Ramadan Mubarak to all our readers! With the Holy month gracing us, I decided to compile a full guide to visiting Dubai during Ramadan for everyone who hasn’t done so.
‘Cause this month is probably one of the best times to visit any Muslim country. For us, Muslims, the Holy month of Ramadan is all about reaching towards our spiritual side. If you are someone who doesn’t know much about this month, read below:
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the most awaited month in the Islamic calendar which is based on lunar calculations. This is the ninth month of the calendar and marks the time when the Holy Qu’ran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is also one of the five pillars of Islam; belief in God and profession of faith, prayer, charity, and pilgrimage to Makkah. These are mandatory for every Muslim and are considered as the basic things to be done when a person is practicing Islam.
Fasting is observed from dawn to dusk and food, drink, chewing gum, and smoking are avoided. Muslims break their fast upon hearing the call to prayer at Maghrib time and have dates and water as the first food. Fasting is also observed to remind ourselves of the less fortunate and count our blessings for what we have in our daily lives.
When is Ramadan in Dubai?
Ramadan dates change every year and are at least 10-15 days earlier each year. Ramadan 2019 started on the evening of 5th May and may end on the evening of 4th June.
Ramadan in 2020 is estimated to be from the 23rd April until 23rd May 2020.
If you’re wondering “what do Muslims do during Ramadan”, it is the month when they try to disassociate with all worldly pleasures and spend time coming closer to Allah. Muslims mostly spend time in mosques and attend prayers lasting until early morning.
Fasting while travelling
If you are a Muslim fasting during Ramadan and are traveling, here are some tips for you:
- Make sure you are keeping cool so you don’t sweat too much and can avoid feeling thirsty.
- Have dates and water with you along with light snacks if Iftar time is near
- In case there is a difficulty in fasting when travelling during Ramadan, fasts do not have to be observed when traveling and can be made up later
- Prayers are shorter if you are staying at a place you have traveled to, for less than 14 days
Ramadan rules and regulations
Ramadan rules for tourists in Dubai are pretty simple and direct. These have been put in effect to respect the fasting and the Holy month.
- No eating/drinking in public as a respect to those fasting
- No smoking or chewing gum in public
- Dress modestly and avoid showing too much skin when visiting public areas like tourist attractions and malls
- Offices and government departments have shorter working hours so go early if you have any official work to process
- Since office timings are until 3 pm, expect crowded streets and traffic during this time
- Playing loud music during fasting hours is prohibited. Sure you can play music in your surroundings, but make sure it is not too loud or wear headphones
- Most restaurants are closed during the day. However, there are some that remain open but blinds are shut or a curtain is draped at the entrance. Research in advance about the restaurants in the area you will be staying at
- Greet the locals saying “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”. This will get you a smile and even blessing from others
Visiting Dubai during Ramadan
If it is Ramadan when traveling to Dubai, there are lots of things you can experience which you wouldn’t if visiting during the normal months of the year. Here are some of the things to do in Dubai during Ramadan
Beat the crowds
Sure, things might be quiet during the day but that gives you the benefit of visiting tourist attractions and beating the crowds! Most tourist attractions are open regular timings and this may give you great photo opportunities without someone blocking your view.
Since Ramadan is also a month of giving, most ticket prices are slashed, so research in advance if you can get discounts on entrance tickets of popular places in Dubai
Get fantastic Dubai Ramadan deals
Ramadan is also the time when the country has lively night souqs open way until 2 am. This is where you can head to haggle and get good bargains on spices, clothes, and souvenirs. There are Ramadan sales almost everywhere and this might really help you save on things you were planning to buy in Dubai.
Explore the culture of Dubai
Iftar, the time when Muslims break their fast, is the time when family and loved ones come to share a meal together.
The government partakes in activities like distributing Iftar boxes for free. These boxes consist of necessary items to break the fast like dates, water, juice, fruit, and main course.
Mosques also prepare communal Iftar gatherings usually hosting laborers and workers to share a humble meal for Iftar. Joining these Iftars and sharing your meal with these hard workers is truly an experience. You will also learn about how they live and help to literally shape Dubai.
For another memorable experience, visit some of the lavish Iftars in Dubai held in the best hotels in Dubai. These feasts are usually buffet setup and have various dishes that are almost impossible to finish in one seating! Click here to see some of the best Iftars in Dubai.
Learn about the religion of Dubai
After the fast is broken and meals have been devoured, Muslims go to the mosque for nightly prayers. This is called “Taraweeh” and you will hear the recitation of Qur’an during prayer times from mosques.
Since Muslims during Ramadan are reaching towards their spiritual side, this is also the best time to really learn about Muslim culture and get to know about the religion.
Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai is one of the only two mosques in the city that allows tours to non-Muslims. Hosting tours that help better understanding of Islam, experiencing this should definitely be one of the things to do in Dubai in Ramadan. Click here to see more details.
If you are traveling to Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open for tourists free of charge. They also have exclusive activities for the month of Ramadan and distribute over 750,000 meals for Iftar. Click here to see more information.
Bear in mind that when visiting a mosque, you need to be dressed modestly and behave according to the laws to respect the culture. Both mosques offer add-on clothing in the form of hijabs for women in case you are not dressed with respect to the religion.
Experience Eid in Dubai
Eid ul Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, usually after 29 or 30 days, and is a festival celebrated by Muslims by dressing up in their finest attire, lots of food, and activities with loved ones.
As the festival approaches nearer, Dubai’s streets are decked with lights, decorations, and there are fun activities happening everywhere. For a tourist in Dubai, this is an absolute experience that they may not have during the other months.
Eid is also the time when malls are open throughout the day and deals are plenty! This is great for those looking to do shopping in Dubai.
Things to do in Ramadan in Dubai are just a few listed above. I would recommend any tourist to visit Dubai at least once during the Holy Month and learn about the culture and importance of this month in a Muslim’s life.
What do you like most about Dubai during Ramadan? Let me know your thoughts!
Until then, happy traveling! xx
P.S. If you want to save and read later, here’s a pinnable version 🙂