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Ramadan 2017: Dos and don’ts for non-Muslims

While non-Muslims are generally well aware of the dos and don’ts to be practiced during Ramadan, here are some tips we should keep in mind.

The holy month of Ramadan is likely to begin on May 27, which means fasting during daylight hours and breaking the fast in the evening with Iftar.

While non-Muslims are generally well aware of the dos and don’ts to be practiced during Ramadan, here are some tips they should keep in mind:

1. Do not eat or drink in public during fasting hours. Most Muslims in the UAE fast during Ramadan (exceptions include pregnant women, elderly people, someone who is unwell) and yet go about their jobs with the same dedication. It’s, therefore, important to respect those who are fasting and avoid eating or drinking in public.

2. Meetings are fine, but no work lunches: To expand on the point mentioned above, those fasting will be open to meeting colleagues outside office for work purposes. They will even be courteous enough to entertain you if you accidentally invite them for a work lunch, though they may not eat anything. Therefore, avoid work lunches as much as possible. Schedule meetings early in the morning, or a couple of hours before Iftar.

3. Iftar is a special meal. It’s the meal you have after ending the fast for that particular day. So, if you are a non-Muslim who is invited by a Muslim friend for Iftar, you should not refuse, and you should certainly not say you won’t eat because you are not fasting.

4. Please be a little flexible. If you have a friend or a colleague who is fasting, please understand if you see they are low on energy. Fasting for a whole day is not easy. Even if you eat and hydrate yourself at night and early morning, the body will soon run out of energy during the day.

5. Don’t tell your Muslim friends you want to fast to lose weight. Ramadan is not about fasting to lose weight. It’s about teaching yourself discipline. It’s about abstinence, about keeping yourself pure. It’s something you should follow everyday of the year. In fact, most people who fast during Ramadan end up gaining weight. This is because of irregular eating patterns and heavy meals at Iftar. There’s nothing wrong in fasting as a non-Muslim.

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