Your guide to Ramadan with iftars, suhoors and cultural events
We love Dubai at Ramadan
How to have the best Holy Month ever in the city 1 Comments
How does Ramadan affect you? For the city’s Muslim residents, Ramadan is a time for prayer and spiritual reflection, fasting and charity. While non-Muslim Dubai residents are under no obligation to fast or pray they must respect the traditions and laws of the Holy Month, which range from not eating in public to refraining from playing music in public places. As such, the city takes a different tone, but this is no bad thing. Ramadan offers a wealth of opportunity to explore and understand Islamic culture and customs, as well as a break from the fast pace of life of the rest of the year. With this in mind, we’ve compiled an extensive Ramadan guide to help you make the most of Dubai at this time.
So, whether you want to enjoy the evening iftar feasts, learn more about dressing and behaving appropriately or find out which restaurants will discreetly and respectfully remain open throughout the day, we’ve got it covered. Ramadan Kareem!
What is Ramadan?
General manager at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding Nasif Kayed explains the themes running through the Holy Month
The ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, the Holy Month of Ramadan is a time for reflection. It sees Muslims in Dubai, the UAE and around the world fast completely during daylight hours. Nasif Kayed, general manager at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding explains, ‘It’s about a community of believers coming together for an exercise in improving one’s self through fasting, restraining from negative behaviour and increasing good behaviour.’ He notes that fasting is used to allow people to learn and exercise patience, perseverance and discipline, and is presented as an opportunity for people to rise above basic human desires and express empathy towards others.
‘From a worship point of view, no day or month is equal to the month of Ramadan in terms of reward for any kind of good that one may do,’ he explains. ‘It’s when the level of spirituality rises, the Holy Book [the Qur’an] is read daily, and you are on your best behaviour, striving to be the best you can. On a social level, it’s a time for families to get closer, for neighbours to get to know one another, and for the rich to support the poor and less fortunate.’
Nasif explains that non-Muslims can also do their part during Ramadan by respecting public codes of conduct, ‘for instance, dress modestly, eat and drink discreetly, stay away from gossip and backbiting, and, most importantly, try to fast for a day or two, to see how it works for you,’ he suggests. ‘Join your Muslim colleagues in a traditional iftar at a family home – Ramadan is all about sharing with each other.’
Of course a small amount of leniency is extended in circumstances where a genuine mistake is made. ‘To forgive and to be kind is what it’s all about,’ explains Nasif, and minor transgressions will be pardoned ‘as long as a person’s actions are not blatantly in poor taste or done purposely to spite the faith or rules and guidelines.’By Time Out Dubai staff
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