Ramadan in the UAE: Charity Acts You Can and Cannot Do | ExpatWoman.com

Ramadan in the UAE: Charity Acts You Can and Cannot Do

In this guide, we cover which acts of charity and donations are allowed in the UAE during the Holy Month of Ramadan

Posted on

8 March 2024

Last updated on 8 March 2024
Legal acts of charity and donations during Ramadan in the UAE

Your guide to permissible works of charity in the UAE.

During Ramadan, it is customary for Muslims to celebrate the Holy Month through fasting, prayers, and participating in charity work such as donating food and funds to help support the needy.

Ramadan 2024 in the UAE will be no different, with many residents - both Muslim and non-Muslim - expressing interest to do good for the local community through various forms of generosity.

However, not all acts of charity are allowed, with some even carrying hefty fines without the right approvals. Here is a list of permissible charity acts in the UAE.

1. Donating iftar meals

UAE residents are allowed and even encouraged to help donate iftar meals during Ramadan for the needy.

Here's Where You Can Legally Donate Iftar Meals in Dubai This Ramadan

You can help break someone's fast with an iftar donation at licensed charities and non-profit initiatives that are offering the option, such as the Dar Al Ber Society or Dubai Charity Association. For a full list of Dubai charities where you can donate iftars, click here.

How to donate iftar meals in Dubai and the UAE

2. Distributing iftar meals during Ramadan

Dubai allows the distribution of iftar meals at mosques and in neighbourhoods for Ramadan, but residents must first obtain permission by applying through the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department's (IACAD) official website or contact 800 600.

The authorities' approval is required to ensure that the food being distributed are safe to consume.

To obtain your license from IACAD, you will need to inform officials of the location(s) where you'll be handing out iftars, details of the restaurant that will supply the food, and you must provide your Emirates ID details as well.

What charity acts are allowed during Ramadan in the UAE

3. Independent fundraising campaigns are not allowed

Instead, you can legally donate funds for charity in the UAE through licensed non-profit charity groups only.

Raising a donation campaign independently is against the law and it is a punishable offense, with fines of up to AED 500,000. It is important to remember that the rules are in place to protect the safety and welfare of UAE residents.

However, if a UAE resident has a family or friend in need, he or she is allowed to provide support to them - but keep in mind that fundraising campaigns are not allowed. Residents are advised to avoid joining in any online fundraising campaigns that are not organised by licensed charity groups.

4. Do not donate money to beggars on the streets

During Ramadan you might see people seeking alms on the streets, outside of mosques, markets, or any crowded public area. Officials have stressed to avoid giving your money to beggars as begging is illegal in the UAE - the penalty is an AED 5,000 fine and/or 3-month imprisonment.

Begging is illegal in the UAE

Before you feel sympathetic for the beggar you see on the streets, they might actually be earning thousands of dirhams more than you do, warned Dubai Police in a Khaleej Times article.

In the past, Dubai Police have arrested beggars who had upwards to AED 40,000 cash on them from begging.

5. Donating clothes to charity

UAE residents can donate clothes to support the needy during Ramadan through licensed charity organisations only.

Where to donate clothes for charity in the UAE

You can do so at any of their clothing donation collection box located across the country. These can be found in shopping malls, centres, outside of supermarkets, in neighbourhoods, etc.