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Posted On: 5 April 2021 05:00 pm
Updated On: 12 April 2021 11:40 am

[UPDATED] A Non-Muslim's Guide to Ramadan Etiquettes in Qatar

Nabeela
Nabeela
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Ramadan is almost here, and if you're a non-Muslim, you may not know that there are certain do's and don'ts to practice and follow during this holy month when Muslims will be fasting from dawn to dusk for 29-30 days (depending on the sighting of the moon) without taking any food or water in between for approximately 14 -14.5 hours this year.

Let's tell you what these are so, you're fully prepared when Ramadan comes around in a Muslim country like Qatar.

A Non-Muslim's Guide to Ramadan Etiquettes in Qatar
Image credit: Shutterstock

Do wish your Muslim friends a Happy Ramadan

In Qatar, the common way to greet someone when Ramadan starts is 'Ramadan Mubarak', but in other Arab countries, 'Ramadan Kareem' is also quite common. You can also say 'have a blessed Ramadan', and if you want to know some other ways to greet people, check out the #QTip video below. It's really up to you how you want to greet your Muslim friends.

Do respect working hours

During Ramadan, the working hours are reduced from eight hours to six hours a day to facilitate those that are fasting and make it easier for them. It’s important to respect these working hours and not try to make people who are fasting work longer hours.

Do enjoy the night activities

During Ramadan, most places are open till late; there’s an air of festivity with lots of Ramadan decorations, different popups, kiosks, night markets, lots of food and so much more. Most restaurants are open till approximately 2:30 am, so you can enjoy a midnight or after midnight snack through home delivery and takeaway only. Please note, that most eateries are closed during the daytime with some exceptions in hotels, so it’s best to call and check.

Disclaimer: At present, COVID-19 restrictions have been reimposed in Qatar and all dine-in at restaurants and cafes has been suspended until further notice.

A Non-Muslim's Guide to Ramadan Etiquettes in Qatar
Image credit: Shutterstock

Do enjoy the Ramadan shopping and dining offers

Ramadan is a time of great joy and festivity in Qatar. There are many Ramadan deals and offers in the malls and many Iftar and Suhoor meal deals in and around Doha, for you to enjoy through home delivery and takeaway only.

Disclaimer: At present, COVID-19 restrictions have been reimposed in Qatar and all dine-in at restaurants and cafes has been suspended until further notice, and kids under the age of 16 are prohibited from entering malls.

Do exchange gifts with your Muslim friends

What better way to be part of the Ramadan festivities than to give gifts or little tokens to your Muslim friends as a show of friendly relations with them. They will love it.

A Non-Muslim's Guide to Ramadan Etiquettes in Qatar
Image credit: Shutterstock

Do fast if you feel like it

A great way to understand what Muslims feel when they're fasting is to try fasting. You don't have to and, please, don't feel pressurised to do it, but if you want to, why not. Your Muslim friends will appreciate your efforts. In fact, there are many Non-Muslims here who fast during Ramadan as a sign of solidarity with their Muslim friends.

Do join your Muslim friends for Iftar (breaking the fast) when they invite you

Ramadan is a joyous month and Muslims love sharing their Iftar with family and friends. So, if you get an invite for Iftar, do accept it and enjoy breaking the fast with your Muslim friends. You'll be treated to lots of delicious and special foods!

Disclaimer: At present, COVID-19 restrictions have been reimposed in Qatar and all dine-in at restaurants and cafes has been suspended until further notice, social gatherings are prohibited in the homes and majlis. Only a maximum of 5 people are allowed in open spaces, including those who have completed both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Do plan your outside activities

    If you are planning on going out to eat or to an entertainment venue, try to avoid going out an hour before Iftar (sunset) time, because people are hurrying home to break their fast, and traffic is heavy at this time.

    Disclaimer: At present, COVID-19 restrictions have been reimposed in Qatar and all dine-in at restaurants and cafes has been suspended and entertainment venues closed till further notice. Gatherings or sitting are not allowed in public parks, beaches, and the corniche. Individual sports such as walking, jogging and cycling are allowed, while playgrounds and sports equipment in these areas will remain closed.


      A Non-Muslim's Guide to Ramadan Etiquettes in Qatar
      Image credit: Shutterstock

      Don't drink, eat or smoke when you are in public during the day

      According to the law in Qatar, no one – Muslim or non-Muslim - is allowed to eat, drink or even smoke in public during the fasting hours, or you may be fined. This includes all kinds of transportation as well as offices and institutions. That doesn't mean you can't eat at all. It just means that if you are at work, be respectful to those that are fasting and avoid eating in front of them.

      Don't feel shy to ask questions about Ramadan and fasting

      If you have any questions about Ramadan and fasting or just want to understand more about it, don't feel shy to ask your Muslim friends for information. They will be happy to clear any doubts, misconceptions or questions you have.

      Don't ask Muslims whether they're fasting or not

      It's considered rude to ask a Muslim if they're fasting or not. There could be many reasons for someone not fasting, and not every Muslim fasts during Ramadan. They may be too young, have a chronic illness that doesn't allow them to fast, they may be pregnant or breastfeeding, or they may just be too old to fast. So, don't judge someone who isn't fasting and assume they aren't following their religious duties.

      Don't invite your Muslim friends to coffee mornings, lunch parties or afternoon teas

      Avoid extending invitations to those that are fasting before sunset, as they may have to turn down the invitation.

      Disclaimer: At present, COVID-19 restrictions have been reimposed in Qatar and all dine-in at restaurants and cafes has been suspended until further notice, social gatherings are prohibited in the homes and majlis. Only a maximum of 5 people are allowed in open spaces, including those who have completed both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

      Don't get offended if your Muslim friends turn down invitations during Ramadan

      Ramadan is a very holy month for Muslims and, along with fasting, they like to focus on worshipping and being closer to God, so if they turn down some of your invitations, don't get offended. It's not that they want to be rude, it's just that their focus during the month is on praying and being with family more.

      Disclaimer: At present, COVID-19 restrictions have been reimposed in Qatar and all dine-in at restaurants and cafes has been suspended until further notice, social gatherings are prohibited in the homes and majlis. Only a maximum of 5 people are allowed in open spaces, including those who have completed both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

      Don't wear revealing clothes

      Qatar’ authorities urge everyone to dress modestly, especially during Ramadan, out of respect to those who are fasting, especially in restaurants, hotels and malls. Modest dressing includes clothing that’s not too short, tight, or has a low neckline.

      More on Ramadan and fasting:

      Don't forget to check out http://ramadan.qa/ for lots of Ramadan information and dining offers. The site will be fully updated with the Ramadan 2021 version by 10 April 2021.

      How many of these etiquettes did you already know? As a non-Muslim in Qatar, are you excited that Ramadan is coming up? Do you know when Ramadan 2021 will start? Do let us know your thoughts in our comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!

      Sources: Victoria Advocate; Gulf News