Coinciding with its selection as the Islamic Culture Capital, Sharjah seems to be celebrating an exceptional Ramadan this year. The holy month is complemented with a wide range of cultural programmes, events and activities organised by the Executive Committee for the Sharjah Islamic Culture Capital 2014 (SICC 2014) celebrations as part of Sharjah Ramadan, a festival currently held at Expo Centre Sharjah.
According to a report issued by Sharjah Media Centre (SMC), Sharjah Ramadan has highlighted Sharjah’s leading cultural role through its various pavilions, which include the Islamic Book Exhibition, with 127 publishers and 42 Mamluk Quran manuscripts, Ramadan Majlis, Islamic Heritage Village, Islamic Theatre, Art Bazaar, Spice Route Markets and Sakan Al Nofous.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Executive Committee for the SICC 2014 celebrations, confirmed that the festival comprises numerous activities that mirror the cultural face of Sharjah, seeking to present visitors with a feast of knowledge that matches the emirate’s position and crowning as the capital of Islamic culture.
Dr. Lana Mamkegh, Jordan’s Minister of Culture, expressed her admiration for Sharjah Ramadan, pointing to her participation in the Ramadan Majlis, which she described as “a significant cultural event.”
Mamkegh said: “I would like to express my deep pride in the beauty of Sharjah’s Islamic architecture, which lends deep spirituality to the emirate’s atmosphere.” She lauded Sharjah’s cultural identity, which, according to her, respects all human cultures and recognises the importance of dialogue and openness to the world’s contemporary civilisations.
With the participation of more than 65 international figures and 21 countries, Sharjah Ramadan includes more than 38 Islamic lectures and seminars, in addition to seven Ramadan sessions, four poetry and chanting evenings, six cultural cafes, five theatre performances, 47 art exhibitions and 59 art workshops.
Praising the first-of-its-kind festival, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Amri, Director of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), said: “Sharjah Ramadan comes as part of the emirate’s celebration of its crowning as the capital of Islamic culture, as well as of the holy month of Ramadan. It comprises many events that reflect the richness of Arab-Islamic culture and harmonise with Sharjah’s cultural project, whose foundations have been laid by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.”
In addition to organising the Islamic Book Exhibition, Al Amri noted that SIBF is holding three seminars as part of its contribution to Sharjah Ramadan. The seminars, namely “Undiscovered Islamic Heritage”, “Manuscripts: History and Civilisation” and “Sources of Recorded History”, are bolstered by the participation of experts and researchers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UK, US and Canada.
Sharjah Ramadan also includes the Ramadan Majlis, an annual event held by SMC for the purpose of strengthening social bonds and encouraging exchange of views through sessions that elaborate on different topics.
About this Majlis, Osama Samra, Director of SMC, said: “This year’s Ramadan Majlis has been exceptional, given its coincidence with Sharjah Islamic Culture Capital 2014 celebrations. The sessions of the Majlis were carefully planned to reflect the emirate’s vision to promote dialogue, which is an Islamic principle and a mainstay of civilisational communication.”
“The Ramadan Majlis has hosted international religious, intellectual and cultural figures as speakers,” added Samra, pointing to the rich audience the Majlis has attracted.
Among the other participants in Sharjah Ramadan is the Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs, which is organising a variety of Islamic lectures.
Yusuf Hassan Al Hamadi, Head of the Preaching Section at the Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs, explained: “The close connection between Ramadan events and the selection of Sharjah, which is a symbol of Islamic culture and famous for disseminating knowledge, as the Islamic culture capital, has required the development of plans that manifest the truth and highlight reality.”
Al Hamadi indicated that the lectures, which are 25 in total, are given in several languages (Arabic, Urdu, English, Filipino, Chinese and Malabar) to cover the majority of residents in the UAE.