If you’ve noticed that the people around you have gone quite mad, this helpful guide will get you through the rest of the Holy month with the least amount of scathing as possible.
So once again Ramadan is upon us – in fact we’re nearly halfway through – and once again thoughts and topics of discussion have turned to the heat of August in Dubai, which is the same every year so it shouldn’t be that much of a shocker. I wonder if people expect cool breezes and light showers to just magically appear out of nowhere?
Back to Ramadan, I thought I’d help those expats living in a predominantly Muslim country for the first time with a guide of a few things to expect, since you will be experiencing some things out of the norm. Think of this as a ‘How to’ as in ‘How to Survive Ramadan in the UAE’.
1- Don’t drive during fasting hours. Seriously! Take the metro. But if you must, then you do so at your own risk. Fasting drivers have lower patience, higher aggression and iffy concentration levels – that’s a deadly combination. If you’re on the road just before iftar, you will get to experience Need for Speed in real life.
2- Remember that Ramadan is a complete fast from eating, smoking, cursing and the like for many hours a day (for those complaining about the time here, think about 24 hours of daylight in Alaska!)
3- Refrain from asking obvious questions such as “Aren’t you hungry yet?”.
4- DO NOT try to eat at a buffet for iftar. Think stampedes followed by long lines of the hungry masses.
5- How do you down a 5-course meal in 5 minutes? Try witnessing marathon eating for suhour at 4 am.
6- Do not reach for the remote. Those still dizzy from breaking their fast will be tuned into around 5 shows at a time and will be expected to know what happened the next day.
7- Please forgive your friends if they answer your questions with a glazed look while mouthing the word “Hamburger…?”
8- Please refrain from loud noise, serious questions or long stories before the sun has set. They are not listening and will not remember.
9- Beware of supermarkets. Know exactly what you want and where it is; go in and get out as fast as you can.
10- Your Muslim friend will be more lethargic, aloof and angry than usual. Don’t worry, this too shall pass.
While these are obviously the stereotypes, in all seriousness, the Holy month brings with it a special feeling if you will. It is a magical time when families come together and members of the community reach out and help eachother. Ramadan reminds us to be grateful for everything we have, and it is something we Muslims look forward to every year.
Plus after we’ve survived, we get 3 days of Eid celebrations, which is pretty worth it in the end.
Wish you all the best for the remainder of the Holy month.