Good to know: Ramadan, the Holy Month in the UAE

RamadanPlease be aware that Ramadan is scheduled to commence on Thursday, June 6th, 2016.

Working hours during Ramadan for all federal government entities will be from 9am to 2pm, according to a circular issued by the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources.

Ramadan in 2016 will start on Monday, the 6th of June and will continue for 30 days until Tuesday, the 5th of July.

However, the Ministry of Labour is yet to issue a circular announcing the timing for the private sector.

If you are planning a business trip to Dubai or the other Emirate during Ramadan, please don’t forget about the different work hours during the Holy Month what will impact on your business activity and agenda.

Under the UAE Labour Law, the working hours of all employees shall be reduced by 2 hours per day during Ramadan. Work hours during Ramadan are different in the U.A.E., reduced by 2 hours for government, semi-government and private sector employees, although some may require working in shifts. Even non-Muslims are entitled to reduced working hours during Ramadan.

These reduced work hours apply to all companies in the UAE proper, whether they are based onshore or in a free zone and doesnt differentiate between fasting and non-fasting employees.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the Holy Month of the Islamic calendar and of great religious importance to Muslims as the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed during this month.

During Ramadan Muslim people fast from sunrise to sunset as an expression of their deep reverence to Allah and Prophet Mohammed.

Restaurants are closed during the day. Ramadan lasts for 29-30 days depending on the next sighting of the moon and ends with Eid (Eat) Celebrations which last for 2-3 days.

Ramadan has a significant impact on the city.

Food and even water can be hard to find during the day if your visit to Dubai during Ramadan.

Iftar and Iftar Tents

The word Iftar literally means “breakfast”. Iftar tents open up every night during Ramadan for celebrations.

Iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims to break their fast after sunset every day during Ramadan.

The other meal during Ramadan, which is taken in the morning, is called suhoor.


Make sure you behave respectfully during the Holy Month. Just few examples:

DON’T eat, drink, chew gum or smoke in public places during daylight hours. It’s offensive, and breaking the rules could get you in trouble with the law. Public places include your office or workplace, elevators, halls and cars.

DON’T blaspheme, curse or swear in public. During the Holy Month of Ramadan it’s particularly insulting.

DON’T dance or sing in public at any time. There will also be no live music gigs. Only background music is allowed.

DON’T wear revealing or tight clothes in public at any time. Both men and women should particularly make sure their shoulders and knees are covered.

Dress code: ” Cover from the shoulders to the knee”

It really is better to cover more of your arm than just your shoulders, but that’s the minimum. Definitely no minis and no shortie-shorts. Non-Muslims are also expected to dress conservatively.


Non-Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking or smoking in public during the fasting hours. Failure to such compliance could attract a month’s jail term or fine of 2000 AED.

DO greet Muslims with Ramadan Kareem or Ramadan Mubarak during Ramadan and with Eid Mubarak during Eid.