Holy month help

The holy month can be a confusing time for none-muslims

Ramadan 2009, The Knowledge

1 Is it socially acceptable to go to the free iftars at the mosques? Or are they only for people on lower incomes?
Yes, it is socially acceptable to go to free iftars at mosques. In fact most Muslims invite their friends and their families for iftars as it is a month that brings communities together and not just Muslims. The iftars at mosques are for everyone, rich or poor, young or old – there is no barrier. They are generally organised by the mosque committee, although neighbours and surrounding residents also bring food and other delicacies such as dates and laban (yoghurt drink) which they also usually share with others.

2 If I exercise outside before work and it’s within Ramadan hours, is it ok to drink water, if no one can see me?
The general rule is no drinking, eating, or smoking in public regardless if you think no one sees you.

3 Am I allowed to have a barbecue on my own property?
What you do on your own property is your business, but consider your neighbors. General considerations apply, do not blind your next door neighbor (who may be fasting) with smoke and smells. Do not play loud music or make loud noise.

4 Are you allowed to wear a bikini on the beach? (For women, obviously, although Speedos would be the male equivalent)
Yes, you are allowed to wear bikini on the beach, but wear something conservative to and from the beach.

5 I can’t eat or smoke in public during daylight hours, but what about biting my nails?
Biting one’s nails is a bad habit and should be avoided in any month.

6 I, as an atheist, plan to fast during the day because I work with Muslims and want to respect their beliefs and not eat in front of them – so can I leave at 3pm too?
You need to observe the working hours established by your company. Please remember that regardless if you are fasting or not you should not eat, drink or smoke in front of fasting colleagues. Fasting is a holy experience that requires a lot of sacrifice and commitment. It should not be used as an excuse to leave work a few hours early.

7 Smoking shisha is encouraged during Ramadan, but scientific study shows that 20 minutes smoking shisha is the equivalent of chain smoking 20 cigarettes, and in fact could be worse due to the smoke passing though water making it heavier and causing more lung damage. So why is it still encouraged?
Smoking Shisha is not encouraged in any month. To the contrary, the UAE government has gone to lengthy measures to reduce smoking in general in the Emirates.

8 I think I read somewhere that if you work outdoors you can drink water, otherwise I reckon you wouldn't survive past lunch time?
Drinking anything is not allowed if you are fasting no matter where you are working. The Ramadan working hours are less than usual to allow people to slow down and not physically harm themselves through fasting.

9 Are quizzes allowed during Ramadan? Or is that classed as entertainment?
Anything that may distract the mind from its meditative state during fasting hours should be avoided. However, bar quizzes after 7pm are fine.

10 Do the hotels serve alcohol at their Iftars?
Many do not, but it seems that there are a few that do actually serve alcohol. Most that do wait until Sohour - the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting - though. Check our Nightlife listings for information on some that do – as well as our iftar listings in Food (From September 3 onwards, each Iftar will list whether it serves alcohol)
Moaz Khan from the Eton Institute. They will be holding a FREE Ramadan etiquette & cultural awareness workshop onSaturday August 29, 10am-2pm. 04 3658483 www.eton.ac.

Do you have any more questions about Ramadan etiquette? If so, leave your comment below or email theknowledge@timeoutdubai.com

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