Do’s & Don’ts in Bahrain

If you are planning to live and work in Bahrain, then it’s important for you to learn about it’s culture and society. As a foreigner who will be staying in another country, keep in mind that you must adapt to the Kingdom’s customs and practices — not the other way round!

ALSO READ: Basic Guide to Laws and Regulations in Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain is a Muslim country. Hence, like other Muslim nations, its people adhere to certain rules and guidelines pertaining to their faith. In today’s article, we present some do’s and don’ts that will definitely come in handy when you come to Bahrain.

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Guidelines for Living in Bahrain

When it comes to dressing up, eating and drinking, social etiquette, and other matters — please take note of the guidelines discussed below.

Dress Code – Men
Although Bahraini men wear Muslim garments, foreign men are not expected to do the same. Nonetheless, they should still keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind:

DO… Avoid wearing shorts and/or sleeveless shirts in public areas.
DO… Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at work (depending on your office dress code). For special occasions, you may need to wear a suit and tie.
DO… Remove your shoes before entering a mosque.

DON’T… Wear shorts and/or sleeves shirts inside a mosque.
DON’T… Wear swimming trunks at the beach. Wear shorts instead.

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Dress Code – Women
Bahraini women usually wear the abaya, an ankle-length garment with long sleeves. They also cover their hair with a headscarf. Foreign women are expected to do the same.

DO… Wear clothes that cover your shoulders, arms, and legs.
DO… Wear an abaya whenever you go out.
DO… Wear a headscarf when going to a public area.
DO… Remove your shoes before entering a mosque.

DON’T… Wear tight-fitting clothes.
DON’T… Wear clothes that reveal too much skin.

Greetings & Social Etiquette

DO… Learn common greetings, e.g. Salam alaykum (Peace be upon you),” to which the response is “Wa alaykum as-salam (And upon you be peace).”
DO… Shake hands when greeting Bahraini men.
DO… Accept an invitation to a Bahraini’s home.
DO… Be polite at all times.

DON’T… Shake hands when greeting a Bahraini woman, unless she offers her hand to you first.
DON’T… Cross your legs when sitting down; this is considered offensive.
DON’T… Embrace or kiss anyone in public.
DON’T… Engage in noisy or rowdy behaviour.

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Eating & Drinking

DO… Accept food and drinks when offered to you.
DO… Use your right hand for eating and drinking.

DON’T… Offer alcoholic beverages to a Muslim.
DON’T… Drink alcohol in public. Instead, go to a bar, pub, or hotel that is licensed to serve alcohol.
DON’T… Engage in drunken behaviour, especially in public areas!

Visiting Mosques

DON’T… Enter a mosque without asking for permission first.
DON’T… Stare at people who are praying.
DON’T… Walk on a prayer mat or in front of a person who is praying.

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ALSO READ: Guidelines on Spending Ramadan in Bahrain

These are just some of the do’s and don’ts with regard to dress code, etiquette, and social behaviour in Bahrain. It may take some time for you to get used to these customs. In time, however, you will find yourself adapting and even enjoying the local culture of the Kingdom.

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