Traveling during Ramadan may prove challenging for non-Muslims, but it is achievable with some prior planning. Consider stocking up your hotel room with drinks and snacks so you can break fast privately.
Select a flight that departs after iftar and arrives before sahur. But overall, traveling during Ramadan shouldn’t differ much from visiting at any other time of year.
It’s important to be respectful of local culture and customs
The Muslim religion is founded upon five pillars: Declaration of Faith (Shahada), Prayers (Salat), Charity (Zakat), Fasting (Sawm) and Pilgrimage (Hajj). While some Muslims practice secular practices, all believers observe Ramadan each year around the same time; starting and ending their month-long fast based on when a crescent moon appears – a process that differs depending on where you are in the world.
Ramadan is an important time of reflection and worship for Muslims, from attending mosque services and reading the Quran to organizing food drives and donations to those less fortunate. According to legend, it was during Ramadan when Allah revealed His holy book – The Quran – to Prophet Muhammad for sharing it with his people.
Ramadan provides an opportunity for families and friends to come together, with many celebrating with special meals and sweet treats for children during its final week – similar to Halloween treats given out. Lebanon also has an unusual tradition where rulers intentionally misfire a cannon at dawn on Ramadan; since then it has become part of Lebanese culture.
Don’t ask for a meal
Traveling to Muslim-majority countries during Ramadan offers travellers an invaluable chance to gain insight into another culture while understanding the significance of fasting for Islam. Non-Muslim visitors should be mindful of any cultural norms or customs during Ramadan so they can engage with locals with respect.
Non-Muslims should not fast, but it’s still important for them to observe proper etiquette by abstaining from eating and drinking in public during the day, refraining from smoking in public spaces, and not using offensive language in public places in order to respect those observing this sacred month.
Travelers should keep this in mind when planning their food intake: asking for meals in restaurants and cafes might disrupt staff fasting themselves, so instead it is advisable to alter eating patterns accordingly and ensure you eat early each day so as to have enough energy for iftar.
Tourists should remain adaptable with their sightseeing and transportation plans during the day. Depending on their location, some venues and tours may shut down for a portion of the day or have reduced hours; to prevent being caught short when exploring a location alone. In addition, travelers should plan ahead for daytime meals by packing a lunch for day trips so as to be assured a tasty bite when out and about exploring!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Ramadan is an opportunity for Muslims to show their devotion and generosity while deepening their spiritual practice. Many devotees give clothes, money, food and services to help those less fortunate than themselves – it’s a wonderful way to become involved with local communities while truly experiencing Ramadan! Travellers can join in too by giving a tip if someone provided them with an exceptional meal, stay or service – it shows appreciation while showing respect for another’s beliefs.
During Ramadan, business hours may change significantly; therefore it is wise to check online updates before heading out to banks or restaurants. You should also bring snacks and drinks just in case; many restaurants will likely remain open but it would be prudent to book ahead for reservations if possible.
At nightfall, people turn out in droves, filling the streets with festive and delicious atmosphere and food. Now is an excellent time to visit local bazaars and shopping centres. At the end of Ramadan comes Eid al-Fitr: three days dedicated to visiting friends and family as well as attending religious services and celebrating together – much like Christmas in many Western cultures.
Keep an open mind
As you travel during Ramadan, keep an open mind. While this month can be used as a time for personal reflection and spiritual growth, it also represents an opportunity to help those less fortunate – many Muslims do this through charity or zakat payments as a form of giving back.
As it’s a season of generosity and hospitality, locals will greet you with sweets and invites to family feasts and events. Perhaps they even invite you to participate in iftar, the meal that breaks fast at sunset – typically an elaborate affair featuring music, drinks and food for all community members present.
Ramadan brings with it five daily calls to prayer (Adhan), reminding people to set aside time for prayer and reflection as well as break their fast when nightfall comes. While its sound may seem serene at first, for those unfamiliar it can be startling at first.
If travelling on business, it is advisable to schedule your meetings before or after iftar, since energy levels and work performance will likely drop at that time of the day. Non-Muslim travellers should also avoid eating in public spaces as much as possible and wear clothing which covers their arms and legs.