A serenity and calm takes over, peace seems to surround the people and everyone is friendlier. If it is indeed your first Ramadan please read our guide to familiarize yourself with what happens during this month.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is one of the most important months for Muslims as it is believed this is the month that the Qu'ran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). During this month all healthy Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset when they must refrain from all food, drink, gum chewing, any kind of tobacco use, and any kind of intimacy.
People who are physically or mentally unwell are exempt, as are people who are travelling, women who are pregnant, who are menstruating and children under twelve. If the fast is missed they should try to make up the fast at a later date, or make a donation to the poor instead.
Fasting or Sawm is one of the five pillars of Islam which all Muslims are expected to follow, the other four are Faith (Shahadah); Prayer (Salah), Charitable Giving (Zakah), and the Pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj).
During Ramadan most Muslims will tend to wake up just before sunrise to eat a meal or some food and this is known as Suhoor. They will then not be able to eat or drink again until sunset when it is traditional to open the fast with a date and then eat and this meal is known as Iftar.
"All residents have to respect the month of Ramadan - which means adopting the rules in public places during daylight hours."
The Do's and Don'ts of Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is one of the most important months for Muslims, so here's your handy guide to what you should - and shouldn't be - doing during the Holy Month.These are the main Ramadan pointers that you should be aware of. Keep them in mind throughout the month. People tend to enjoy the slow and relaxing pace of the city as a whole during this time, and you can too.
Fasting Tips for a Healthy Ramadan
Fasting during Ramadan falls on every ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims worldwide call this the “holy month” when they are encouraged to practice self-restraint by mainly fasting—no food and drinks, reflection in prayer,reading the Holy Koran and avoiding indulgent acts and things, in general. This month, however, means that people who are fasting are also prone to dehydration and headaches as they give up food and drink during the day. There is such a thing as a more effective and healthier way to fast.
Ramadan Timings Around the World
Ramadan is a holy time of the year that is observed by Muslims across the world. During the Holy Month, observers fast during daylight hours. Across the world, daylight hours can vary with the seasons in different countries.Varying countries and cities will have different hours of daylight. Therefore, it is worth bearing in mind that fasting during Ramadan across the world can equal to over thirteen hours!
DO's and DON'Ts:
• No eating, drinking or smoking in public – this is a strict rule and is enforced throughout the country, and people seen eating, drinking or smoking could receive a large fine and even be deported. Generally, there are businesses who have gained the correct license that will remain open, but with their facility blocked off out of sight to those passing by.
• Dress more modestly taking care to cover the shoulders, knees and chest area – ensure that your attire is lowing and that it covers more of you. Modesty is key for men and women during this time.
• Don’t play loud music in your home or car – Ramadan is a time of reflection and playing loud music is seen as a sign of disrespect. Nightclubs and live music venues are closed during this time and only very soft background music is played in restaurants.
• No public displays of affection.
Did you know that Ramadan is the perfect time to stop smoking? Smoking is not allowed in public during daylight hours so it's the perfect chance to quit, quit, quit! See more Do's and Don'ts here!
Things that are different:
• Some businesses change their opening hours – usually business hours are shorter allowing for those that fast to take rest and reflect during the day time.
• Some shops may close in the afternoon (1pm onwards) but most also stay open to later times – in fact most shopping malls extend their nighttime hours to midnight and beyond.
• There is no loud music allowed during Ramadan and of course no alcohol served during daylight hours - bars and restaurants do open in the evening though with light background music. Every hotel has a special Iftar dinner special and some hotels host a Suhoor late into the night. Both are a wonderful experience.
• Rush hour time changes from 6pm till 2pm as most offices close at that time.
Tips for non-fasters:
• There are restaurants and cafes that have a special licence open during the day for non- fasters and these will be screened off from public view so it is still possible to eat outside your home. Most hotels have an outlet open during the day too.
• If you work most offices will implement an area for eating and drinking - don’t have coffee or water at your desk as it may disturb your colleagues.
• If you are pregnant you are exempt from fasting but it is polite to still be discreet. Same with children - they do not have to fast too but it is always best to be discreet.
• Your car is classed as a public place so definitely no smoking, eating or drinking in there.
• You can also use restrooms in malls etc. to take a drink.
• Try and be patient with people who are fasting - it is tough and it is hot here. Ramadan is a time of peace and you should not shout or show anger.
• The roads do tend to become a little faster than normal just before Iftar time as people are rushing home to break their fast - take care or avoid driving at this time.
• If you find yourself in a taxi during Iftar be patient while the driver stops and takes a drink and breaks his fast. It is easy to forget that the driver has been in his hot taxi all day without food and drink.
Ramadan is a very special time of year - so embrace where you are and join in - why not try fasting to see what it is like? Do something for charity in the spirit of the season - thinking about others less fortunate than ourselves.