Now we’re into the Holy Month, it’s essential for both residents and newcomers in the UAE to familiarise themselves with the customs and etiquette of this special time.

Here’s a helpful guide on the do’s and don’ts to ensure a respectful and fulfilling experience during Ramadan.

Understanding Ramadan

Ramadan holds profound significance for practicing Muslims, serving as a period of spiritual growth, reflection, and devotion. From sunrise to sunset, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and smoking as acts of self-discipline and purification. Falling on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan’s start date shifts annually, with this year’s starting on 10 March and ending on the sighting of the new moon in around four weeks’ time.


Extend Ramadan greetings:
Embrace the spirit of the season by wishing your Muslim friends and colleagues a “Ramadan Kareem” in Arabic.

Dress modestly: While modest attire is generally encouraged in UAE public spaces, it’s especially important during Ramadan. Ensure your clothing covers your shoulders and knees out of respect for the month.

Accept Iftar invitations: Embrace the opportunity to participate in Iftar, the evening meal breaking the day’s fast. Accepting invitations is a great way to engage in cultural exchange.

Practice patience: Recognise that productivity levels may fluctuate during Ramadan, and colleagues observing fasting may experience fatigue. Exercise patience and understanding in all interactions.

Adjust to new schedules: Be mindful of adjusted office hours and anticipate changes in rush hour traffic, especially with earlier starts and finishes to accommodate prayer and fasting.

Embrace the nightlife: Experience the vibrant energy of post-Iftar evenings, immersing yourself in cultural activities and culinary delights.

Exercise caution on the roads: Be extra vigilant while driving, as rush hour traffic may increase with individuals hurrying home for Iftar celebrations.

Embrace cultural experiences: Explore the diverse array of Iftar tents and indulge in Middle Eastern traditions, from Moroccan mint tea to games of backgammon.


Refrain from public consumption:
Avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public areas during daylight hours. Seek designated spaces (e.g. restaurants) or private settings for these activities.

Keep noise levels down: Be mindful of playing loud music, as it may disrupt the peaceful atmosphere of Ramadan.

Embrace change with grace: Accept that routines and social dynamics may shift during Ramadan, welcoming the tranquility and introspection it brings.

Abstain from public intoxication: Be mindful of alcohol consumption, as public intoxication is not tolerated, especially during Ramadan.

Exercise discretion in displays of affection: Refrain from public displays of affection with members of the opposite sex, respecting cultural norms and sensitivities.