Here are some quick and handy pointers for those who previously have not been in the region during the Ramadan period:
DO Dress Appropriately
Both men and women should dress conservatively, and not display too much skin when in public. Cover shoulders & upper arms, hemlines should reach the knee and pay attention to necklines.
DO Stop Smoking
As with eating and drinking, smoking is not allowed in public during the Holy Month of Ramadan. It’s the perfect time to quit; go on…. you know you want to!
DO Exchange Ramadan Greetings
It is customary to use the greeting “Ramadan Kareem” when meeting Muslims, and at the end of Ramadan, for the three day Eid celebrations, “Eid Mubarak”.
DO Be Charitable
An important element of the Holy Month is to be generous to those less fortunate by donating food, clothes or money to individuals and charitable organisations.
If you would like to acknowledge your Muslim maid or gardener, a token gift will be appropriate and much appreciated.
DO Be Considerate
Fasting can play havoc with a person’s eating and sleeping habits, so be sympathetic to people around you.
DO Avoid Driving at Sundown
As the day draws to a close, the roads fill with people heading to break their fast at Iftar celebrations. They haven’t eaten, or had a drink for twelve hours. If you don’t need to be on the road at that time, you would be wise to wait half an hour.
DO Enjoy the Local Culture
It’s so easy to live our lives in parallel lines. Ramadan in the one time of year you can blur the edges. Take your family along to one of the many hotel-based Iftar tents, soak up some local life, and don’t forget the backgammon set!
DO Accept Invitations
If have been invited to an Iftar meal with friends or colleagues, do go along. Remember not to go empty-handed. Arabic desserts or sweets are always a good option to offer your host.
DO NOT Eat in Public
Show respect for those who are fasting during the day by not eating and drinking in front of them. Most malls, and all hotels, will have one or two eateries open but discreetly tucked away behind screens / closed doors.
DO NOT Kiss or Hug Your Partner or Friends of the Opposite Sex in Public
As at other times of the year- but especially during Ramadan- avoid demonstrative acts of affection in public, as you will cause offence.
DO NOT Play Loud Music
Ramadan is a time for prayer and spiritual reflection. As such, it is important to respect the peace by not playing loud music in your home or car.