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, but nightclubs remain closed throughout the month.
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. 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 2014 will start on Sunday, June 29 and will continue for 30 days until Sunday, July 27. Eid starts on Monday, July 28
Here are the official Ramadan operating and working hours that have been announced so far by the different authorities.
Dubai Municipality working hours for government departments and centres: 9 am to 2 pm
Dubai public paid parking timings: 8 am to 1 pm, and 7 pm to midnight from Saturday to Thursday
Paid parking zones at the Fish Market: 8 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 11 pm throughout the week
Parking areas in Tecom, Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, and Knowledge Village: 8 am to 6 pm from Saturday to Thursday
Dubai testing and registration centres will operate from Saturday to Thursday on two shifts: 9 am to 3 pm and 9 pm to midnight at all service providers including Wasel (Arabi Centre), ENOC, Tasjeel, Tamam Al Kendi, Mumayaz, Shamil, Cars and Al Shirawi testing centres. Other service providers such as Wasel Vehicles Testing at Jadaf, Enoc at Barsha, Enoc at Tawar, and Quick Vehicles Testing Centres will operate around the clock.
RTA customer service centres will be open Sunday to Thursday as follows:
Umm Al Ramool, Barsha, Deira and Karama centres: 9 am to 12 noon
Tawar, Manara, Awir and Jumeirah (JBR) centres: 9 am to 6 pm
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, 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 and Ghubaiba: 5:10 am to 11:50 pm
Al Qusais, Satwa and Al Quoz: 5:30 am to 11:45 pm
Jebel Ali station: 6 am to 9:30 pm
Union Square, Sabkha, Deira City Centre, Karama: 5:30 am to midnight
Feeder bus services (to and from metro stations) Al Rashidiya, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta, Burj Khalifa, Etisalat: 5:15 am to 12:15 am
Feeder bus service Abu Hail and Etisalat stations: 10 am to 10 pm
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 – Dubai Creek station: 8 am to midnight
Water bus – Marina Mall station: 12 noon, 4 pm, 8 pm and midnight
Ghubaiba and Festival City stations: 4 pm to midnight
Dubai Ferry – Marina Mall: 11 am to 5 pm, and 6:30 pm
Dubai Ferry – Ghubaiba: 11 am
Saturday to Wednesday: 5:30 am to midnight
Thursday: 5:30 am to 1 am
Friday: 1 pm to 1 am
Saturday to Wednesday: 5:50 am to midnight
Thursday: 5:50 am to 1 am
Friday: 1 pm to 1 am