Ramadan is a very important month for Muslims all around the world. They fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan. It is obligatory on each and every Muslim to fast during the month of Ramadan with few exceptions. If you are living in Saudi Arabia, you must know how special this month is in Saudi Arabia. You will not find any restaurant or eatery shop open during day time. All of them open one hour before sunset and remain open till Suhoor. If you are a Muslim, believe me you will not find this spiritual environment of Ramadan at any other part of the world.
If you are Non-Muslim, you should also respect the people who have been fasting and working with or around you. It is considered highly inappropriate to eat anything in front of the people who are fasting. Ministry of Interior has warned all the expatriates living in Saudi Arabia, especially Non-Muslim expatriates that if they are caught drinking, eating or smoking in public places, they would be held and deported from Saudi Arabia. Non-Muslim expatriates should be aware that they are exempt from fasting but it does not allow them to eat in public. It is your contractual obligation to respect the rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia.
It is important to mention here that apparently Ministry of Interior has warned Non-Muslim expatriates living in Saudi Arabia but it do not mean that Muslim expatriates who don’t fast can eat or drink in public. I think there will be stricter punishment against those Muslims expatriates who are found eating or drinking in Public as they are involved in dual offense. First, they are not fulfilling their religious obligation by fasting, second they are involved in an unethical and inappropriate act.
We cannot finish this topic without explaining the meaning of “public”. As you have already read above that no one is allowed to eat, drink or smoke in Public. Public here pertains to streets, shopping malls as well as workplace. Yes, you cannot even eat inside your office as other people would be able see you eating or drinking.
However, there are few exceptions to this rule. For example, you are allowed to eat, drink or smoke in Airplane, Airport, Train Stations and Bus Station etc. You will find restaurants, coffee shops and other eatery shops open there. The reason is that Muslims are exempted from fasting when they are travelling. So they can eat or drink anything if they are travelling to a distant location.
Ramadan in Saudi Arabia
- How long the world is fasting this Ramadan 2016?
- 6 Points complete Guide to Perform Etikaaf in Masjid al Haram (Makkah)
- Procedure to Apply for Etikaaf in Masjid al Nabawi (Madina)
- Fasting Hours in 10 Major Cities of Saudi Arabia – Ramadan 2016
- Tips for Expatriates during Ramadan