Ramadan etiquette in the UAE: Cultural and workplace guide
Now Reading
10 things to know about Ramadan etiquette in the UAE

10 things to know about Ramadan etiquette in the UAE

With its rich history and traditions, Ramadan in the UAE offers a unique and culturally enlightening experience, for all

Gulf Business
Ramadan in the UAE

As Muslims across the world mark the holy month of Ramadan, both residents and visitors in the UAE and the GCC, come together to observe and respect this significant period in the Islamic calendar.

With its rich tapestry of traditions, customs, and cultural nuances, Ramadan in the UAE offers a unique and culturally enlightening experience for all who visit and participate.

In this guide, we share some the customs, etiquette, and observances, while also offering practical insights and tips for navigating this holy month, with respect and understanding.

Whether you are a first-time visitor, a resident seeking to deepen your appreciation, or a business professional aiming to navigate the workplace during Ramadan, here are some tips to embrace the spirit of Ramadan in the UAE.

1. Understanding Ramadan in the UAE

Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam, began on March 11 in the UAE. During this sacred month, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, focusing on faith and empathy for the less fortunate.

2. Observing Ramadan customs

Muslims in the UAE undergo significant lifestyle changes during Ramadan. They strengthen their faith, gather with family, increase charitable efforts, and engage in personal reflection.

Non-Muslims can also experience the spirit of Ramadan through various cultural expressions.

3. Respectful behavior during Ramadan

  • Dress code: Both men and women should dress modestly, avoiding revealing or tight clothing.
  • Public conduct: Refrain from eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum in public during daylight hours out of respect for fasting Muslims. Officially, doing so is against the law and could result in a Dhs2,000 ($545) fine or a jail sentence of no more than a month.
  • Demonstrative acts of affection and loud behavior such as playing music, should also be avoided.

4. Observing Ramadan traditions

  • Greetings: Greet others with Ramadan greetings like “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak.”
  • Participating in Iftar: Join in the iftar meal to break the fast after sunset. Many restaurants offer special Ramadan menus during this time. Meet with Muslim friends and acquaintances for an iftar to break the ice while breaking bread.

5. Workplace considerations during Ramadan

  • Working hours are adjusted and reduced during the month of Ramadan in the UAE.
  • Employers are required to provide designated eating areas for non-fasting employees.
  • Additionally, meetings should be scheduled with consideration for prayer times and fasting hours with mid-morning meetings the ideal time. Ask clients/ employees if a virtual meeting would be more convenient in Ramadan to avoid driving in the heat.
  • Eating and drinking are not permitted in office places (except in designated areas) during daylight hours. As a sign of respect to those fasting, do not offer any food or drink in meetings and if you are in a virtual meeting, do not eat or drink when the camera is on.
  • Ramadan is also a time for strengthening relationships. Hence, you can use this month to enhance business ties by inviting your clients for iftar or arranging a corporate iftar for your employees. Attend when you are invited.
  • Charity is strongly recommended during the month making it the ideal time for businesses to give back to the community.

6. Ramadan etiquette for visitors

  • Dress appropriately: Visitors should dress respectfully, covering shoulders and knees in loose-fitting clothing.
  • Learn about local customs: Take the opportunity to learn about Emirati traditions and customs during Ramadan.

7. Charitable acts and community involvement

Engage in acts of kindness and charity during Ramadan. Many fundraising events and charitable initiatives take place throughout the city.

8. Culinary experiences 

Explore the diverse culinary offerings and cultural experiences available during Ramadan. Attend iftar feasts and cultural events to immerse yourself in Emirati traditions.

9. Understanding Iftar and Suhoor

Iftar is the meal to break the fast after sunset, while suhoor is a pre-dawn meal before fasting begins. Experience these traditional meals and customs, with hospitality brands across the UAE offering a range of packages.

10. Enjoying Dubai During Ramadan

Take advantage of the unique opportunities and activities available in Dubai during Ramadan. From exploring historic neighborhoods to savouring Arabic cuisine, there’s plenty to discover during this special time.

Read: Eid Al Fitr 2024 likely date predicted by UAE astronomers

You might also like


Scroll To Top