Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar or Hijra calendar and the holiest month of the year. Throughout the month, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink and other physical needs during daylight hours. However, Ramadan is much more than just not eating or drinking. It is a time to purify the soul and practice self-sacrifice. It is also a time to cleanse the body from impurities and re-focus one's self on the worship of God (Allah in Arabic).
During Ramadan, Muslims are called upon to make peace with those who have wronged them, strengthen ties with family and friends and to do away with bad habits, thoughts and feelings. The Arabic word for "fasting" (sawm) literally means "to refrain" - and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but also from sexual activity and the use of profane or coarse thoughts and words.
Each year when Ramadan arrives, activities in Dubai immediately switch into low gear. Work hours are shortened to 6 hours per day, most food and beverage establishments serve takeaway orders only or open nearer to sunset when it is time to break one’s fast (iftar), daytime sporting activities cease and a general calm blankets the city as devout Muslims focus on worshipping and maintaining their fast. Mosques and prayer rooms experience an upsurge in attendees as religious observance reaches its peak. Many people tend to dress more conservatively in keeping with Islamic teachings and local customs.
Music in public venues and shopping centres is replaced with Quran recitations, and no concerts or festivals are held during Ramadan. Fewer beachgoers line the shores as people observe the holiest month of the year while night owls are awakened to take in Ramadan celebrations that come to life in most of the city’s hotels, cafes, restaurants and shopping malls. Although the city remains calm throughout the day, at night it suddenly bursts back to life. Drinking establishments are not permitted to serve liquor until after nightfall.
If you are experiencing the month of Ramadan in Dubai and do not fast, there are certain actions you should be mindful of to ensure you do not offend those engrossed in worshipping or others who are taking in this solemn time to reflect and practice self-discipline. Public displays of affection are generally frowned upon, but particularly more so during the holy month of Ramadan. Eating or drinking in public is illegal during the fast period. This rule is enforced, with actual documented incidents where people have been arrested and fined several thousands of dirhams for eating in their own vehicles in plain sight of passers-by. The same applies to smoking or consuming any type of orally ingested nicotine.
One must be mindful that the majority of the public is observing the fast during Ramadan. Therefore, avoid doing the above mentioned activities in respectful consideration of local practices and traditions. It also keeps you out of trouble with the law!
Ramadan in 2018 starts on or around Tuesday, May 15 and will continue until June 14th
Here are the official Ramadan operating and working hours that have been announced so far by the different authorities.
Motorists will have to pay for parking in Zones A, B, C, D and G between 8am and 5pm and again from 7pm to midnight from Saturday to Thursday.
Parking must be paid in Dubai Silicon Oasis (Zone H) from Saturday to Thursday between 8am to 10pm, and between 8am to 6pm at Tecom (Zone F).
Parking will be free for all Zones — except Zone E — from 12.01am on Fridays until 7.59am on Saturdays.
At the Fish Market (Zone E) tariffs must be paid from 8am to 11pm daily.
Jumeirah Beach Park: 7 am to 8 pm
Al Mamzar Park: 8 am to 11 pm
Mushrif Park: 11 am to 10 pm
Zabeel Park: 11am to 10 pm
Safa Park: 11 am to 11 pm
Residential and Pond Parks: 8 am to 2 am
Creek Park: 9 am to 11 pm
Dubai Bus Service
Gold Souk Station: 4.25 am to Midnight
Ghubaiba: 4.30 am to Midnight
Al Qusais: 4.30 am to Midnight
Satwa: 4.57 am to 11.35 pm
Al Quoz: 5:00 am to 11:30 pm
Jebel Ali station: 5.00 am to Midnight
Union Square: 4.35 am to 1.25 am (Next Day)
Al Sabkha: 6.15 am to 1.30 am (Next Day)
Deira City Center: 5.35 am to 11.30 pm
Al Karama: 6.10 am to 10.20 pm
Al Ahli Club: 5.55 am to 10.15 pm
Feeder bus services (to and from metro stations) Al Rashidiya, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta, Burj Khalifa, Etisalat: 5:00 am to 12:20 am (Next Day)
Al Ghubaiba: 24 hours
Al Ittihad Square and Al Sabkha stations: 6 am to midnight
City Centre and Karama stations: 6 am to 10 pm
Sharjah and Bur Dubai stations: 24 hours
Abu Dhabi station: 5 am to 11:55 pm
Hatta station: 5:30 am to 9:30 pm
Fujairah station: 5:50 am to 9 pm
Ajman station: 5:30 am to 9 pm
Dubai Marine Transport
Water bus – Marina station: 12 noon to Midnight
Water Taxi - 9.00 am to 10.00 pm
Saturday to Wednesday: 5:30 am to midnight
Thursday: 5:30 am to 1 am
Friday: 10 am to 1 am
Saturday to Wednesday: 5:50 am to midnight
Thursday: 5:50 am to 1 am
Friday: 10 am to 1 am
For more information visit the RTA Website