Dubai is a large metropolis which has people from all over the world living in it peacefully and happily. Ramadan is also a month of peace and happiness where Muslims across the world celebrate Ramadan and fast. If you are new to the UAE and have recently started living here, you may see that Ramadan working hours and Ramadan dining habits are a bit different than the rest of the world. Here are a few things you might need to know about Ramadan in Dubai if you are new to the culture.
1. Ramadan - a month of Fasting
Ramadan signifies a month of abstinence and fasting. According to the Islamic beliefs, Ramadan is a month where all Muslims are supposed to fast for the 30 days of the month of Ramadan. The Islamic calendar is lunar so as soon as the crescent is spotted for Ramadan, that counts as the beginning of the month. The month is marked by prayer and fasting - and lots of charity. Fasting is consdired one of the five pillars of Islam that are mandatory for Muslims to follow. Shahadah or Testimony, to say that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him is His Last Messenger, is the first pillar. The second pillar is Namaz/Salah (five times prayer). The third pillar is Hajj, a yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, is the third. The fourth is fasting that is done in the month of Ramadan which is compulsory for Muslims. The fifth pillar is Zakat, charity, a portion of the income given to the needy.
2. Ramadan means tolerance and peace
Fasting in Ramadan is definitely about abstaining from food and drinking but that is not it. Ramadan is also about being kinder and more empathetic towards other people. During fasting, you cannot swear, be abusive or hurt anyone. This is one of the many reasons why Muslims believe fasting is important: fasting teaches the value of hunger, patience and empathy.
3. Suhoor and Iftar - what are they? What do they mean?
Suhoor is the meal that you take when you wake up for morning prayers. You have time between the night prayer and early morning prayer to eat. Once there is the call for adhaan in the morning, your fast begins and you cannot eat. Iftar is done at maghrib prayer when everyone gathers around the dining table and breaks it with usually dates or water.
These are late evening prayers that happen during Ramadan. They are meant for extra blessings and the Holy Book, Quran, is read for an extended bit during these prayers.
5. Ramadan Working Hours/Dining Hours
In Dubai, working hours are reduced in Ramadan. However, restaurants are closed during the day though you can order food via take-out or delivery.
6. Khaimas and Deals
What is absent during the day - is made up for during the night! Lots of restaurants are open throughout the night and 'khaimas' or tents are set up in restaurants and hotels where you can go and play cards or games during the night until the sun is up. Check them out!
7. Eid ul Fitr
The month ends with Eid ul Fitr, which is a three day celebration period of fasting. Muslims wear new clothes and give each other gifts on this day. Young children often receive money and it is a great opportunity for friends and family to meet up and have fun.
What are your questions about Ramadan? Ask us! Masala! has some great information about Ramadan in the UAE. Check them out on our site where we have listed working hours for public and private sector, a Ramadan gift guide, great deals in supermarkets in Ramadan and best Iftar and Suhoor places to visit in Ramadan.