Ramadan is a holy month when Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Holy Quran to the Prophet Mohammed. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this month Muslims are required to fast from dawn until dusk, abstaining from eating and drinking, sex and smoking.
When is Ramadan in Dubai?
The month of Ramadan starts and ends with the sighting of the new moon.
In the UAE a committee of government officials, religious leaders, and astronomers confirms the sighting of the crescent moon and the beginning of Ramadan.
At present the dates for Ramadan in Dubai can only be estimated. In 2012 it is expected to start on July 20 and end on August 18.
Rules for Non-Muslims
Non-Muslims are not expected to fast during Ramadan. They should however respect the holy month and refrain from eating and drinking in public places in the daytime.
The police do arrest people for consuming alcohol and eating in public. They are usually sympathetic and will issue a warning to non-Muslims unaware of the rule. Those who fail to heed their advice could be put on trial and fined, or even sent to prison.
Non-Muslims should also dress modestly and act conservatively.
Hotels and Restaurants
Hotels, especially business hotels, are quieter during Ramadan.
Tourists who don’t mind the hot weather can pick up great deals during this time of the year. Many hotels offer heavily discounted rates; great news for those that normally couldn’t afford a holiday in Dubai.
In the daytime many hotel restaurants are open but covered up behind black screens. Most food outlets at shopping malls are closed, but some offer delivery and take-away services.
In the evening many hotels put on buffet called an Iftar for Muslims breaking their fast.
Nightclubs and Alcohol
Many nightclubs aren’t open during Ramadan. Those that stay open will not have live music or dancing.
Bars will operate pretty much as usual after sunset.
Shopping malls and supermarkets are open later than usual.
Working hours are reduced by 2 hours per day during Ramadan. Hours for those in the public sector are 9 am until 2 pm.
During Ramadan the Dubai Metro operates until 1 am.
- Eid Al Fitr – This is the 3-day Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. It translates as ‘Festival of fast breaking’. It falls on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.
- Eid Mubarak – Traditional Muslim greeting meaning ‘Blessed festival’.
- Iftar – The evening meal when Muslims break their fast. It is taken just after Maghrib, the prayer just after sunset. Traditionally, a date is the first thing consumed.
- Ramadan Kareem – Ramadan is generous (greeting).
- Ramadan Mubarak – A blessed Ramadan (greeting).
- Sawm – This is the Arabic word for fasting.
- Suhoor – The pre-dawn meal consumed before fast begins.