Ramadan is an important religious event for Muslims who devote
more time to worshipping and fast during daylight hours to better appreciate the
plight of those who are hungry in the world. It’s an honourable and spiritual
sacrifice and one that non-Muslims can take part in. If you wish to join in the
fast , consult your doctor first, and even if you don’t join the fast, respect
those around you who do.
Here are the basic codes of conduct to be observed during
the Holy month:
1. Never eat,
drink, smoke or chew gum in public during daylight hours. It’s seen as
offensive and may result in a police warning or even a short spell in jail for
blatant flouting of the rules. It’s also massively inconsiderate for anyone
around you who may be thirty or hungry.
2. You don’t have to be in on the fast to enjoy an iftar –
the breaking of the daily fast is a post-sundown supper feast where everyone is
welcome. Make the most of the celebratory spirit and join in; most of the
city’s hotels create special Ramadan tents or rooms, where they serve sumptuous
buffets, complete with traditional Arabian entertainment.
3. Don’t dance or sing in public. Although many bars will
be open from 7pm onward, most nightclubs will be closed and live performances –
other than the Traditional oud playing Arabic ensembles – are a no-no, as is sitting
on your balcony with your iPod on loud speaker. Loud music in public can
distract from prayer and reflection for those around you, so get a set of
headphones if you need your beats.
4. Never swear in public. Bad language is undesirable at
the best of times, but it’s particularly insulting during Ramadan.
5. Wear more modest clothing in public. Even if you’re
heading out for the evening, avoid tight or revealing clothes. Women should
ensure their knees and shoulders are covered at all times. Don’t wander round
in hot pants – that’s just soooo last season!
6. Get into the spirit of giving. Charity events abound
at this time of year and community spirit is at its best, so don’t stay home
watching box sets – be a part of it!