5 Must-know about Ramadan (plus 4 tips for tourist)

Ramadan is the holy month in the Islamic Calendar, a lot of things change interestingly during this month.

Especially in Arab countries, and if you decided to travel to one of them! make sure to check when this holy month will be so that you can experience a whole lot of different things during this month.

But first of all, what is Ramadan? When is Ramadan? Why do people fast in Ramadan? Who has to do the fasting and what are the Rules?

In this article, I will share with you everything you need to know about Ramadan month and answer all your questions about it.

I will also explain to you what will be different in Ramadan and what you better shouldn’t do as a tourist visitor during Ramadan month.

So let’s jump right into it :

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth and holy month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Allah(God) sent down the holy Koran in this month.

Muslims (including me) don’t eat any food, drink any liquid or smoke cigarettes and showing a gum nor taking medicine (even the pill we swallow without water), starting from the dawn till the sunset.

And I mean it, literally anything that the mouth can take

This month, Muslims serve above all to come closer to Allah(God), as he closes the gates of hell on Ramadan and opens his gates to Jennah.

All Muslims should strongly adhere to the rules this month – cause fasting the Ramadan month is one of the five pillars of Islam,

When is Ramadan month?
Since Ramadan is based on the Islamic lunar calendar, there is no fixed date for the month of Ramadan. The Islamic lunar calendar is 11days shorter than the normal calendar,

The Islamic lunar calendar is not based on the sun, but on the moon (12 times) instead.

Muslims begin the fast when they see the crescent of the moon for the first time and they end the fast when the sickle of the moon reappears after a new moon.

Oh yeah, speaking of the last days of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan, we call this holiday “Ied al Fitr” which means “the festival of breaking the fast”.

This is an ideal time where the family members get together and spend this day off together and enjoy their time, a lot of people tend to go out during the day time so you will probably find all the tourist places in the central cities to be a bit crowded.

Why Fasting?

So many people think that Muslims fast cause they want to experience how poor people feel when they haven’t eaten or drank all day, this is not true, if so then why poor people fast too?

The month of Ramadan should above all make people aware that everything we have should not be taken for granted.

Muslims find fasting to be an exhausting time but also incredibly beautiful phase, especially in the last moment of fasting, and when they get together to break the fast.

Also, fasting has some health benefits, Muslims learn to separate appetite from hunger and show a strong will. For many Muslims, fasting is a physical and spiritual cleansing.

Does everyone have to fast?

Every Muslim on this earth must fast, But Ramadan does not exclude anyone – anyone who wants to fast can do so of course, I’m talking about non-muslims, on the other hand, Fasting is mandatory for all Muslims, but there are some exceptions.

Travelers and ill people:

Travelers and Sick people have the choice to either fast or not during those fasting days(depending on their capabilities), if they chose not to, they have to make up for it and fast those missed days after Ramadan ends.

Note: People who have have a permanent illness and elderly people have the option of fasting if they can, otherwise not fast, but they must pay the “Fidya” which means (feeding the poor person each missed day) after Ramadan.

Pregnant and nursing women also have the choice not fast if they believe they will get weaken and the baby or will harm both of them in any way.

On the other hand, women who’re experiencing post-childbirth bleeding and the ones that are on their muses are not allowed to fast during those days,

They must fast when the bleeding is gone or pay the “Fidya” (feeding the poor person each missed day).

In which countries?

There are almost 24 Arab countries out there in the world, If you want to travel to an Arab country on Ramadan!, you should always inform yourself about how Ramadan is lived out in the destination country and whether there are certain rules associated with it.

Ramadan has a great influence on the everyday life of Muslims. so What are the changes, I have listed everything to you below:

What is different during Ramadan?

Don’t be afraid to travel to an Arabic Country on Ramadan. This specific country might not be going to show itself from its best side, but you will experience this country from a new view.

So don’t be shy and give it a try. Here are 5 things which are different, when you travel on Ramadan.

People might not be as friendly as usual :

Arabic people are well known for being very friendly and very hospitable – even though you won’t see most of them during the day – some people have to work especially with tourists – taxi drivers, servers, people at the airport, in the hotel and a lot of other places.

