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Rules of Conduct During Ramadan in 2024

Ramadan is the holiest month of the year and the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed during this period. Ramadan is an important time of tranquillity and reflection for followers of Islam, who have to abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. Islam is the official religion of the UAE, therefore it is very important for tourists and expats to know and understand all the cultural nuances during this time. We have prepared a special article with information about the rules of conduct in the UAE during Ramadan.

What is prohibited in Abu Dhabi during Radaman

During the holy month of Ramadan in the UAE there are two meals during the day: Suhoor (before sunrise) and Iftar (after sunset).

During this period, eating, drinking and chewing gum is prohibited in public areas. These rules apply to everyone, irrespective of faith, and if they are violated, the individual may be imprisoned for up to a month. They may also face a fine of up to AED 2,000 (USD 545) in accordance with Article 313 of the UAE Penal Code.

Previously, during the daytime in Ramadan, consuming food in F&B establishments was also prohibited. But in 2022, the UAE government has allowed cafes and restaurants to serve food without facades or curtains, which means that non-Muslims can eat in places intended for food.

Note! During Ramadan, it is recommended to not refuse a gift, or an invitation to join someone at Iftar.

In the UAE, smoking in public during Ramadan is prohibited and is a punishable offence. The offender may have to pay fines of up to AED 2,500 (USD 680).

During the holy month, expats should respect the cultural values of the UAE and avoid wearing inappropriate clothing in public. It is recommended to be modest as much as possible and dress conservatively.

Certain licensed food establishments and bars are allowed to serve alcohol during the day during the period of Ramadan. But they must have a special permit. You can check with your restaurant if they serve alcohol during the daytime. Typically, alcohol is served at licensed restaurants and bars after sunset.

To find more information about Ramadan in the UAE and its features, read this article.

Other Ramadan rules for foreign nationals in the UAE

Foreign nationals in the UAE have to be sure that they don’t engage in any aggressive behaviour. Swearing is strictly prohibited, and during Ramadan blasphemy is considered extra offensive in comparison to other months.

With the exception of a few places, most of the attractions will be open during Ramadan. Tourists can easily visit different museums, theme parks and other popular tourist landmarks in the UAE.

The shopping centres in the emirate of Abu Dhabi stay open for longer than usual during this period. In Ramadan, shopping malls are open until 1 am on weekdays and until 2 am on weekends. You can check their official websites for more details.

Note! The end of the fast and the beginning of Iftar is symbolised by the firing of cannons in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, as well as in other emirates. One of the most popular places to watch this breathtaking show with your own eyes is located near to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

According to the official UAE government portal, it is prohibited to dance, play loud music or disturb the peace in public, but you can listen to music quietly with headphones. In Abu Dhabi, bars which are open during Ramadan refrain from playing music. It is also recommended to reduce the volume even in your homes or cars, and expats and tourists should refrain from any public displays of celebration or affection.

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