Ramadan 2018 in Saudi Arabia: Do's and Dont's | ExpatWoman.com

The Do's & Don'ts of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

Find out what you can and can't do during Ramadan in KSA to ensure you are following the correct etiquette & being respectful.

Posted on

26 September 2013

Last updated on 1 May 2018
The Do's & Don'ts of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

Did you know that Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is one of the most important months for Muslims? So be prepared with our handy guide to what you should - and shouldn't be - doing during the Holy Month.

Here are some quick pointers for those who previously have not been in the city during the Ramadan period:

DO Dress Appropriately

Men and women should display a certain amount of modesty during the 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 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.

SEE ALSO: Arabic phrases useful during Ramadan

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.

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 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 the expense and a box of dates will suffice as a gift.

The Do's & Don'ts of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

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 as 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.