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- Asad Raza Khan, a Pakistani actor, writer, and producer based in Dubai October 1, 2018
A guide to Ramadan in Dubai
A guide to Ramadan in Dubai
Celebrate spirituality, humility and patience
What is Ramadan?
The Islamic calendar’s most important month, Ramadan, is a time of reflection and piety, marking the lunar period in which the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received his first revelations. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, the other four are Faith (Shahadah), Prayer (Salah), Charitable Giving (Zakah), and the Pilgrimage to Makkah (Haj). For observers, this period is respected by increasing time spent in prayer and with loved ones.
When is Ramadan held?
As it is based on the Islamic lunar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary from year to year, but it is estimated to fall around 26 May – 24 June in 2017. The exact day is officially announced when the crescent moon of the ninth month (of the traditional Islamic calendar) rises. Ramadan lasts for approximately 30 days, until the next new crescent moon has been sighted – before closing with Eid al-Fitr to break the fast in festive style.
How do Muslims observe Ramadan?
The beat of the city slows down, and time is taken to reflect, refresh and grow. While different countries celebrate the holy month in different ways, fasting between sunrise and sunset, regular prayer, acts of charity and modesty are encouraged in an atmosphere of giving and empathising with those less fortunate during Ramadan.
Do I need to fast?
Regardless of your faith, Ramadan can be a special month in Dubai. Fasting is not required for non-Muslims. However, you are welcome to try fasting for a day and everyone is respectfully asked to be considerate of those who are practising by refraining from eating, drinking and smoking in public areas during daylight hours. Non-fasters don’t have to go hungry as for many restaurants, it is business as usual, merely pulling down blinds to shield diners from public view.
What is iftar and suhoor?
Once the sun sets on a day of fasting, it’s a joyous occasion of eating and socialising. One of the best ways to celebrate the auspicious month is the opportunity to join in delicious iftar (after sunset) and suhoor (before sunrise) feasts with friends.
Fruits, sweetened grains, yoghurts and puddings are the main features of a suhoor meal, eaten just before sunrise.
If you are visiting the city, you have the opportunity to celebrate Ramadan with hotels and restaurants offering special iftar meals. Iftar feasts, served at sunset, are your best opportunity to experience traditional Emirati cuisine, as Iftar tents and Majlis present a plethora of mouthwatering regional delicacies.
If you’re lucky enough to be invited back to an Emirati friend’s home, be prepared for a night of celebration that often lasts through to the early hours.
Are there any other events on during the season?
The streets and malls light up with decorations and everyone is invited to share in the joy with a range of evening events, and malls extend their opening hours to accommodate the Ramadan night life. The Ramadan Night Market is a bustling marketplace renowned for delicately crafted items, artwork and a range of locally made products for a unique cultural experience. We hope you take the time during this special month to join in the spirit of the season.