Etiquette and Taboos in Dubai
Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year with its stunning skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, exotic beaches, and diverse culture. However, Dubai is also a conservative Islamic city that follows strict rules and norms based on its religion and traditions. As a visitor, you need to be aware of the etiquette and taboos in Dubai and respect them to avoid any trouble or offense. In this article, we will provide you with some dos and don'ts for travelers in Dubai, covering topics such as dressing, greeting, socializing, religion, gender, customs, and photography.
One of the most important aspects of etiquette in Dubai is dressing modestly and appropriately in public. Dubai is not as strict as some other Muslim countries, but it still expects visitors to dress decently and respectfully. This means avoiding skimpy, revealing, or tight clothes that expose too much skin or body parts. For women, this includes covering your shoulders, cleavage, knees, and back. For men, this means avoiding shorts, sleeveless shirts, or vests. You can wear swimwear at the beach or the pool, but make sure to cover up when you leave. You should also avoid wearing clothes with offensive or provocative slogans or images.
When greeting someone in Dubai, you should follow the local customs and manners. The most common way to greet someone is to say "As-salamu alaykum", which means "peace be upon you". The appropriate response is "Wa alaykum as-salam", which means "and upon you peace". You can also shake hands with someone of the same gender, but only if they offer their hand first. Do not shake hands with someone of the opposite gender unless they initiate it. You can also exchange a light kiss on the cheek with someone of the same gender if you know them well or are close friends. However, avoid any physical contact with someone of the opposite gender in public.
General Social Etiquette
When socializing with someone in Dubai, you should be polite, courteous, and respectful. You should avoid topics that are considered sensitive or controversial, such as religion, politics, sex, or personal matters. You should also avoid criticizing or mocking Islam or any aspect of the local culture or lifestyle. You should respect the local laws and regulations and follow them at all times. You should also be aware of some gestures that are considered rude or offensive in Dubai, such as pointing your finger at someone, showing the sole of your foot to someone, crossing your legs in front of someone, or using your left hand for eating or drinking.
Dubai is a Muslim city that observes the Islamic faith and practices. As a visitor, you should respect the religious beliefs and sentiments of the locals and avoid doing anything that might offend them. For example, you should not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims. You should also not play loud music or make noise during prayer times, which are announced by the call to prayer from mosques five times a day. You should also not enter a mosque or touch a Quran unless you are a Muslim or have permission from a Muslim. You should also dress modestly and remove your shoes when visiting a mosque.
Interaction with Other Genders
Dubai has a conservative culture that values modesty and decency in interaction between men and women. As a visitor, you should respect the local norms and boundaries and avoid any inappropriate or suggestive behavior with someone of the opposite gender. This includes flirting, touching, hugging, kissing, or cuddling in public. Such actions are considered indecent and immoral and can result in arrest or deportation. You should also avoid staring at women or giving them compliments that might be perceived as harassment or disrespect. You should also be careful when taking photos of women or asking them for directions or information.
Traditional Customs and Religious Festivals
Dubai has a rich and diverse culture that celebrates various traditional customs and religious festivals throughout the year. As a visitor, you should learn about these events and participate in them if possible. For example, you can join the locals in celebrating Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which are two major Islamic festivals that mark the end of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca respectively. You can also enjoy the National Day on December 2nd, which commemorates the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. You can also witness the Dubai Shopping Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival, which are two annual events that showcase the city's glamour and entertainment.
Photography in Public
Dubai is a photogenic city that offers many opportunities for taking amazing pictures of its architecture, landscape, and culture. However, you should be careful when taking photos in public and respect the privacy and dignity of the people and places you are photographing. You should always ask for permission before taking photos of someone, especially women, children, or government officials. You should also avoid taking photos of military, police, or security personnel or facilities, as well as airports, bridges, or government buildings. You should also not take photos of mosques or religious sites without permission or during prayer times.
Tips to Maintain Etiquette in Dubai
- Dress modestly and appropriately in public and avoid wearing clothes that are too revealing, tight, or offensive.
- Greet people with "As-salamu alaykum" and shake hands with someone of the same gender if they offer their hand first.
- Avoid sensitive or controversial topics such as religion, politics, sex, or personal matters and respect the local laws and regulations.
- Respect the religious beliefs and practices of the locals and avoid eating, drinking, smoking, or making noise in public during Ramadan or prayer times.
- Avoid any physical contact or interaction with someone of the opposite gender that might be considered indecent, immoral, or disrespectful.
- Learn about and participate in the traditional customs and religious festivals of the city and appreciate its culture and diversity.
- Ask for permission before taking photos of someone or something and avoid taking photos of military, police, security, or religious personnel or facilities.
By following these etiquette and taboos in Dubai, you can ensure that you have a pleasant and memorable experience in this amazing city. Dubai is a welcoming and hospitable city that offers a lot of attractions and activities for visitors. However, it is also a city that values its religion and traditions and expects visitors to respect them. By being aware of the etiquette and taboos in Dubai, you can avoid any trouble or offense and enjoy your stay.