They will try to give there best to be friendly with you, but they will be kinda moody. Do them one favor,

don’t expect them to be chatty – They’re having a dry mouth. so better wait till the afternoon or evenings before the sun goes down.

The city will remind you at some times of a ghost town during the days the streets will be very empty most of the time.

The only people you possibly will meet are tourists and their guide or somebody who tries to be their guide (don’t fall for them!).

But this isn’t necessarily bad. take this chance to have a relaxing walk through the old medina.

Most of the time these are very crowded, but not on Ramadan. Its a very nice feeling going through the medina without getting crushed into someone any time or being afraid of possibly getting run over by a motorcycle. Take this opportunity to enjoy it.


Most of the shops are not open for business :

Don’t worry! In the tourist areas, most of the shops will be open, especially during the day some shops are going to stay close throughout the whole day till the sunset(most of them will open again by night).

But even the shops who are open will close when its time to pray. When you hear the Adan calling(the calling of the prayer), you will expect everybody to go to the mosque to pray – they could even leave real quick to pray while you want to buy something.

People take their prayers much more seriously in Ramadan month and they want to be on time and don’t miss out on any of them, so be patient.

The Ramadan breakfast :

Yes, I know, some disadvantages are traveling into an Arabic country on Ramadan – but one of the huge advantages is to experience the Ramadan breakfast(aka ftar).

When the sun goes down and the Adan is calling, everybody is allowed to eat again.

This moment is magical and you can almost see the endorphins flying around. To experience it you have two options: You could have the Ramadan breakfast with locals or (if you don’t know any, you could have it in a local shop).

I would always recommend having the ftar with locals – the whole family is coming together and they are having the whole table full of delicious and traditional local food. Read here how to interact with Arabic people.

The night Atmosphere turns into a day :

As you read earlier, during the Ramadan month Muslims are allowed to eat between the sunset and the sunrise. No wonder you’ll see a lot of people in the night. Arab people are more likely to go out in the late hours in general, but in Ramadan the contrast is fascinating.

During the day it’s so quiet and calm but between the sunset and midnight the City completely awakes, people suddenly are super happy and they will even share more than they do anyways.

Pro-Tip:
If you are traveling during Ramadan, try to make a small trip out of the city during the day, cause the city is not at it’s best at that time, there are a lot of beautiful natural places worth visiting, going out and shopping in the (City)Madina would be ideal after at night time.

Things you should urgently avoid during Ramadan :

there are specific dos and donts for each Arab country. In the following, I will explain to you what you really shouldn’t do on Ramadan for the majority of Arabic countries.

Being half-naked in public :

You should always dress according to a certain dress code when traveling in an Arab country. Even if the wrong clothes are disrespectful to many Arabs, even though Arab people understand that many other cultures have different rules regarding clothing.

In spite of everything, you should make sure that you are covered to a certain extent.

Especially during Ramadan! Since no sexual acts are to be performed during the day, sexual thoughts should also be reduced as much as possible – therefore you should cover yourself as much as possible during Ramadan. Therefore, for both sexes,

they should wear clothing that is not tight and cover the shoulder to the knees. Also on the beach, you should make sure that it is a beach compartment for tourists, otherwise, there may be unpleasant looks.

Food and drink in public:

Especially in summer Ramadan can be very strenuous – hot and long days. You should consider not to drink or eat in public – this is especially true in front of locals.

So instead of grabbing and drinking juice throughout your whole walking tour consider going back to the hotel or go to some restaurant for tourists.

Listen to loud music:

Few will come up with the idea of running around with loud music in public. I think we can all agree that this is anything but “cool”. Nevertheless, there are some hidden situations.

You shouldn’t turn the volume up too loudly in the car, in your apartment or hotel room, and you should be careful with your head-to-head.

don’t bargain too much:

Shopping and trading are one of the main reasons why many tourists choose an Arab country for their holidays. The sellers can also use more “aggressive” methods and you will quickly end up with a bag full of things that will probably stay forever in the last corner of your closet.

you should not be deducted (especially from the taxis) – so it is best to inform yourself in advance exactly how much you can charge for certain things.

About the Author Simo

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