Ramadan dos and don’ts

You’ve heard all the rumours, now here are the facts. We present your essential guide on behaviour during the Holy Month

Ramadan 2010, Ramadan

DO listen to music on your iPod if you wish. As long as the tunes you’re playing are inaudible to others, you won’t offend anyone.

DO make the most of the community spirit and food to be found in the iftar and suhour tents at many of the city’s larger hotels. Look upon it as an opportunity to relax, play games and experience some traditional Arabic hospitality.

DO get into the charitable spirit during the Holy Month. You don’t have to spend the earth – small gestures go a long way. From buying a construction worker some water at sunset to rescuing a kitten, every little helps, and it’s a great way to give something back to the community.

DO visit the free iftars at local mosques. They’re 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 delicacies such as dates and laban (a yoghurt drink), which they usually share with others.

DO go to pub quizzes during Ramadan. Anything that may distract the mind from its meditative state during fasting hours should be avoided, but bar quizzes that take place after 7pm are perfectly fine.

DO ask fasters how it’s going, but bear in mind that it’s a religious experience so keep your enquiries short and respectful, and avoid asking them how they are every two hours. You’ll only make them hungry!

DON’T smoke, drink, chew gum or eat in public in the hours between sunrise and sunset. It’s offensive, and blatant flouting of the rules could also get you a warning or fine from the police, or even result in you spending the rest of the month in jail.

DON’T dance or sing in public at any time, day or night. Not that you should have many opportunities – there will be no live music gigs during Ramadan, and only background music will be allowed in bars.

DON’T expect to have the kind of blow-out clubbing weekends you’re used to. Major nightclubs will be shut, but most bars and pubs will be open in the evenings. While some may open before sundown, they will not serve any alcohol until 7pm.

DON’T play very loud music at any time, whether in your car, on the beach or even at home. If it’s audible to others, it may offend.

DON’T wear any revealing or tight clothing in public.

DON’T swear in public. Blasphemy is frowned upon at the best of times, but during the Holy Month it’s particularly insulting.

DON’T Drink outside, even if you have been jogging or exercising. The general rule is no drinking, eating, or smoking in public, regardless of whether you think anyone can see you.

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