Ramadan Etiquettes Every Working Expat in UAE Should Know

Vinita Tiwari, 24 July, 2014

Ramadan: A Moment to Seek Blessings from God

If there is one time in the Islamic calendar that is pious and holiest of all, it is the Ramadan time. During the tenure, Muslims around the world abstain from food and drink and through prayers, they try to get close to God and seek mercy.

This is not a part of Muslim culture but the base of it. Any fall in applying social cues here can be taken as a direct offence to the religion.

There can be a demand for expat populace from different nationalities and religions to understand the worth of staying in decorum in a Muslim country like UAE where a high net migration rate is recorded. Here’s a guide for expats in UAE to be in correct etiquettes during the holy time:

1.     Behave Right During the Days and Nights at the Workplace

Though UAE as an Arab federation has no strict regulations for non-Muslim expats however, Muslim countries and conglomerations like Middle East have certain tailored regulations that ban certain behaviors during this time. Therefore, it is essential for expats to uphold the laws and know about the holy Ramadan culture. Here is an excerpt from the ‘book of law’ observed during Ramadan in the UAE:

The Days

·       During the day, an expat should refrain from smoking or drinking in the public as this will be considered as a serious offence in Ramadan.

·       It is advisable that an expat or a non-Muslim professional carry food to work. If he/she is ready to take on the fast then nothing can be better than this.

·       There are establishments or places where an expat in UAE can have alcohol or can even smoke. So, the antidote is to research about those places and go there, if required.

The Nights

There is nothing much that an expat have to consider for the night time as dusk is for prayers and socializing with people. However, an expat can do the following for self-benefit:

·       An expat can connect with people through events seen during the evening.

·       For an individual from different nationality, Ramadan can be a best time to try local hangouts and cuisine.

·       It is good if an expat learns the basic communicational pleasantries like wishing “Ramadan Kareem” to Muslim acquaintances, if any.

2.     Dress Appropriately

It doesn’t matter how flourishing its economy is, the UAE is very particular about dressing correctly during Ramadan time. Owing to new projects coming up and a rippling job market, there is now a huge women populace as well who are keen to make a career in the UAE and there are certain societal constraints on dressing style of women here. Therefore, it is advisable for an expat woman to dress properly and better cover herself well. For men, it is nice to wear formals that have smooth color tones.

There is a general advice for both men and women that cross-dressing is a big no-no during the pious Ramadan.

3.     Young Expats Need To Know This!

After a hectic day, an expat may feel the need to bust the stress and feel free. In such scenarios, there could be a need of visiting pubs or discothèque. The young expat group should know that the vibrant city life in UAE may ‘walk slowly’ during the Ramadan as such places are kept close. However, public beaches and hotel pools remain open during this time.

4.     Expat Businessmen Should Learn to Thrive on Patience

Keeping in mind the increasing Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and mushrooming Small & Medium Scale Industries in UAE, it is now clear that UAE is a favorable place for businessmen and budding entrepreneurs. Individuals from all over the world are coming here to set up a business however, it should be noted that business transactions during Ramadan may get disrupted. Robert Half’s study says that the reasons could be shortened working hours or shutting down of trading zones. A Businessman in such times has to be patient and understand the need of the holy hour.

5.     Foreseen Concerns for ‘Soon-to-Travel’ Expats

This may not come under decorum but rather be advice for soon to be expats who are eyeing up the UAE as their option to go for a high-paying job. From the time Ramadan starts till Eid, travelling to UAE can be cumbersome. By the time second half of Ramadan approaches, flights get congested and little or no options are available to visit the Gulf.

Moreover, if an individual manages to reach then travelling locally becomes arduous as roads become mobbed at iftar during the evening time.

Last Words

Ramadan is an auspicious time observed in any Muslim country and it is obvious that an expat is oblivious of the communicational and cultural know-how. Following the brief survival guide can help immigrants of both the sexes to settle down smoothly during this holy duration.

Tags: business | Investment | Work | Invest | Middle East | Expats | Investment | Travel | entrepreneurs | regulation | law | food |



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