Dubai Culture Archives –

Dubai Culture Archives –

Posted on by Carole Soto

Ramadan in Dubai The Dos and Donts

Ramadan is a special time of year in Dubai and other Islamic countries. It’s a time of fasting, prayer, reflection, and introspection. Lasting for one month, fasting is required for all Muslims (health permitting) to follow. From sunrise to sunset, Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking liquids of any type, smoking, chewing gum, swearing, or engaging in sexual relations. An increase in spiritual devotion and prayer during this time is expected.

Non-Muslims living or visiting Dubai are not required to partake in Ramadan, but they are expected to observe and respect this time by refraining from certain activities in public. Here a list of Ramadan in Dubai The Dos and Donts to help you:

DON’T eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public during the daylight hours, from sunrise to sunset. Doing so is considered highly offensive. Even if you’ve been out jogging or exercising, and you think no one is looking. Do not sneak. Wait until you are in private before doing so. If caught, it could result in a warning or fine from the police, or worse yet, a visit to jail.
DO feel free to eat or drink behind the doors of your private home or hotel room. You can engage in such activities privately, so as not to offend.  You are allowed to eat and drink in public after the sun has set. Please note, the majority restaurants are closed in the afternoon hours during this holy season, but most major hotels will keep one restaurant open to accommodate its non-Muslim guests. Usually these restaurants are privately contained so that they are not seen by bystanders. However, restaurants that serve alcohol will not do so until after nightfall.

DON’T play loud music at any time, even after sunset. This includes loud music in your car, on the beach, or in your hotel room or home. If it is audible to the outside, it could be considered objectionable.

DO feel free to play music in your car, home, or hotel at a very low volume. Or, better yet, feel free to listen to your favorite songs on your iPod. As long as they are inaudible to others, you’re fine.

DON’t sing or dance at any time, even after nightfall. And, don’t expect to go out clubbing during this holy month. Most nightclubs are closed.

DO feel free to go out and enjoy a more mellow evening with a cocktail at one of the many bars or pubs open in the evenings during Ramadan.  Although you may not be rocking out, most likely you can enjoy some soft background music while you spend time conversing with friends. Or consider having some fun by challenging yourself with one of the many pub quizzes taking place at various bars around town.

DON’t swear, act vulgar, or dress in tight or revealing clothing. This is not acceptable anytime, but is considered even more disdainful during Ramadan.

DO consider getting into the holiday spirit by attending an iftar (meals served after sundown to break the fast) at the local mosques or in the iftar and suhour  (pre-fast) tents in many of the major hotels. They are open to everyone, and many are free.

DON’T badger your Muslim friends with constant questions on how they are doing with their fasting. Ramadan is often a private religious experience, and one that many do not wish to share. Besides, the questions will only serve as reminders, and may make them hungrier.

DO feel free to ask after nightfall  how they’re doing, but be respectful. Better yet, take the time out to learn more about this religious holiday by asking your Muslim friends to share their insights. Get into the spirit even more through charitable acts such as offering a less-fortunate person some water. (But only do so at sunset, otherwise you will likely offend them.)

We hope that this list of do’s and don’ts have been helpful. But most of all, remember Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, kindness and generosity, so embrace the experience and enjoy your evenings, most places are open well past midnight. Ramadan Kareem!