Ramadan in Doha 2017

Everything you need to know about Ramadan in Doha Discuss this article

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Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar. Muslims observe it all over the world as a period of fasting (sawm), one of the five pillars of Islam, from sunrise to sunset. It is a sacred period of reflection, worship and self-improvement as well as a time for families and friends to come together.

As Ramadan is called by the moon-sighting committee in Saudi Arabia at the appearance of the new moon, exact dates cannot be given until the night before. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin at midnight on Friday May 26 and run for 30 nights until June 24, when three days of Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated.

From dawn, followers will abstain from eating, drinking and smoking until sunset, or iftar, when they can break their fast. In Doha, it means practicing more discretion than usual while out in public, and some minor changes to day-to-day life. Ultimately though, this is a special time of year that everyone can benefit from, and a great time to immerse yourself in the country’s culture and heritage.

Ramadan is the perfect time to dive into Qatar’s rich culture. Whether that’s finally signing up the Arabic class you always said you would or visiting the Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center to learn more about Ramadan, Islam and the history of the country. It’s also a time of selflessness, and that’s something you can get involved with whether you’re fasting or not. There are lots of charitable initiatives to take part in, and it’s a great way to engage with one of the most important Islamic traditions, as well as to help the needy.

Ramadan Kareem!


Know how to behave with respect around fasters during Ramadan.

Do… make the most of the festive atmosphere and community spirit during this special time of the year. Enjoy beautiful iftar buffet spreads, play games and experience authentic Arabian hospitality with friends and family throughout the month.

Do… respect those around you. If you’re not fasting then be considerate of those who are in ways such as refraining from cooking a pungent lunch in the office microwave.

Do… drive even more carefully than usual as many people hurry home for iftar, or drive while tired and hungry during the day.

Do… accept invitations to iftar. Aside from being a wonderful way to experience Qatar’s culture, it’s polite to accept, and to take a small gift for your host such as a box of dates.

Do… use Ramadan greetings such as Ramadan Kareem and Ramadan Mubarak.

Do… be charitable.
A big part of Ramadan is kindness and helping others, so there are lots of official charities in Doha and causes around the city for you to get involved with.


Don’t… eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public during daylight hours. This includes on the street, in your car, at the office (check your own office rules), in the stairway and any other public spots. Remember, breaking this rule is legally punishable.

Don’t… play loud music, dance or sing in public. If you’re in your car or are wearing headphones, keep the volume of the radio down. Ramadan is a contemplative time, and you should be mindful of disturbing others.

Don’t… blaspheme, curse or swear in public. This isn’t something you should make a habit of anyway, but during Ramadan it’s particularly insulting.

Don’t… wear revealing or tight clothing in public at any time, day or night. Both men and women should make sure shoulders, mid-riffs and knees are covered at least.

Essential Arabic words and phrases

Hello: Marhaba
Goodbye: Maa’ salaamah
Please: Min fadliki (female); Min fadlak (male)
Thank you: Shukran
Yes: Na’am
No: La
Excuse me: Affwaan

Ramadan glossary

Iftar or futoor: In Arabic this translates as “break fast”. It is the meal consumed after sunset during Ramadan when Muslims end their day of fasting.

Suhoor: The pre-dawn meal to see fasters through their day.

Ramadan Kareem: A nice greeting which means “generous Ramadan”. Say it to Muslims when you see them.

Ramadan Mubarak: Another greeting to wish people a happy Ramadan. It basically means “congratulations, it’s Ramadan”.

Sawm: This is the word used for “fasting” and one of the five pillars of Islam.

Zakat: Another one of the five pillars of Islam is zakat or almsgiving. It requires adult Muslims to pay 2.5 percent of their wealth to the poor and needy. While this ‘can be paid at any time during the year, zakat is more prominent during Ramadan.

Salah: Prayer; another of the five pillars of Islam. Five prayer times are observed throughout the days: the first at dawn, then at noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and night.

Tarawih: Special congregational prayers held each evening during Ramadan, in addition to the five daily prayers.

Eid al-Fitr: This annual, three-day celebration marks the end Ramadan and the start of ‘Shawwal’ (the tenth month in the Islamic calendar) with prayers, festivities, lots and lots of food, gifts for kids and family gatherings. It literally means ‘feast of breaking the fast’.

Time Out Doha,

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