“Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It begins upon the visual sighting of the last full moon of the year and lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the next full moon sighting. The holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the next lunar month.”
Ramadan is a really special time for Muslims as it’s the month the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) received the first revelations of the Quran, and it’s the month where Muslims try to purify themselves, increase their faith and become better people. This is why being respectful of the rules and regulations in Dubai is even more important during Ramadan as you don’t to cause offence or worse get in trouble!
We’ve put together some of the things you can expect or do/notdo during the month of Ramadan in Dubai –
- No food or drink in public/communal areas – as a mark of respect for those that are fasting, you’re not allowed to eat, drink or smoke in public, however you’re able to eat at home, within some hotels grounds (confirm restrictions with your hotel before booking during this period) and restaurants/malls will have closed off areas which you can eat behind. Food can be delivered to your home as usual.
- Sensitivity – Fasting is prescribed for all Muslims, however there are some exceptions – people who fall under the following categories do not have to fast; pregnant or menstruating women, children, elderly and those who are sick/taking medication which affects their ability to fast. So with that being said please be sensitive if you do see someone in a blocked off area eating or drinking – there is a reason why they are not fasting and it’s not for us to question or bring attention to them.
- Working hours – As fasting in the desert can be really draining physically, the working hours are reduced by around 2 hours for the month – now this is obviously a good thing as it applies to everyone, however it does mean you’ll notice not a lot gets done! Especially in regards to administrative tasks so be sure to give yourself enough time if there is anything major that needs sorting.
- Rush hour – As working hours are reduced, so are school hours – this means rush hour in Dubai will be even more manic than usual. It’s important to be cautious when driving as there tends to be a lot more accidents during Ramadan rush hour than usual – last year the government issued a warning to drivers to drive safe following incidents that have happened in previous years.
- Music – Don’t play music loud and definitely don’t play it in public. Ramadan is a spiritual month for Muslims so you’ll find there is minimal entertainment/music around.
- Iftaar – To end a fast we have our iftaar meal at sunset. During Ramadan most restaurants and food events will hold iftaar packages for Muslims and non Muslims to enjoy – generally buffet style as this is easier to serve the masses… Dubai iftaars get really busy so don’t be surprised if the places you usually stroll into require booking beforehand.
- Community – You will notice neighbours you awkwardly say hi to in the lift will knock on your door offering you food near iftaar time. This is your opportunity to get to know people around you and also to learn about different cultures and foods. We got to try Syrian sweets last year! Feel free to share your food also – remember just because there are standard meals in your culture, they might be totally new for others.
- Sales – It wouldn’t be Dubai without a good month of sales lol. Ramadan is the best month to buy anything major – cars, appliances and much more are given at ridiculously cheap prices so its the best time to buy.
- Take part – Why not try a day or so of fasting? Or use it as a detox month – make a plan of things you want to achieve personally over the month of Ramadan and make those changes you have always wanted to make but never got round to!
This year ramadan is due to start around 26th May and fasts in Dubai will roughly be from 4am until 7pm – 15ish hours. (Got it slightly easier compared to our UK friends and family with 18 hour fasts!) So if you meet people who are fasting greet them with some encouraging words – rather than the usual ‘I don’t know how you do it!’ or ‘I would die without drinking all day’ – Yes I’ve had both of those comments lol.
Hubby and I will be fasting during Ramadan so we plan to sit down and write up some Ramadan goals – we’ll be sure to share those in another blog!