The rites of Ramadan

The rites of Ramadan
By admin


As the sun sinks below the horizon and the maghrib prayers are said, a sense of relief descends across the gathered throng. The time for iftar has come. In the thick of Ramadan, the evening meal is an event of great significance, not to mention one of happiness and celebration. 

To the uninitiated, during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims subject themselves to a period of fasting. Observing Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and it lasts for roughly 30 days, determined by clerical officials’ interpretation of the crescent moon. All adult Muslims, except the ill, pregnant, breastfeeding or those with other serious medical conditions are expected to observe the period of abstinence. 

Each day of fasting lasts from dawn to sunset. During these hours Muslims do not eat, consume liquids, smoke or engage in sexual relations. The holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. 

There is some uncertainty around Ramadan, however, particularly from Westerners who might be concerned about visiting during this period. To help, here are a few common questions answered to put would-be visitors to Dubai at ease. 

1) Is visiting permitted during Ramadan?

Certainly, and indeed it’s one of the best times to visit Dubai to gain an insight into Islamic traditions and to try authentic Arabic cuisine. Whether you are religious or not, it’s hard not to admire the devotion of the faithful during Ramadan. 

2) Are visitors permitted to eat during fasting hours?

Yes, they are, although visitors need to be respectful of those around them who are observing Ramadan. This means eating in private or in seasonally equipped restaurants that have erected screening to separate fasters and non-fasters. 

3) Are people more irritable during Ramadan?

No, this is not the case. But as in any travel situation, being polite and understanding is the best way to interact with locals during this period. In fact, Ramadan is a time of giving and tourists will experience friendly local hospitality during this period as much as at any time of year. 

4) Will my hotel serve food or alcohol to me during Ramadan?

Yes, hotels will have restaurants open for main meals during the day and you can consume alcohol in these hotels after sunset. Customarily, some of the restaurants in major hotels may close during Ramadan due to diminished trade but several always remain open during this period. Many hotels host sumptuous iftar dinners during Ramadan too. 

5) Can non-Muslims join in an Iftar dinner?

Absolutely. It’s a terrific way to get a feel for Islamic culture. Iftar meals are social affairs and are a time for families and large groups to gather, eat, drink and chat. The Sheihk Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Bur Dubai puts on a splendid spread and foreigners are encouraged to attend, dine and speak to the locals about the rituals of Islam. 

 

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

dubai ramadan

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