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Travel to Muslim countries during Ramadan

Are you thinking about traveling during Ramadan but not sure how sensitive it is?

We’re here to tell you it’s absolutely fine. In fact, it means that you can partake of the traditions that arise during Lent.

First, what is Ramadan?

During Ramadan, Muslims fast for Allah.

They refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and intimate relationships in daylight, and breaking the fast with iftar every day at sunset. All but elderly, sick, pregnant women and travelers are expected to fast. Even children tend to participate.

Travel during RamadanTravel during Ramadan

What about traveling to Muslim countries during Ramadan?

There are a few things to know when traveling to Muslim countries during Ramadan.

awareness

I think it is important to make sure that it is Ramadan if you are traveling to an Islamic country while you are there. As Ramadan gets 11 days earlier each year it may seem confusing, but in today’s world it is easy to check online before arriving.

Fast

In general, non-Muslims are not expected to fast during Ramadan. Fasting is tough, however. I know how my mood worsens when I’m hungry. In order to be sensitive to the local culture, it is a kindness of travelers not to eat and drink openly during the day during Ramadan, by which I mean not to walk down the street, snacking or smoking. Every place is different and tourist places often still serve food and drink during Ramadan during the day.

In most Islamic countries, Muslim-run restaurants remain closed during Lent. However, when cafes and restaurants are open, tourists shouldn’t feel bad about patronizing them. In other countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, everyone is required to fast in public.

Respect and humility

Since it is a religious occasion, it is to wear respectfully modest clothing. Usually it is like that when you are in an Islamic country anyway. It is also advisable to be extra respectful of religious symbols, especially mosques, as Ramadan is a time when one needs to focus on prayer and reading the Quran.

Drums and dinner

This all sounds very restrictive, but it can also be very rewarding to spend time in an Islamic country during Ramadan. Every evening at sunset when the fast is broken, people gather for a meal, which is a very sociable and often very fun occasion as people are hungry at this point. Different countries signal Iftar in different ways. When I lived in Turkey, a young boy was sent around the neighborhood at sunset to beat a drum to indicate that people could eat.

Avoiding travel during Ramadan is unnecessary. However, it is a situation where awareness and sensitivity go a long way.

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