A Guide to Ramadan 2024 in the UAE for Expatriates and Visitors


The Holy Month of Ramadan, a time for spiritual reflection, community, and celebration, paints a unique atmosphere across the United Arab Emirates. Whether you’re a Muslim observing the fast or a curious observer wanting to understand the cultural significance, this guide provides insights into experiencing Ramadan in the UAE.

When Does Ramadan Begin in Dubai?

While the official start date depends on the sighting of the crescent moon, astronomical predictions suggest March 10, 2024 as the likely kickoff. This year, Ramadan falls in the cooler winter months, marking a first since 2000!

Fasting Fundamentals: Iftar & Suhoor

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk. Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal, while Iftar marks the breaking of the fast at sunset. These communal meals become social anchors, bringing families and friends together to share delicious food and prayer.

The Three Spiritual Stages of Ramadan:

Three Spiritual Ramadan

Traditionally, the month is divided into three Ashras, each with a distinct focus:

  • First Ashra: Focused on mercy and forgiveness.
  • Second Ashra: Focused on increased devotion and prayer.
  • Third Ashra: Focused on Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power), believed to be the night the Quran was revealed.

Fasting & Beyond: First Day to Last Day:

March 10, 2024: Ramadan commences with pre-dawn Suhoor and sunset Iftar gatherings.

April 9, 2024: The last day of Ramadan, marked by Laylat al-Qadr observances and preparations for Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

Why Do Muslims Fast?

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is observed as a means of spiritual purification, self-discipline, and empathy for the less fortunate. It also fosters a deeper connection with God and strengthens one’s faith.

UAE Work Hours During Ramadan:

Respecting the spirit of the fast, many workplaces adopt shorter working hours, typically adjusting timings to avoid peak daylight hours.

How to Stay Focused During Ramadan

Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do: Dress modestly, respecting cultural sensitivities.
  • Don’t: Eat, drink, or smoke in public during fasting hours.
  • Do: Be mindful of noise levels, especially near prayer times.
  • Don’t: Play loud music or engage in boisterous activities.

Can Tourists Drink Alcohol?

While alcohol consumption is legal in designated areas outside Ramadan, respect for the observance is appreciated. It’s best to refrain from public consumption during fasting hours.

Visiting Dubai During Ramadan:

Visitors to Dubai during Ramadan can experience the city’s unique cultural and religious traditions, including special Iftar and Suhoor gatherings, vibrant Ramadan tents, and charitable initiatives. It’s essential to be respectful of local customs and sensitivities during this holy month.

Discounts & Deals:

Iftar buffets: Many restaurants in Dubai offer special Iftar buffets during Ramadan. Prices typically range from AED 150 to AED 500 per person. Some popular options include:

Sumosan: This Japanese restaurant offers a delicious Iftar buffet with a variety of sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes.

QD’s: This American restaurant offers a classic Iftar buffet with a mix of international dishes.

DoubleTree by Hilton Jumeirah Beach: This hotel offers a seafood-themed Iftar buffet with stunning views of the beach.

Suhoor deals: Some restaurants also offer special Suhoor deals, which are meals eaten before dawn during Ramadan. Prices typically range from AED 50 to AED 100 per person.

Ramadan tents: Many hotels in Dubai set up special Ramadan tents for Iftar and Suhoor. These tents offer a festive atmosphere and often have live entertainment. Prices typically range from AED 200 to AED 500 per person.

Shopping Deals:

Ramadan sales: Many stores in Dubai offer discounts during Ramadan. Discounts typically range from 20% to 70%. Some popular stores to check out include:a

Noon.com: This online marketplace offers up to 80% discount on electronics, fashion, groceries, and more.

Hummel: This sportswear brand offers up to 70% discount on all their products.

Malls: Many malls in Dubai also offer special Ramadan promotions, such as extended hours and family-friendly activities.

Dubai Real Estate and Ramadan

Ramadan often sees a slowdown in real estate activity in Dubai, as residents and businesses prioritize religious observance and family gatherings. However, it can also be a time for property developers to offer incentives and promotions to attract potential buyers and investors.

Breaking the Fast:

Muslims break their fast with dates and water at sunset, followed by a full Iftar meal with family and friends.

Iftar Delights in Dubai & Abu Dhabi:

Iftar Delights in Dubai & Abu Dhabi

Dubai: Indulge in lavish buffets at Burj Khalifa’s Armani Hotel or authentic Emirati cuisine at Al Hadheerah in the desert.

Abu Dhabi: Experience cultural heritage at Qasr Al Watan’s Ramadan tents or enjoy waterfront Iftar at Emirates Palace.

Eid al-Fitr Festivities:

Marking the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion with family gatherings, gift-giving, and special prayers. Public holidays offer a chance to explore cultural events and celebrations.


Fasting Hours: Daily fasting hours vary depending on location and astronomical calculations.

Non-Muslims Fasting: Not expected; respectfulness is appreciated.

Public Eating: Refrain from eating or drinking in public during fasting hours.

Expatriate Participation: Join community Iftar events, volunteer at charity organizations, or simply observe the respectful atmosphere.

Business Hours: Expect shorter working hours in many sectors.

Dress Code: Dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees.

Special Events: Attend cultural activities, Ramadan tents, and religious lectures.

Nightlife: Nightlife options might be limited but private events and cultural shows are available.

Music & Entertainment: Loud music is generally avoided during fasting hours.

Experiencing Ramadan in the UAE goes beyond observing fasting rituals. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in a deeply spiritual and culturally rich tradition, fostering understanding and
appreciation for a unique way of life.




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