A recent report by Britain’s oldest daily newspaper The Times claimed that the UAE is considering switching its official weekend to Saturday-Sunday “to bring it into line with the global economy”.
The supposed weekend switch has been flying across social media for months now, but the article has stirred global interest anew.
The Times’ article came as the UAE launched various residency reforms under the ‘Projects of the 50’, whose first tranche of new long-term programs are geared to attract best talents, professionals, and investors.
However, state news agency WAM in May this year had said that there was no grain of truth about the supposed weekend switch.
In May this year, Mohammed Jalal Al-Raisi, Director-General of WAM, had said: “The news that has been spreading on social media that [the] government was planning to make some changes [to] the weekend is fake. No such news has been issued by the government, and people should stop circulating such false information as it is misleading residents.”
Why UAE follows the Friday weekend?
The UAE had changed its weekends from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday in September 2006.
All Gulf countries subsequently followed suit, with Saudi Arabia changing its weekends in 2013.
Jordan was the first Arab country to shift to a Friday–Saturday weekend arrangement in January 2000.
Friday has been traditionally a holy day for the Muslims due to the importance of the Jumu’ah Prayers or Friday prayers.
It has a religious significance as it was the day when one of the greatest verses in the Holy Quran (Quran 5:3) was revealed: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen Islam as your religion.”