Islam is the state religion in the United Arab Emirates. Ramadan observed by Muslims around the world. It is one of the five pillars of Islam; this is the holiest time of the year.
When considering a stay in Dubai, you might want to know more about Ramadan in Dubai. What will be the requirements for Ramadan in Dubai? What can I do during Ramadan in the United Arab Emirates? Is Ramadan a good time to travel to Dubai?
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan marks the time when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is a period of prayer, reflection and religious devotion. During this period, Muslims around the world fast by abstaining from food, drink, smoking, and have sex when the sun is up.
Fasting begins with the first light of dawn and ends at sunset. several times a day prayers are performed throughout the month of Ramadan.
What are the dates of Ramadan?
It is quite difficult to indicate a fixed date of Ramadan on the Gregorian calendar long in advance. The dates of Ramadan are determined in relation to the Hegirian (Islamic) lunar calendar. This means that the calendar is based on the moon.
This means that each year, the dates of Ramadan are shifted by approximately nine to eleven days.
Typically, Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of the Hegirian calendar and lasts about one month.
Good practices during Ramadan in Dubai
Out of respect for the people of Dubai, non-Muslim tourists are expected not to eat or drink in public.
Rest assured, you are not going to starve. Although many restaurants are closed during the day during Ramadan, most restaurants in hotels remain open during this period. These restaurants continue to serve customers in rooms covered by screens or curtains. This way Muslims following Ramadan cannot look in.
As for your behaviour in public, you must remain discrete. Please do not be drunk in public. Please do not listen to music too loudly.
You should also dress more modest during Ramadan. Please keep your shoulders covered.
Exceptions to Ramadan in Dubai
Children, the elderly, pregnant or breastfeeding women, the sick as well as all those whose fasting could endanger their health are exempt from fasting during Ramadan. These people can continue to eat and drink while observing a certain discretion.
Breaking the fast at sunset - Iftar in Dubai.
The sunset announces the breaking of the fast, the restaurants finally open their doors. In addition to their usual à la carte menu, many offer “Iftar” which is often a large buffet.
These Iftars are offered at special but still very economical prices in order to be accessible to all.
Of course, as a non-Muslim tourist, there is no prohibition on sharing Iftar with Muslims. On the contrary, it is a privileged moment of sharing and conviviality. Do not deprive yourself, you will certainly taste some of the best dishes of Arab cuisine.
Daily life in Dubai during Ramadan
During the month of Ramadan, the working hours in companies are adapted and reduced by two hours per day.
Most malls stay open until 1 a.m. on weekdays, and 2 a.m. on weekends
Very popular tourist sites such as Burj Khalifa, Atlantis aquaventure, The Lost Chambers, Dubai Frame, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, amusement parks like, Legoland Dubai, Bollywood Parks, Motiongate or still IMG Worlds of Adventure remain open to the public but with varying opening times.
For example, the Dubai Fountains show at the foot of the Burj Khalifa is not performed during the day, but this magnificent aquatic ballet resumes after sunset.
As for the small local businesses, stores and restaurants that close during the day, these are quick to reopen after the sun goes down.
Iftar tents are also pitched throughout the city every night to break the fast. Some big Dubai hotels even throw extravagant Iftar parties in a Arabian Night setting (the most famous being the Palm Atlantis Hotel).
If you are lucky enough to be staying in one of these hotels, you will be won over by the festive atmosphere that reigns there for Iftar just after sunset.
Should you visit Dubai during Ramadan?
I would not recommend visiting Dubai during Ramadan. Many attractions are closed during the day. In the evening, hotels and restaurants offering Iftar will not serve alcohol at all. Desert safaris will not have any dancing or music on. Clubs remain closed and bars might not be operating.
The life in Dubai during Iftar feels a bit subdued and as a Non-Muslim, you will not get the most out of your Dubai trip. When I lived in Dubai Ramadan was my least-favourite part of the year.
Best to book your trip right after Ramadan and ignore the feast altogether.