Not a Muslim? Not an issue! The month of Ramadan affects all of us living here in Dubai and it’s pretty special – Think shorter working hours, quieter roads, bulging buffet’s, conscience cleansing and culture — lot’s of it.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, which, unlike its Gregorian counter part (that which is followed in the West), is governed by the moon. That’s why the exact dates of Ramadan aren’t known until the new moon is sighted signifying the start of a new month… magical right?
Once upon a Ramadan, many moons ago (get it?) The Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.
To this day, Muslims around the world attempt to start and finish reading/praying to the chapters of the Quran before the end of the 30 days, whilst fasting/abstaining from consuming anything from sunrise to sunset-Yes, that includes water, as well as food and even chewing gum!
Shorter Work/School Hours
This is because fasting Muslims often stay up later or wake up to prepare and eat what is known as Suhour – the last meal before the sun rises. It also allows people to get home and prepare Iftar, the meal with which they break their fast at Sunset. (Click ‘School Hours for KHDA published timings)
Finding Food for the Non-Muslim
The vast majority of food outlets will be closed during fasting hours and everyone is expected to refrain from eating/drinking in public view, even at work. However, there should be a designated area for eating in malls/offices etc and there’s usually a café open in each community shielded from public view. Check here for a place near you.
With Dubai consisting of around 80% expats, many of them decide to take their holidays during this month. Even those of us left behind tend to go out less during the day due to lack of eateries. This is a major bonus for those who need a bit of a detox from the fast paced living.
Did someone say dry?
The term ‘Dry’ in Dubai generally means –no alcohol available. Not counting what may already be stashed under the sink, you will not be able to buy alcohol with your licence at retail outlets and it will be difficult to get served during fasting hours. However, each year this seems to get more and more lenient, so keep your ear to the grape vine for what’s what and whatnot.
Ramadan for You
The festivities of Ramadan are not limited to Muslims in Dubai. Ramadan tents known as ‘Majlis’ are erected around the Emirate to host lavish Iftar Buffet’s and Suhour venues. The offers differ from place to place with a whole host of cuisine and shisha available. Take a look at the first ever Floating Majlis here.
It is believed in Islam that any act of kindness made during Ramadan reaps a heavier reward than usual. For this reason, the world oversees its most generous time during the holy month. Look out for charitable initiatives this Ramadan such as Sharing Fridges, and clothing drives during this month.