Rules of Conduct During Ramadan in 2023
Ramadan is the Holy Month for Muslims from all over the world and will last from March 23 to April 21 in 2023. During the month of Ramadan, the UAE has a certain etiquette that applies to citizens and residents of the country, as well as tourists. Adhering to the rules of conduct which are traditional for Muslims, will enable foreigners coming to the emirate during the Holy Month, to fully enjoy their stay and learn more about the culture and traditions of the country.
Food & Water
In the Holy Month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, which means that they don’t eat anything and don’t drink any liquids during daylight hours. Non-Muslims are required to observe Ramadan rules in public places, so it is forbidden to eat, drink and chew gum. However, certain cafes, restaurants and food courts are open during the daytime, which means that tourists can always find a place to enjoy a meal.
Note: During Ramadan in the UAE, the opening hours of dining venues, retail stores and public institutions change. To learn more about the exact hours, please check the information beforehand on the official website of the chosen establishment.
If you wish to learn more about the country’s traditions, foreigners can try the traditional meals and enjoy them together with local residents. Suhoor is the morning meal eaten before sunrise, while Iftar, which showcases national dishes of Muslim countries, takes place after sunset. Please, remember that you should eat with the help of your right hand and should never leave the table immediately after the end of the meal.
Dressing During Ramadan
While visiting the UAE during Ramadan, it’s highly advisable to dress in modest and closed clothing that covers shoulders, knees and the neckline area. Moreover, try to choose clothes with an opaque fabric which don’t fit the figure but are loose-fitting.
Note: The Holy Month of Ramadan is an ideal time for shopping, with bargains on limited collections from world-famous brands. Clothing, shoes, perfumes, jewellery, home appliances, furniture, home decorations and other goods are offered with discounts of up to 85%.
During a visit to a mosque, a man should wear trousers, shirts or sweaters with sleeves to cover their shoulders. Women are obliged to wear opaque and loose-fitting floor-length clothing, which will cover the arms, as well as a scarf around the head.
Additional Rules of Conduct & Communication
Ramadan is a special time for Muslims, therefore, it’s important to know and understand the rules before visiting the UAE. Locals may invite you to Iftar, which is an evening meal. You should not only agree, but it is advisable to also bring a bottle of oud oil or a box of dates as a gift. Do not refuse gifts, for instance, dried fruits, offered by local residents.
Note: The Holy Month is an ideal time for charity. Anyone can donate money and clothes with the help of registered charities by putting them in special containers located in public places.
During the daytime alcohol is only allowed in a limited number of licensed restaurants and bars. Moreover, in the UAE it’s forbidden to smoke in public places, and those who break the law will incur fines.
During Ramadan, listening to loud music is not allowed, as well as dancing and showing feelings or public displays of affection towards a partner in public. Aggressive behaviour, insults, as well swearing and indecent gestures are also prohibited.
It’s quite important not to distract believers from their prayers. Please respect their feelings. Before entering the mosque, non-Muslims must ask permission from Muslims.