The United Arab Emirates is a multi-ethnic country. It's Emirati culture is diverse with eminent aspects that make it unique. It was initially an ethnically homogenous community. However, this changed with the entry of Indians, Pakistani, Iranians and other ethnicities.
The key identity of the United Arab Emirates is its culture. There are several aspects that collectively constitute the distinctive culture in the Asian continent. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to discuss the two aspects that represent the Emirati life: religion and family.
In the United Arab Emirates, religion is mainly composed of Islam, Bedouin and the traditional Arab. Currently, there are also other religious groups in the country due to the high numbers of immigrants that head to the Arabian country mainly for jobs and business matters. However, there are also Christians and Hindus.
Islam is the most dominant and official religion of the country. Although many people commend this nation for its religious tolerance, churches, Sikh Gurudwara and Hindu temples can be found in some parts of the state. Jewish synagogues are the only worship places one cannot find in the United Arab Emirates. This appreciable level of liberalism puts the country ahead of its neighbors in the socioeconomic prosperity (Stone, n.d.)
Islam and Arab have had the profound impact on the entire Emirati culture, which includes entertainment, cuisine, architecture and the general lifestyle. The immigrants who have been welcomed into the country may bring some variation, although, that may not be substantial.
Dress code is majorly governed by these two religious groups since they are the majority. They have also played a defining role in the country's architecture. The Islamic Law requires both men and women to dress modestly. Women wear long dresses whereas men commonly put on a white robe and a white head-cowering held by a black headband. Women must ensure they dress conservatively to cover their shoulders and knees.
Most magnificent structures in place are based on the Arab architectural designs. There are many large buildings that resemble those of the ancient Arab structures recorded in history. Almost all buildings take similar shape and design since they are established by the indigenous people.
Entertainment in this nation significantly conforms to the Arabic and Islamic requirements of the law. The music is mainly Arabic since the majority of the people are of that ethnic affiliation.
Since Islam is the most dominant religious, ShariaLaw plays a very critical role in the governance of many issues. The law affects matters of inheritance, marriage, divorce, politics, economics and personal conduct.
In the United Arab Emirates, the family is the fundamental building block of the community. At the lowest level, a family comprises of a man (as a head of the family), a mother and their children. There are also members of the extended family, mainly the members who are closely related by blood. Tribal connections and family constitute the foundation of the Emirati social structure.
Family plays a major role in shaping an individual's personality. Members of the family support one another in all aspects, according to their potential. A child does not play the same role as a father or mother; there is the separation of powers within the family. Labor is also delegated to individuals with regard to their authority in the family.
Children get their values and character right from the family. The standards, therefore, set by the head of the family, have the crucial influence on all members of the family. Such standards and principles must, however, conform to the Islam Law that regulates personal conduct at all levels.
Children learn to respect their parents and other people. The parents have the role of raising their children. They show them love and provide them with their needs, ensuring that their children grow with the right values the society expects of them. In present times, schools do play a role in shaping the children's behavior.
The Emirati culture bars women from living on their own or cohabiting with a male counterpart outside of marriage. Women do not attend official functions except for some few western women who are allowed to attend such functions as part of a larger official delegation. However, modern Emirati have an equal opportunity, like their male colleagues, to attend school, work and even drive (Thamer, 2012).
Under Islamic Law, it is legal to have more than one wife. A man can have many wives, but a woman cannot enjoy the same privilege. Men can live with up to four wives.
The state also has a role in integrating all members of United Arab Emirates. At all levels, the state formulates and implements all the laws that govern all the people without any prejudice. It enacts laws that encourage harmonious living and preservation of the culture.
It should be mentioned that the state has set up a Marriage Fund. Young men get $19,000 for marriage with a citizen of the United Arab Emirates; this motivates them to get partners from their own people and prevent their culture from being diluted by foreign wives.
The United Arab Emirates is currently one of the major destinations for tourists and immigrants from all over the world. The opportunities of employment and the hospitable Arab culture are the two factors causing people to migrate into this state.