There are millions of expats with jobs in Saudi Arabia; people from different countries, with their own cultures and beliefs. Upon arriving in Saudi Arabia, however, they should adapt to the way of living in the Kingdom, which is largely based on Islamic teachings and practices.
One of the most important events for Muslims around the world is Ramadan, a month-long period that commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad. During this time, Muslims practice fasting from sunrise to sundown, as part of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Do’s and Don’ts of Ramadan
As Ramadan draws near in Saudi Arabia, everyone — Muslims and non-Muslims alike — should be aware of certain do’s and don’ts, especially since it marks a solemn occasion for all Muslims.
During the Holy Month of Ramadan, here are some things that you can DO:
DO… Express Ramadan greetings.
You will often hear greetings such as “Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Kareem,” which are expressions of blessings and abundance to recipients. Go ahead and use these greetings!
DO… Dress modestly.
You should dress modestly throughout the year — but more importantly — during Ramadan. When going outside, be sure to keep your shoulders and knees covered. Women are also advised to cover their heads with scarves, especially when out in public or visiting a mosque.
DO… Be mindful of your Muslim colleagues and friends.
Keep in mind that your Muslim colleagues and friends practice fasting during this period. Hence, make it a point to eat and drink in a separate area. Better yet, consider fasting occasionally yourself!
DO… Accept invitations to Iftar.
“Iftar” refers to the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset. When you get invited to Iftar, the polite thing to do would be to accept the offer. Remember to bring a small gift (e.g. dates) for your host!
On the other hand, make sure that you DON’T do the following things during Ramadan:
DON’T… Eat, drink, or chew gum in public during the day.
As mentioned earlier, Ramadan marks a period of fasting for Muslims. Even if you are not fasting, don’t forget that people around you are refraining from eating, drinking, and even chewing gum. Consider asking your office about any rules during this period, to be sure.
DON’T… Smoke in public.
Smoking in public areas is not allowed during Ramadan. If you are not sure, check with your office regarding this rule. And besides, most buildings have designated areas for smoking, anyway.
DON’T… Play loud music in public.
Ramadan is a time of prayer, reflection, and contemplation for Muslims. And so, playing loud music in your house — or even in your car — would be inconsiderate. If you must play music, be sure to keep the volume down!
DON’T… Use offensive language or gestures.
Offensive words and gestures are a big no-no at all times, but most especially during Ramadan. To avoid getting into trouble, don’t use such language; be polite and respectful always.
By keeping in mind these do’s and don’ts, you can help observe the Holy Month peacefully and respectfully. It could even be a meaningful learning experience for you! Meanwhile, for more information about living in Saudi Arabia, check out this guide for first-time visitors in the Kingdom.