Ramadan is almost here. In fact, this week begins the Islamic holy month of Ramazan or Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer and celebration.
The first day of Ramadan in the UAE is likely to be May 16, if the ad-hoc moon-sighting committee that will be active on Tuesday 15 May will spot a crescent moon as expected. However, in other Islamic countries, Ramadan might come sooner (within the 3-day period) as it depends on the movement of the moon.
Ramadan (observed by Muslims worldwide this May), Eid ul Fitr (June), Hajj and Eid ul Adha (August) among many others are very important dates of the Islamic calendar 2018. One can expect many Muslim followers celebrating the festivals and engaging in the obligatory prayers.
Islām is built upon the following five pillars:
- The declaration of faith, to ‘Testify that there is no true deity except God, and that Muhammad is His Messenger’ (Shahadah)
- To pray five times a day (Salah)
- To pay the yearly alms (Zakah)
- To fast during the month of Ramadan (Sawm)
- To make the pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj)
Ramadan, then, is a very special month-long celebration that lasts for one complete moon cycle. Expats need to be aware of what is expected during this time.
Here are some specific do’s and don’ts for non-Muslims spending Ramadan in the UAE as per a Gulf News Guide:
- You cannot eat, drink or smoke in public during fasting hours.
- Be flexible. In many places, live music entertainment is prohibited, dance clubs are closed, and bars might not serve alcohol.
- Visitors should refrain from wearing any revealing clothing; items that are sheer, too short, low-cut or tight fitting should be avoided. Shorts, mini-skirts and sleeveless tops should not be used.
- Be ready for shorter office work hours. Often, schedules are adjusted to accommodate for the needs of those observing the Ramadan by fasting and, therefore, tiring more easily.
- Avoid public display of affection. This is generally considered indecent in any period of the year and more so during Ramadan.
- Do enjoy the Ramadan night markets that contain pop-up souks with food, traditional souvenirs, lots of shopping opportunities and more.
- As Ramadan is a time of gratitude and charity, be charitable and friendly.
All that is left to say: Ramadan Sa’eed – رمضان سعيد.