Ramadan is now being observed by Muslims all over the world, including Bahrain. It is the most important month of the Islamic lunar calendar, as it commemorates the time when the Qu’ran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is also a period of fasting, reflection, and giving.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims wake up before sunrise to have “suhoor,” a pre-fast meal. They then refrain from eating, drinking, chewing gum, and smoking throughout the day. When the sun sets, they take part in a meal known as “iftar.”
What to Expect during Ramadan in Bahrain
As expats living in a Muslim country, it is important for us to know what to expect during Ramadan. Here are just some of the things that you may notice during this period:
- Most businesses and government offices will have shorter operating hours, around 8am to 2 pm only.
- Some shops will be closed during the day, but will be open at night until early morning.
- Cafes and restaurants will be closed during the day.
- Licensed restaurants will not be serving alcohol; nor will they be playing music or entertainment during this month.
How to Behave during Ramadan
Meanwhile, it is also important for us to know how to behave during Ramadan. Here are some guidelines on what to DO during this time:
DO… dress appropriately. Ladies should cover their shoulders and knees, whereas men should wear long trousers and long sleeves when out in public.
DO… use greetings such as “Ramadan Kareem” and “Ramadan Mubarak,” which indicate blessings and prosperity for the recipient.
DO… donate food, money, or clothes to charity. Almsgiving is a significant part of Ramadan.
DO… accept invitations to Iftar. This would be a great opportunity for you to learn more about Muslim culture and tradition. Remember to bring a small token or gift for your host!
On the other hand, here are some guidelines on what NOT to do:
DON’T… eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke in public. This includes inside your car, as this is considered here as a public space. Remember that your Muslim friends and colleagues are fasting, so you should be considerate of their practice.
DON’T… hug or kiss in public. Actually, this rule applies all year round, but it is especially more important during Ramadan.
DON’T… play loud music in your house or inside your car. Remember that Ramadan is a period of reflection and prayer for Muslims.
DON’T… use offensive words or gestures. You shouldn’t be using offensive words or gestures at all anytime, but this becomes even more important during Ramadan.
As you can see, Ramadan is a solemn period of fasting, prayer, and reflection. Muslims observe it with great humility and diligence, and so should we. Let us remember to dress appropriately and behave accordingly, to express our respect for their beliefs and customs.