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Ramadam Kareem

“Ramadan Mubarak" and "Ramadan Kareem" are congratulatory greetings used in Ramadan (Kareem means generous and Mubarak means blessings). It is customary to use the greeting “Ramadan Kareem” when meeting Muslims during the month, and at the end of Ramadan, for the three day Eid celebrations, use “Eid Mubarak”.


Ramadan is the ninth month in and regarded as the holiest month in the Islam calendar. This is because Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) during the month of Ramadan on the night of Laylat al Qadr at the end of Ramadan. The length of Ramadan can vary as the first and last days are subject to confirmation by the moon sighting committee. Islam uses a lunar calendar and so Ramadan comes about 11 days earlier each successive year.

Known as the month of fasting, this is just of activities carried out in Ramadan. It is an opportunity for Muslims to reflect on the more spiritual side of life, to help others less fortunate themselves and to spend more time with family and friends. Many Muslims in Dubai will donate food, clothes or money to individuals and charitable organisations. Everybody can join in with this spirit of giving and many charities such as Adopt-A-Camp allow you to get involved in some way.

Ramadan Rules

During the month of Ramadan adult Muslims should:

  • Avoid eating and drinking, including water, during daylight
  • Avoid smoking during daylight
  • Avoid sexual activity during daylight
  • Curb undesirable emotions such as greed, envy, anger, lust and also refrain from gossip
  • Try and keep actions and thoughts pure
  • Use the fasting time for spiritual thinking
  • Help those in need
  • Visit family and friends

There are some categories of people who may be excused from fasting; those who are physically or mentally ill, the elderly, children under twelve, the aged, pregnant, breast-feeding and menstruating women and those who are travelling or fighting in battle. If an adult cannot fast for these reasons, then they should try and make up the fast at a later date.

In the UAE, where summer temperatures reach the mid-forties, there has been some relaxation of the rules for people working outside. A fatwa said "It is permissible for workers in certain professions to break the fast because of severe hardship," referring to a question from an oil rig worker about working outside in the extreme summer climate of the UAE. However, workers are expected to start the day by fasting and only break the fast if conditions are unbearable.



The end of the fast each day is celebrated with an Iftar meal. In some areas you may also hear cannons fired to mark the end of the fast – in the past these have been at Deira, Karama, Safa Park and Downtown Dubai in Dubai. They are also sounded in the other Emirates – so don’t be surprised by the loud bangs..


Meals during Ramadan

Suhur is the meal in the morning just before sunrise. Iftar is the time when fasting ends for the day. Maghrib prayers are the prayers held at Iftar time. The Iftar meal, just after sunset is traditionally a light snack of dates and water. Later in the evening there are larger festive meals with friends and family and these are often also called Iftar meals!



Mosques offer free meals to the poorer members of society – Muslim and non-Muslim. These meals are usually sponsored by charities or companies and one of the largest is at the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque – in the car park.

Many hotels and restaurants will have special Iftar menus and the meals may be held in large tents. These Iftar meals are great family occasions and despite the fasting, many people actually gain weight.

At the end of Ramadan, the festival of Eid al Fitr takes place. This is a great festival and is marked by visits to family and friends for celebratory meals. In the Emirates, there are at least two days of public holidays.


Future Dates for Ramadan

These dates are only approximate as the date will depend on the sighting of the moon.

2014 .....June 28 - July 27

2015 .....June 18 - July 16

2016 .....June 06 - July 05

2017 .....May 27 - June 25


Non - Muslim DO's and DON'Ts for Ramadan:·

  • Do not eat, drink or smoke in public. This is enforced throughout the UAE and if you are caught you could be fined or deported
  • Dress modestly covering shoulders and knees and avoid low cut tops.
  • Keep the noise down, playing loud music is seen as a sign of disrespect
  • Avoid any public displays of affection
















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