This time of year is all about forgiveness…
The annual pardoning of prisoners before the start of Ramadan is a tradition that has been in the UAE for decades, and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, has just announced the release of 700 prisoners in Dubai.
This comes after UAE President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced the pardoning of 935 prisoners in Abu Dhabi. The ruler of Ras Al Khaimah also ordered the release of 302 inmates ahead of the holy month, while the ruler of Sharjah pardoned 304 prisoners.
Dubai Attorney General H.E. Essam Issa Al Humaidan said Sheikh Mohammed’s decision to pardon the inmates would offer them a fresh start in life and ease their families’ suffering. He said there would be support in “reintegrating them into the community”.
Al Humaidan said the gesture would have a positive impact on the community by giving the prisoners a chance to rejoin their families and start a new chapter in their lives.
The prisoners represent a wide cross-section of nationalities and a broad range of UAE society. Those pardoned will all be considered people who are safe to the community and more than ready to be back on the UAE’s streets.
Forgiveness is a big part of Ramadan – it’s a time when Muslims are encouraged to seek forgiveness for bad behaviour so they can start Eid with a renewed and fresh sense of purpose. It is also a time when people are encouraged to forgive those around them – because forgiveness and moving on are a key part of the Quranic teachings.
Remember, Islam teaches that Allah is ‘Al Ghaffur’ – or the ‘oft-forgiving’ – and it is believed that an individual’s good deeds should be weighed against their bad (rather than judging someone just based on their wrongdoings).