During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking from sunrise until sunset. People are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, or even chew gum in public while the sun is out of respect for those fasting. Ramadan will begin on March 23 in the UAE. On Tuesday night, the country’s moon-sighting committee selected the official date.
Muslims have been preparing for the holiest month of the year, when they fast during the day and only eat and drink when the sun sets. Muslims believe that fasting increases spiritual emphasis on devotion by abstaining from all types of food and drink. It is also a time for family reunions, charitable giving, and personal introspection.
The goal of fasting from food and drink for a month is to empathise with those who are less fortunate while also removing the distraction of food to focus on faith. Colorful street lights adorn the country’s main roads, as supermarkets fill up with Ramadan mainstays like apricot paste and Vimto. Tents are also set up in hotels and around large homes.
Employment and school hours are decreased to accommodate fasting Muslims, who frequently remain up late praying and reciting the Quran. Although Ramadan is usually associated with fasting, it is also a time when Muslims deepen their faith, spend more time with family, enhance their philanthropic actions, and spend time on personal introspection.
Here are a few cultural tips and etiquette that even non-Muslims must know during Ramadan:
- Do not eat, drink, smoke in public. Out of consideration for those fasting, even non-Muslims are expected to follow fasting rules in public. You are allowed to eat, drink and smoke privately.
- Dress modestly. Avoid wearing tight and transparent clothing. Dressing modestly for men and women is essential during Ramadan. Wearing tight and revealing clothes is prohibited throughout the territory.
- Avoid loud music in cars, at home, or in public. Ramadan is a time to self-reflect and strengthen their faith. Some Muslims prefer not to listen to music during Ramadan to stay focused. Be aware.
- Behave respectfully around fasting Muslims. People must avoid making a scene in public because it is generally a time of peaceful reflection and piety.
- Participate where appropriate. If non-Muslims want to get into the spirit of the holy month, they can fast, attend iftar and suhoor tents at hotels, and participate in charitable initiatives.
- To accept an invitation to iftar is a polite act, as with any other such offer. It is not required, but it shows a respectful manner to bring a gift when visiting someone’s home.