Photo taken at a nearby mosque, the night before Ramadan.
Today is the start of the holy month of Ramadan and we are still in Dubai. Actually, this is our 5th Ramadan! This year, Muslims will fast for the longest duration during this Ramadan, after 26 years with 14 hours and 50 minutes today.
The first day of Ramadan is today, August 1 and the dawn (Fajr) prayer call will be at 4:26 am, while the dusk (Maghrib) prayer will start at 7:06 pm. Muslims fasting during Ramadan stop having food 10 minutes before dawn and end their fast at sunset.
New to Dubai (or any Islamic country)?
Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection and worship for Muslims all over the world. For full 30 days, they* are required to abstain from food, drink, smoking and even sexual relations from sunrise to sunset.
* Pregnant women, children and those with ailments are exempted from the fast.
Ramadan is for Muslims but because the UAE is a Muslim country, and to avoid burdening our brothers and sisters who are fasting, even non-Muslims refrain from eating, drinking in public. It’s not that difficult and anyway, most restaurants and food courts are closed during the day time.
Work hours are shortened. Instead of working from 8:30-6 pm, most people only need to work from 9am to 3 pm. While we enjoy the shortened work hours and the peace and quiet on the roads during mornings, it’s the opposite scene in the afternoon where everyone rushes to be home for the breaking of the fast, which occurs as the sun goes down. Driving can be manic, so be alert on the rule breakers!