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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hunt

5 Ways To Help Your Business To Show Sensitivity And Cultural Respect During Ramadan

Updated 5th February 2024


Ramadan is the time for your business to show cultural respect and sensitivity to it's stakeholders. Whether you're experiencing your first Ramadan in the UAE or have been living and working in the UAE for years, this updated, helpful guide offers valuable insights into the daily routines of Muslims during the Holy Month and five practical tips to easily adapt your business for success during Ramadan.


Ramadan Routine

There is more to Ramadan that just fasting during the daylight hours. It is a time of reflection, gathering with friends and family, and helping those less fortunate in the community. Days start before sunrise and the evenings and nights are filled with lots of activities. This intense routine, lasting 29 or 30 consecutive days, significantly impacts a Muslim's rest and sleep.


Being familiar with the daily Ramadan routine and prayer timings will aid your understanding and help you to support your Muslim employees, colleagues and stakeholders.


As Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar, it follows the monthly cycles of the moon resulting in not only the dates of the Holy Month moving forward by approximately 10 days each year, but the prayer times differ on a daily basis and dependent upon your geographical location. This means, the Ramadan timings for sunrise, prayers and sunset will be slightly different across the UAE. Official prayer times are published in the local news papers and can be obtained from mosques.


Example of a typical Ramadan routine

Ramadan Timings for Abu Dhabi on Monday 11th March 2024*

Abu Dhabi Time

Ramadan Activity

Description of Ramadan Activity


Suhoor**

The meal eaten before dawn.

05:08

Ismak

The beginning of the daily fast.

05:18

Fajr

Early morning prayers for Muslims.

06:35

Sunrise


12:32

Dhuhr

Midday prayers for Muslims.

15:56

Asr

Afternoon prayers for Muslims.

18:30

Iftar

When Muslims break their daily fast. This coincides with the call to Maghreb prayers, which are the sunset prayers for Muslims.

20:00

Ishr

Nighttime prayers for Muslims.

*Timings researched at Date Converter on 30/01/2024. This is not an official source for Ramadan prayer times. Timings are included for demonstration purposes only.

**Suhoor timings are individual to each household. Suhoor timing in hotels varies too and can be any time from late evening, but before dawn.


Dates, dried apricots and fruit juices are popular delicacies for Muslims to break their daily fast at Iftar, before going to Maghreb prayers, which are followed by a meal with their family and friends. It's a very social time, with eating and visiting going on late into the night and even early morning.


Implementing cultural respect: 5 approaches for your business during Ramadan


Acknowledge the holy month with Ramadan greetings

Greet people with Ramadan greetings, such as 'Ramadan Kareem' or 'Ramadan Mubarak' which are well wishes meaning: 'Generous Ramadan' and 'Blessed Ramadan'.



Ramadan dress code: dress modestly

During Ramadan, it is considered respectful to cover the skin, especially when interacting with Muslims. Ladies can achieve this by wearing loose-fitting attire featuring long sleeves, avoiding low necklines, and ensuring hemlines extend past the knees. Men are advised to opt for long-sleeved shirts and trousers instead of shorts.



Considerate scheduling of business meetings during Ramadan

  • Keep meetings brief and focused

  • Given the reduced business hours in the UAE during Ramadan, with most offices closing mid-afternoon, aim to schedule meetings in the morning. This is when individuals who are fasting tend to be more alert.

  • Only arrange essential meetings, e.g. if decision-making is required.

  • To maintain focus, establish an agenda beforehand.

  • Avoid scheduling meetings during Iftar.

  • Practice flexibility and understanding in your approach.



Refrain from eating and drinking in public

While it's not mandatory for non-Muslims to observe fasting during Ramadan, it is considered offensive to eat and drink in public during the daytime in the UAE.


To demonstrate respect for your Muslim colleagues and employees, avoid consuming food and beverages in their presence.


If feasible, designate a room or a secluded area where non-fasting team members can discreetly eat and drink without causing any disruption to their fasting colleagues in the workplace.

Show patience and understanding

Acknowledge the impact of Ramadan: the decreased sleep, thirst, and hunger Muslims’s experience when fasting. Exercise patience and understand that productivity may be reduced. If possible, show flexibility with deadlines.



Embracing the spirit of Ramadan an ideal way to strengthen your relationships with stakeholders

 Enhance your connections during Ramadan by embracing its spirit. Adjust your corporate messaging and advertising to reflect the season. Extend invitations for Iftar. Consider a small gift at the end of Ramadan, such as a sweet treat for Eid Al Fitr. These minor adjustments in your business practices demonstrate respect for Muslim stakeholders while maintaining seamless day-to-day operations, fostering stronger relationships and long term clients.



Setting up your business in Abu Dhabi during Ramadan

Let Gateway Group guide you through the cultural nuances of Ramadan as your set up your business in Abu Dhabi. Leverage our decades of experience and cultural expertise to:


qr code scan to contact Awais Chughtai about Abu Dhabi business setup during Ramadan
  • Streamline your company formation: We handle the setup process. You focus on your business.

  • Embrace cultural sensitivities: Ensure your messaging and operations resonate seamlessly during Ramadan.

  • Personalized Guidance: Gain expert insights to benefit your business.


Set up for success. Gateway Group's streamlined Abu Dhabi business setup service removes the anxiety of the unfamiliar.


Scan the QR code to send a Whatsapp message to Awais Chughtai, he's ready to help you get started.



Further Ramadan Reading:

  1. Mastering Ramadan: A Guide for Doing Business in the UAE in 2024

  2. Countdown to Ramadan: Q&A Guide to Timings in the UAE

  3. Preparing Your Business For Ramadan In The UAE This Year

  4. Ramadan Permits no longer needed for Restaurants in Abu Dhabi

  5. Abu Dhabi business during Ramadan - What you need to know

  6. Ramadan Timings Abu Dhabi: Useful changes you need to know.

  7. Business As Usual In Abu Dhabi During Ramadan (well almost)


(First published on 27th March 2023.)


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Written by Jenny Hunt

Founder, Gateway Group, Abu Dhabi & Dubai, United Arab Emirates

FORBES' Top 100 Most Influential Women in the Middle East


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