Ramadan begins at the first sighting of the new crescent moon and lasts 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the next crescent. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Residents in the UAE are preparing for Ramadan, one of the most important Islamic months of the year. Ramadan is more likely to begin on Thursday, March 23, in some Arab countries, according to astronomical calculations. The fasting hours will reach approximately 14 hours, and vary about 40 minutes from the beginning of the month to the end.

In preparation for Ramadan, there are also changes in parking time, such as reduced working hours, shorter school days, and shorter school days during the holy month. Here's everything you need to know is as follows:

Ramadan in UAE

What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is regarded as the holiest month of the year as it was the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) on the night of Laylat Al Qadr, one of the last ten nights of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the month of piety, charity and blessings. During Ramadan, capable Muslims are required to abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. Such fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam.
stock office work
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Working hours for employees

Sharjah's human resources authority had announced the official Ramadan working hours for employees at the emirate's government entities. The directorate said the staff shall be working between 9am and 2.30pm.

"Departments, entities and institutions that operate in shifts shall determine the beginning and end of their official working hours according to their work systems," the authority said.

Earlier, the FAHR had issued a circular setting the official working hours for ministries and federal authorities at 9am to 2.30pm from Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 12pm on Friday. Meanwhile, for the private sector, the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) recently announced that work shifts would be reduced by two hours during the holy month.

School working hours

Furthermore, students in universities and public schools should attend their classes remotely on Fridays, with physical exams scheduled on specific dates taking priority.

Ramadan decoration at Sharjah Mega Mall on1 MAY 2019 photo; Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

Shops allowed to stay open longer

Following the announcement of the reduction of work hours for the private and public sectors last week, it was announced last week that establishments in Sharjah can apply for special permits to extend work hours during the holy month.

The municipality provides this service as part of its preparations for the holy month and to facilitate these establishments by giving them the opportunity to practice their commercial activity late into the night.

How to apply: The permits are issued through the municipality’s website by selecting ‘Our electronic and smart services’, then choosing ‘Services of the Control and Inspection Department’, and applying for the permit for the nights of Ramadan by uploading the required documents.

Exemptions: Meanwhile, restaurants, bakeries and cafeterias can stay open past midnight in Ramadan without the need to obtain the permit.

Paid parking, park timings

Sharjah has announced its revised paid parking hours for Ramadan. Paid parking will be applicable from 8am to 12am. Parking is free on Fridays, except in zones that have blue information signs. In such areas, parking is a paid service on all days of the week.

The parking surrounding mosques will be free for an hour from the Adhan (call to prayer).

Sharjah park
Parks in Sharjah will be open all days of the week from 4pm to 12am (midnight).

Park opening hours

The municipality also announced the Sharjah City Parks’ opening hours. The parks will be open all days of the week from 4pm to 12am (midnight).

Cannons locations

The Sharjah Police have identified four locations to place cannons. They include: 

  • Al Majaz waterfront
  • Hison Al Dhaid in Central Region
  • Clock Tower in Kalba city
  • Khorfakkan Amphitheatre in Khor Fakkan

The Sharjah government will also distribute meals to those attending the cannon firing this year.

Rules for eateries to operate during daytime

Sharjah City Municipality (SCM) has issued guidelines that food outlets need to follow during the month of Ramadan for operating during daytime hours. According to the Sharjah City Municipality (SCM), outlets will be required to apply for permits if they wish to display food items during the daytime and also follow some general rules when it comes to the display of food.

Permit and fees

Dh3,000 fee: According to SCM, the ‘permit to operate and display food during daytime in Ramadan for food preparation and display on premises, including premises in shopping centers’ would cost Dh3,000.

Dh500 fee: The ‘permit to display foods in front of premises before Iftar for restaurants, cafeterias pastry shops and tortilla bakeries’ costs Dh500.

General requirements

The municipality also issued some general guidelines that need to be followed if an outlet is operating during the day:

Operation requirements:

  • Food should only be serviced outside the premises
  • No customers are allowed in the dining hall
  • Food preparation and cooking is only allowed inside kitchens

For food display in front of premises:

  • Eateries can display food on the sidewalk in front of the premises, provided it is not sandy
  • The food should be displayed in a closed gla​​​​​​​ss box with a sliding or hinged door (at least 100cm high)
  • Food should be placed in stainless steel containers
  • Eateries can display food on the sidewalk in front of the premises, provided it is not sandy
  • Food should be covered with food grade aluminum foil or plastic wrap
  • Food grade packaging materials should be used
  • Displayed food must be prepared by permit holder and be suitable to its activity.
  • Food should be kept at an appropriate temperature, not refrigerated or frozen

Channels for permit application

  • Food control section counter
  • Suburbs affairs department
  • Industrial area 5

Opening hours for main buildings

Ramadan opening hours for main buildings and branches shall remain open on working days from 09:00 am to 2:30 pm- Monday to Thursday.

Veterinary clinics - (Al Jubail)

  • Monday to Thursday - 9am to 2:30pm
  • Saturday and Sunday - 10am to 3pm

Medical fitness centres


  • Monday to Thursday - 9am to 5pm and 8pm - 11pm
  • Saturday and Sunday - 9am - 2:30pm

Saif Zone, Hamriyah Free Zone and Al Dhaid

Monday to Thursday - 9am to 2:30pm

Industrial Area 4

Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Sunday: 9am to 2:30pm

Al Sajaa

Monday to Thursday: 9am to 4:30pm

Sunday: 9am to 2:30pm

Central laboratories

Food, Environment and Consumable and Veterinary labs

Monday to Thursday - 9am to 2:30

Building material lab

Monday to Thursday - 7:30am to 1pm

Drainage services

Sewage withdrawal

Sunday to Thursday - 6am to 4pm

Friday to Saturday - 6am to 11am

Tanker discharge - Monday to Sunday: 8am to 6am

Drainage cleaning - Monday to Sunday - 24/7

Sink cleaning and Y+TV inspection - Monday to Thursday: 8am to 1pm