Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is observed in the Muslim world for one month. For this year it started on the evening of June 17 and will end on July 17, with slight variation on dates based on the region. The observation of Ramadan includes a month of fasting from dawn until sunset, with food only served before dawn and after the sun has set. Fasting also includes the recitation of the Quran and offering of prayers or “salat.”
With the new translations in Urdu and English provided by radio station 88.2 FM, which is owned by Abu Dhabi Media, the publisher of The National, more people can now understand and appreciate the universal message of Islam. According to the radio station, the number of English-speaking listeners have increased. The Ramadan programming schedule in English is from 11 PM to midnight. The first 15 minutes of the program is for the translated religious edicts or “fatwas” and the rest of the hour is reserved for the reading of the Quran, with an English translation provided after the recitation of each verse.
Daily broadcast of the passages of the Quran in Urdu is scheduled an hour before the Asr prayer (afternoon prayer).
The holy month of Ramadan is also the busiest for the station, and with their programming, their listenership increases at this time of the year, contributing to the station’s continued growth. The station’s rating has steadily increased as well that they are now very popular in the UAE. During Ramadan they become the most-listened to radio station compared to other stations also broadcasting in English. The listenership is higher because they give listeners a break from popular music and give them time to reflect.
For Ramadan, Quran Kareem dedicates 85 percent of its programming to readings of the Quran while the 15 percent is shared by nine pre-recorded programs and six live programs daily.
It had been over two years since the Quran Kareem 88.2 FM started its Ramadan program in the English Language, which is produced in cooperation with the AWQAF or the General Authority of Affairs and Endowment. Radio station manager Abdul Rahman Al Tenajji said that among the trials they have done on their programming, the English-language Ramadan program has been one of the most successful and important ventures. They were able to capture a more diverse set of listeners not only from the West but also people from Asia, since they are able to understand the language. He said if AWQAF decides to make an English program a permanent part of the station’s programming, he is all for it.
Al Tenajji believes that the station plays a big role in helping Muslims to better understand their faith, which is not only about the prayers and the Quran, but also about every aspect of life – on how they relate to others, how they understand the world around them and how they conduct themselves. He said their programs highlight the fact that their faith is interwoven in everything they do.