Ramadan in Abu Dhabi
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Hijri calendar (lunar Islamic calendar).
Ramadan represents the fourth pillar of Islam, which is fasting. Muslims fast during this month by abstaining from all food, drink and sinful behavior that may infringe with the principles of the holy month.
What makes Ramadan unique?
The lunar cycle determines the Islamic calendar, therefore the month of Ramadan commences with the sighting of the new moon.
Muslims congratulate each other by saying "Ramadan Mubarak", which means have a blessed Ramadan.
Worshipers go to the mosques to perform additional prayers "Taraweeh", read the Holy Qur'an, attend Ramadan lectures and sermons hopping to attend the "Laylat Al Qadr", the night of the first revelation of the Holy Qur'an.
UAE Traditions during Ramadan
Ramadan in Abu Dhabi is characterised by authentic Emirati traditions, which demonstrate social cohesion and solidarity.
Emirati families prepare "The Ramadan Meer", which consists of preparing gifts for family and friends and distributing Iftar meals.
All family members gather for Iftar around the table and shares dishes such as Gars, Thareed and Harees along with dates, milk and Arabic coffee.
Senior officials in Abu Dhabi hold Majlis gathering attended by scientists of Virtue and Emiratis.
Ramadan General Etiquette
Some behaviours are prohibited from dawn to dusk such as; eating, drinking, smoking and chewing gum in public places, however Non-Muslims can still eat and drink in their homes and some designated areas.
As per federal Law No.3 of 1987 concerning the penal code, individuals shall be sentenced to detention for a term not exceeding one month or to a fine not in excess of two thousand Dirhams if they:
- state openly in a public place that they consume food or drinks or any other thing that breaks fast during Ramadan period.
- compel, instigate or assist in making such open statement, publicly
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Ramadan
Sheikh Zayed Mosque Grand Mosque (SZGM) launches several charitable initiatives during the holy month of Ramadan every year.
These initiatives aim to spread values of compassion, giving and volunteerism of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Our Fasting Guests
In memory of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the centre organises "Our Fasting Guests" project annually during the holy month of Ramadan, where over 750,000 Iftar meals are distributed for fasting guests.
Meals are prepared at the Armed Forces Officers Club - Abu Dhabi to serve thousands of fasting guests in around 12 tents including two for female guests.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque Centre hosts lectures and lessons given by scientists of virtue throughout the month of Ramadan.
Holy Quran Reciters
Every year, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (SZGM) welcomes renowned reciters of the holy Quran in the Islamic world to lead worshipers during Tarawih and Tahajjud prayers throughout the entire holy month of Ramadan.
Setting up Ramadan tents is an integral part of the UAE tradition.
Those wishing to set up a Ramadan tent, must submit their application to Abu Dhabi City Municipality for temporary permits, including all required documents along with an undertaking from the applicant to comply with the stipulations and guidelines set by Municipality:
- Tents must not be installed on utility lines and/or extensions of all kinds.
- Tents installation must not cause any damage to utility lines, sidewalks or streets.
- Tents must not block streets, routes or entry points to buildings, car parks or emergency exits.
- Tents must not affect the mobility of pedestrians, nor must they be installed on private properties of a third party.
The Municipality conducts inspection tours to examine the tent location to ensure the highest standards and specifications of safety and security.
Installing a tent without a prior permit renders offenders liable to prosecution under Law No. 16/2009, governing construction works in Abu Dhabi.
Eid Al Fitr
The end of Ramadan is marked by the moon sighting for the new month of "Shawwal", by which Muslims welcome "Eid Al fitr". On the first day of Shawwal, Muslims pay "Zakat Al Fitr", which is a pious charity to people in need.
In Abu Dhabi, several local and federal organisations such as the General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowment, Zakat Fund and Red Crescent Authority collect Zakat to support various charity projects within and outside the Emirate.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (SZGM) website
Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities