Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar; in 2013 Ramadan falls between July 10th and August 9th. For the entire month of Ramadan in Dubai and the rest of the U.A.E Muslims enter a period of spiritual contemplation and reflection on their faith in Allah. In fact Ramadan fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
As you no doubt already know Dubai and the U.A.E is a Muslim country and the laws and socially accepted norms are governed by the tenants of Islam. In order to have a safe and enjoyable time when it is Ramadan in Dubai there are a few things you should bear in mind.
During Ramadan Muslims are forbidden to eat or drink during daylight hours. This fast is just one of the forms of restraint that Muslims take upon themselves during Ramadan. Not only do they refrain from food and drink during the daylight hours but they also refrain from smoking, gossiping and cursing. If you are visiting U.A.E during Ramadan you should know that it is against the law to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours. From sun rise to sun set during Ramadan in Dubai and in U.A.E in general all cafes and restaurants are closed. However you can get served food and drink in the hotels during Ramadan but even this is done discretely.
Music is also forbidden by law during the daylight hours of Ramadan fasting with the exception of some traditional oud music. So you won’t be able to attend concerts or listen to music in pubs and restaurants. Dubai nightclubs will be closed during Ramadan. Modest clothing is also recommended during Ramadan.
In general the atmosphere during the day is more subdued and people take it easy until nightfall. People tend to work shorter hours and you’ll find some attractions either closed or with shorter open hours. Once you hear the call to prayer that signifies the end of the fast you will feel a distinct change in the atmosphere in Dubai. Muslims break the fast with the iftar meal and some restaurants and cafes even open during the night time hours. The restaurants are usually open from about 7pm during Ramadan in Dubai and the U.A.E. People eat, drink and spend time with their families at night during Ramadan.
At the end of the month of Ramadan there is the public holiday of Eid-Al-Fitr which is a huge celebration and for the following three days there is a party atmosphere in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.
So if you are visiting Dubai or U.A.E during Ramadan remember:
- No eating, drinking, smoking or cursing in public during daylight hours.
- No music allowed.
- Dress modestly with shoulders, cleavage and knees covered.
- Shorter working hours and shorter open hours.
- When the sun goes down and you hear the call to prayer that signifies the end of the fasting, you can eat and drink in public but still maintain a heightened sense of decorum befitting the ideals of Ramadan.
- The days following the month of fasting are a big celebration and an interesting time to visit Dubai.
There is no problem travelling to Dubai during Ramadan, you will still have a great vacation but it is important to respect your host country’s religious beliefs.