Cultural advice on behaving respectfully this Ramadan
Time Out Dubai staff
Show respect to those around you by following these guidelines from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
Do - Accept an invitation to iftar: Friends, neighbours or co-workers may invite you to an iftar this Ramadan and it’s polite to accept. Even if you are not fasting yourself, you can share in their tradition.
- Share a Ramadan greeting: Greet your co-workers with a greeting such as “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak”. You may wish to do this on your email conversations, too.
- Dress appropriately: Dubai already has in place some guidelines for dress, especially in public areas such as malls and parks. Be especially considerate of this during the month of Ramadan. This means men and women should cover their shoulders and wear long shorts or skirts that cover the knee. Tight-fitting or revealing clothing should be avoided.
- Be charitable: Ramadan is a time of giving, so get involved with the charitable projects that will be taking place throughout the city.
- Be extra patient: Practising patience and kindness during the Holy Month is supportive and will be received well. Everyone can benefit from exercising a little patience, and having empathy for others should be standard.
- Try to avoid roads at sunset: They will be busy as people who are fasting are likely to be travelling at this time to attend iftar. If you can travel earlier or later, do so.
- Act respectfully: The Dubai Code of Conduct states that displays of affection among couples in public places does not fit local customs and culture. It should be avoided. Even if nobody within your group is observing fasting for Ramadan, you should be mindful of others nearby who are.
- Check business hours: Many shops and other businesses will post Ramadan timings, so check before you venture out.
Don't - Eat or drink in public areas: People are expected to refrain from eating, drinking and chewing gum in public. Non-Muslims who are not fasting should eat in an office break room, or designated areas.
- Turn up your stereo: Music in general is turned off during Ramadan, even that music you hear in the mall while shopping. So turn down the music in your car or in your home so that it’s not heard by your neighbours or other drivers. If you are in a public space use headphones and be sure that the music is inaudible to bystanders.
- Smoke in public areas: Smoking is regulated in public areas in Dubai and, just like drinking and eating, it is expected that during daylight hours, you refrain from smoking. If your workplace or home has outside smoking areas be aware that you will need to change your routine.
- Use offensive language or gestures: A good rule at any time as far as we are concerned, but it is particularly important during Ramadan. Show some self-restraint and calm and do not resort to swearing.