XPRESS brings you a comprehensive guide on Ramadan etiquette - the dos and don'ts and a list of exciting things you can do to turn this month into a truly memorable experience.
Men and women are expected to dress in an appropriate manner, not showing too much skin and making sure hemlines and necklines are modest. So watch before you step out.
Exchange Ramadan Greetings
While meeting Muslims, it is customary to use the greeting "Ramadan Kareem" and at the end of Ramadan, during the Eid celebrations "Eid Mubarak".
Respect those on fast
Fasting can result in a change of temperament in some people; therefore be considerate towards the people around you.
If invited to an iftar with friends or colleagues, do go along and always be on time if not a few minutes early. Remember not to go empty-handed; desserts are always a good option to offer the host.
Refrain from eating or drinking in public places
From dawn to dusk, no one is allowed to eat, drink or smoke in public places as a sign of respect to those fasting, therefore those who wish to eat or drink are advised to do so in private places.
Do not play loud music
Ramadan is a time for prayer and spiritual reflection, therefore playing loud music at home or in the car should be avoided. At the time of Azaan (call to prayer), the sound of music or TV channels should be put on mute.
Avoid driving during dusk
During sundown people head home to end their fast, therefore if it isn't required to be on the road, refrain from doing so and wait for half an hour.
Do not swear, shout or get angry in public
Ramadan is a time of patience and controlling emotions; swearing or any form of outrage is disrespectful to people as well as to the piousness of the month.
Do not engage in public displays of affection
It is against the customs of the country to engage in displays of affection in public, and even more so during the month of Ramadan.
Do not offer food or drink
Do not offer a Muslim food or drink during fasting hours, believing it to be an act of hospitality. They will understand and appreciate this gesture and not find it offending.
How non-Muslims can enjoy the spirit of Ramadan
Ramadan is a month of spirituality, reflection, sharing and helping those in need. In fact, there are several ways in which even non-Muslims in the country can participate and imbibe the spirit of the month. Here are some tips on how you can join in:
Help the needy and give charity
Ramadan is a month of giving charity to the needy. This is the perfect occasion to hold a community charity drive to collect clothes, toys or books, etc. The collected items can then be handed over to one of many charities in the country.
Hold an Iftar
Hold an iftar for your Muslim friends and enjoy every step of the process of preparing this end-of-fast meal. Also invite those who are away from family and who have not eaten a home-cooked meal for a long time. Do ensure that all food is halal.
Fast for a day
Try fasting for a day. See how well you can control your needs and desires. It will also give you an understanding of what your Muslim friends and colleagues go through during Ramadan.
Promotions and activities galore
Shopping malls (extended hours) and restaurants in the city are offering a wide range of discounts. We say go out and soak up the spirit.
Time for some introspection
Ramadan is the perfect time to engage in introspection and to take a close look at our feelings, thoughts and action, and resolve to make improvements. How about giving up smoking?