Dubai: As Ramadan draws near, non-Muslims in the country are advised to exercise modesty and understand the do’s and don’ts during the month of fasting, a senior official from the Shaikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) said.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is expected to begin in the UAE this year on July 10. This period is one of the most important months in the Muslim year as it is a time of spiritual awakening, self-restraint, and worship of Allah, through fasting and prayer.
Having understanding of what the Muslim community will do throughout the month is important for non-Muslim residents and visitors, Nasif Kayed, SMCCU’s general manager, said.
“In a modest society, everybody blends in and not one should stand out. Ramadan is a time when everyone will need to exercise what true modesty means and not just speak it,” Kayed told Gulf News.
Muslims past the age of puberty who are mentally and physically fit are obliged to abstain from food, drinks, and physical desires during daytime for roughly 15 to 17 hours throughout the month. The day begins with waking up with a meal called suhoor taken before dawn to mark the start of the fasting day.
During the day, eating and drinking in public is prohibited. People working in offices are advised not to eat and behave properly in front of their colleagues who are fasting.
“Muslims will refrain from anger, cursing, gossip, arrogance, evil thinking, temptations, and the list goes on. But anybody who is not doing that is easily noticed, so it would be best to be discreet,” Kayed said, adding that dressing appropriately is also advised.
The fast is broken after sunset upon the call for the Maghreb (sunset) prayers with a meal called iftar. Kayed said non-Muslims and Muslims alike are welcome to the centre’s Cultural Iftar beginning July 11 for them to experience authentic breaking of the fast inside a traditional Emirati household. A question and answer portion on the customs during Ramadan as well as the UAE culture and traditions will also be done. Tickets are Dh135 per person, children under the age of 12 are free. Interested parties may call SMCCU on 04 353 6666.