The rituals of Ramadan

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Ramadan in Dubai 20200520T093843 20200524T163238:637259347586621244 Dubai's Heritage and Culture Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is when the city celebrates community and it is a cultural highlight for visitors to Dubai.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is when the city celebrates community and it is a cultural highlight for visitors to Dubai.

Ramadan is an important time for Muslims across the world, as it honours the ninth month in which the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In Dubai this is no different, and the holy month presents a season of prayers, fasting and togetherness.

The dates of Ramadan change every year as it is based on the cycles of the moon. In 2020, it took place from 24 April to 24 May and, if you were lucky enough to be in Dubai during this special time, you would have experienced a whole other side to the city. 

To better understand the rituals of Ramadan, here's what a typical day during the holy month involves:


Suhoor: the early meal

Before the crack of dawn, Muslims awaken in sleepy camaraderie, to pray and partake in suhoor in preparation for a day of fast, which starts with the morning adhan or 'call to prayer'.

Siyam: the fast

‘Siyam’ which means ‘to refrain’, is the hour of fasting. During Ramadan, Muslims are required to abstain from eating, drinking or smoking between the hours of sunrise and sunset. Besides practising physical restraint, devotees must also refrain from bad thoughts, actions and words. This fast is a way of cleansing the body and soul from impurities and re-focusing on worship and expressing gratitude. Fasting also teaches you to put yourself in the shoes of those less fortunate, and encourages participation in charitable activities. At home, kitchens get busy in preparation for the quiet rhythm of iftar.

Iftar: breaking the fast

As the sun sets (maghrib), a pause falls over the city until the roar of cannons signal the end of the fast, and the proclamation of iftar. Dubai joins the world's 1.6 billion Muslims who traditionally break their fast like the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did, with a sip of water and some dates.

Taraweeh: prayers

The Isha (night prayers) and Taraweeh (extended evening prayers during Ramadan) are very important for Muslims. Laylat Al Qadr (The Night of Decree) falls during the last ten days of the holy month and this is the time when prayers are considered to be equivalent to 1,000 months of worship.

According to Islamic tradition, the month of Ramadan is when Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Thus, Muslims also read one-thirtieth of the holy book each day of Ramadan so, by the end of the month, the whole Qur'an has been recited.

Zakat: charity

One of the five pillars of Islam, charity is particularly significant during Ramadan. Special initiatives are set up by the government and organisations, while individuals also step forward to help share the Ramadan spirit with those less fortunate.

The community comes together

Ramadan is when the entire community comes together in an effort to better themselves. Whether it is attempting to keep the fast or helping the poor, you can be a part of the holy month in Dubai by embracing customs and wishing friends: 'Ramadan Mubarak'.
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English Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing