5 Tips for Visiting A Muslim Country in Ramadan
- The Islamic month of Ramadan coincides with the summer holidays this year – and in case you’re anticipating making a trip to a Muslim country, you’re in for a totally intriguing experience. In many tourist destinations, including the UAE, Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia and Egypt, everyday life changes drastically in this month, allowing guests to see a very different side to these countries.
1. Study The Background of Ramadan
Ramadan is a lunar month committed to sawm or fasting, one of the five branches of Islam. From dawn to dusk Muslims give up basic necessities like food and water and are expected to be more patient, keep the tongue clean by not swearing and practice healthy social habits. This month is like a training for the rest of the year. At sunset, it is time for iftar which is a meal to break the fast. As you can expect, everyone looks forward to iftar, and you will see many all-you-can-eat Iftar deals in Muslim countries. Ramadan becomes part of the daily routine and you will see a unique way to celebrate this holy month in different parts of the world.
2. Respect the Traditions of Ramadan
Ramadan is a time of commitment, reflection, and kindness. As soon as you step into a Muslim country you will feel a sense of calmness and spirituality in the air.
As a guest, you aren’t expected to practice fasting at all, however there is no harm in giving it a shot! In some countries, you should be beware when eating and drinking in public. Watch what non-fasting local people do, and stick to this same pattern. Many spots, particularly tourist destinations, will have eateries open and serving during the day. However, some restaurants may not be displaying it.
In the month of Ramadan, Muslims will attempt to keep away from all types of bad conduct, for example, gossiping and cursing. Many Muslims also avoid listening to music in this holy month, so it is not advisable to have loud music blaring in your car. Additionally, some countries expect foreigners to respect the dress code of Muslims during this month, therefore, it is advisable to dress conservatively in these countries.
3. Prepare well for Ramadan
The month of Ramadan can also result in drastic changes to business times, as most companies let their employees work for half the day. If you are booking a holiday, do check in advance the timing of your favourite tourist attraction. Arrange your lunch ahead of time as most of the restaurants will be closed or will be providing only takeaway service. You can keep a healthy stock of snacks, incase you cannot find any restaurant open for lunch.
4. Know the law and traditions
Check the laws of the country you’re going to before you leave. While, non-Muslims aren’t required to keep the fast themselves, and even Muslim travellers may not be fasting, some countries are very particular that NO ONE should eat or drink in public, while others are very relaxed and allow non-fasting people to eat in public.
While interacting with locals, you will find that many people are totally used to fasting, and it wont make much of a difference to them if you eat or drink in front of them. After all, fasting is all about self control. However, it is advisable to act according to the situation, so if you feel that the locals are getting offended if you eat in front of them, it would be better to avoid. By doing research before you go, you can ensure that you are ready for anything!
5. Get in the Ramadan swing
If you are traveling to a Muslim country to get to know its culture and heritage, Ramadan is the best time to plan your travels. You will see plenty of selfless acts, and lots of food distributed in mosques. One of the most beautiful sites you will see in mosques is that the rich and the poor sit together at the same table and enjoy their meal together.
When in Dubai, do head towards any of the residents who have placed their fridges outside so that workers, who have been working in the hot sun all day, can easily come and take some food and drinks from the fridge. The residents themselves fill the fridges and others are also welcome to keep adding to the food in the fridges. This is a great initiative which was started in Ramadan and has expanded now. To know more about the Ramadan fridges head over to their facebook group. You can find the a fridge near your location here.