When it comes to the Holy Month of Ramadan, it's best to be fully prepared and know exactly what's expected of you throughout.
25 August 2013| Last updated on 19 April 2020
Find the list of do's and don'ts to follow during Ramadan in Dubai and UAE.
Whether this is your first Ramadan in Dubai, or your seventh... It's always good to have a refresh regarding the do's and don'ts of Ramadan in Dubai.
To ensure you're prepared for the Holy Month of Ramadan, here are some quick pointers for those who previously have not been in the city during the Ramadan period...
PLEASE NOTE: for Ramadan 2020, some of the information listed below may not be applicable due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our guide is intended to show what would normally happen during Ramadan in Dubai and the UAE. For a complete guide to Ramadan 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, click here.
DO Dress Appropriately
Men and women should display a certain amount of modesty during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Be extra careful with the way in which you dress. Ensure that knees and shoulders are covered, be aware of necklines and wear loose fitting clothing during the month. Pashminas are great for covering up and extra confidence during Ramadan.
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.” You may feel uncomfortable to say the foreign words now but during the Holy Month of Ramadan, the greetings are everywhere and using them is appreciated.
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. Muslims are expected to give Zakat which is approximately 2.5% of their annual savings to the less fortunate.
However, the spirit of giving is all around with many charities, such as Adopt-A-Camp, allowing everyone to get involved in some way. 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. If you feel yourself getting irate or angry, just take a deep breath and smile. Remember that it is difficult to function on no food and water.
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! This is probably the best time to quit as smoking areas are few and far between and you will already be forced to cut down due to lack of smoking space.
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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 over 14 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 is 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 or a deck of Uno cards. Indulge in Moroccan Mint tea and Arabic delicacies while relaxing with family and friends.
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. This holiday is not about expense and a box of dates will suffice as a gift.
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. Remember that chewing gum constitutes eating, so don't chew gum when in public or even at your desk at work.
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.
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. Instead of missing the things in life that you cannot have, take the time to appreciate how truly blessed you are.