;

    “…every season I look at that tree, it changes colours, and even the leaves fall, and then one day the leaves come back and again this cycle repeats. But keep one thing in mind, the bark of the tree, its branches and twigs never change, in fact they remain firmly fixed
    often only growing further, in the same way this is how politics work for the masses, we see colours of parties come and go in government, yet there is no change in our situation, just remember the policies are like the bark of that tree, remaining firm and loyal to its purpose…”

    My comments began with Dubai, only because it?s just a good current example of what happens when we have wealth and youth at hand but little or no presence of aged sacred scholars to guide us all. History only in the 20th Century has shown us this in Libya, Lebanon, Iran etc…

    We in the west have much to do, more study programmes, more conferences, more centres cultural experiences, and more media projects and much much more faith in each other that we can make a difference in this little island called the United Kingdom, by working all human beings despite religious dispositions of others. Islam is about humanity, about saving it, about help, support and most of all its about saving lives not destroying them be they people of no faith, we must raise the banner of our deen and open the door wider than ever before if we are to redeem ourselves before the penultimate reckoning.

  2. Assalaamu alaikum,

    I was wondering if you know if there is any online access to Shaykh Hamza’s show… I am looking actually for a specific episode, which I believe was aired closer to the beginning of the month… it was the one in Abiquiu, New Mexico.. jazak Allahu khairan.

  3. Salaam Aleikum wr wb Brother,
    Just passing through your blog, it’s great by the way. One observation that people frequently make (and perhaps this is why you didn’t mention it and i’m just being dumb and stating the obvious) that spoken arabic is minimal and I know a lot of people who went there and their English improved whilst gaining no knowledge of arabic what-so-ever. Anyway, that’s just what i hear (waht do you expect in a city of over 80% foreigners). Anyway, nice blog,

  4. Hmmm. I’ve lived for the better part of my life (my childhood) in Oman and have seen Dubai a couple of times then. It’s a rather “western” city and I’ve also heard from many of my relatives there it’s really not a very “Islamic” place. Hearsay perhaps but anyway..

  5. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum – who is Shaikh Hamza?

    I have actually seen Habib Omar and Habib Ali on one of the Emirates’ TV channels. I’ve met Arabs here who have seen them more recently.

  6. Salaamun Alaikum

    My husband stayed there a bit this summer, and he mentioned similar observations. Very big kudos on the diversification of their economy for sure; other nations could learn from it, as it is urgent.

    One thing my husband mentioned was also a very big racism problem there… very very big.

  7. Salaamz Masud,

    This is Mira, a native from Dubai – and a rather conservative Hijabi, I must add.

    While I agree with what you’ve described as an “over-westernization of Dubai”, I still think that your post has contributed to painting quite a negative image of the “Dubaians” in peoples minds, as well.

    Dubai may ‘look’ Westernized to a person who comes looking for tents, camels, forts, etc. But it is not so. The natives here are quite conservative in their dress codes and manners of action – as far as I am concerned, and those whom I know.

    As for those who dress in an indecent way, I agree with you that Dubai as a CITY (Not a “country”, as you mistakenly wrote), should enforce laws that regulates such offensive conduct. Sharjah, a city that is part of the COUNTRY, has already done so. Indecent clothes are not allowed in the city of Sharjah, and insha’Allah, Dubai will follow Sharjah’s example.

  8. Rihla with Shaykh Hamza was an awesome show, masha Allah. Great memories of Ramadan, sitting with my Aunt from Syria and my Uncle watching it at night.

    I also wish the show would be made availible, if not online, at least for sale.

    Someone should tell Shaykh Hamza.

    jazakallahu khayrun

  9. I love Dubai, I think its a great place to visit but I do think they are making lots of mistakes. Their economy is very superficial becuase it doesnt have dependant industries but instead depends on sometimes unreliable industries like tourism and the financial sector. The other great economies have independant industries like, manufacturing, energy and military. Dubai relies to much on other countries and foreign companies and hence the economy could collapse at any time. I am really disappointed at how much they’ve compromised Islam for their financial gain, you can always make money in a halal manner without having to compromise.

  10. Guys get over clothes.. there much more to life that.. and i think people who are wearing so called “indecent clothes” are old enuf to decide what to do. Eevry person is responsible for themselves There are other things which are so evry important for the muslim world to survive – business, commerce and dubai is puttingup a great a show! so thumbs up!! there’s a lot other islamic countries gotta learn from dubai. We nedd to be in the race to win… it better than sitting back and criticising..

  11. There are several casino’s being built now on the Palm. The drawings show the blackjack tables but the halls are marked as ‘conference centres’ LOL. The Burj Al Arab was built (slightly) offshore so it could have a casino but Sheik Zayeed refused permission. Gambling is the way ahead for Dubai because for 6 months of the year tourism is impossible in the heat.

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