The UAE (and therefore Dubai) is a Muslim country whereby nationals follow the Islam religion. Islam means “peace” and is based on the basic principle that it is possible to find ultimate peace by submitting heart and soul to Almighty God Allah. Muslims are those who follow Islam in a conscious manner backed by deep belief. With over one billion followers worldwide, Islam is one of the major religions in the world. There is a strong belief among Muslims that Allah the Creator alone has the right to our worship and love.
Ramadan is one of the most popular festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Ramadan is a month of mandatory fasting for all Muslims in Dubai. Ramadan occurs once a year and Muslims diligently follow the three fasting principles. Tawheed is to have unwavering belief in Allah, the one God as the protector and provider. Abstention is to refrain from lying, bad speaking, intercourse, food, fighting and stealing and devotion is to love the Prophet and Allah more than their own selves or their loved ones. Only if a person follows the above three principles meticulously is his Ramadan fast deemed successful.
During Ramadan, Muslims must humbly devote their fasting to Allah the creator. They must also follow the Islamic principles. Whoever does so is assured of heaven or Jannah. It is based on a strong belief that sincere belief and devotion is the only way to increase love of Allah and to be a better Muslim. Devotion to Islam will ensure elimination of all sins leaving the body clean and soul refreshed.
Ramadan starts during the ninth month in the Islamic calendar based on the lunar cycle. Information on when the fasting starts will be all over the newspapers and televisions in Dubai. During Ramadan, Muslims rise, eat and drink before sunrise.
Fasting goes on until sunset. Fasting means they cannot drink eat, chew gum or smoke. As a Dubai expat, you must refrain from indulging in any of the above activities in public or even in the company of another Muslim during the month of Ramadan to ensure that you do not cause offense.
So, what exactly does Ramadan and the fasting and principles it entails mean to the expats living in Dubai? There are many questions that surface in their minds. Women wonder what they should wear while the men wonder if they can still have a drink. It is indeed in the interest of the expats to take time understanding what Ramadan is all about and behave in keeping with its underlying principles to enjoy a great time in Dubai.
There is no specific dress code requirement for expats during the month of Ramadan. However, it is advisable for women to wear long sleeved tops and ankle length skirt to avoid causing any offense. Similarly, expats are advised not to sunbathe on public beaches during the Ramadan month.
In offices, non-Muslims can eat and drink in specific places allotted to them. Expats must take care not to drink, eat or smoke in their cars either on their way to or from work except under emergency situations where pregnant women or babies may need to.
Last but not the least, remember that your Muslim friends and colleagues get up at dawn, fast throughout the day and socialize every evening during this month. So, it may be necessary to display some tolerance if you find them inadvertently irritable at times.