Business in the UAE during Ramadan

Zehra Fattah Bani | 21 Mar 2023 | Middle East perspective

The Holy Month of Ramadan is a significant time for Muslims around the world and in the UAE. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and businesses typically adjust their schedules to accommodate the religious observance.

If you are conducting or planning to do business in the UAE during Ramadan (23rd March – 20th April 2023), here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Business & Operation Hours: During Ramadan, many businesses in the UAE operate on reduced hours. This is particularly true for government offices, which may only be open for a few hours each day. Private companies may also adjust their schedules to accommodate the religious observance. It’s a good idea to check the hours of operation before scheduling meetings or appointments.


  • Etiquette & Respect of Local Customs: During Ramadan, it is important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. This includes dressing modestly, refraining from eating or drinking in public during the day, and being mindful of religious practices. Ramadan can be a challenging time for Muslims, who are fasting during the day and may be tired or irritable. It’s important to be patient and understanding, particularly if your business partners or clients are fasting.


  • Gift-Giving: During Ramadan, it is customary to exchange gifts as a sign of respect and goodwill. If you are invited to an Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast, it is appropriate to bring a small gift such as dates, sweets, or flowers.


  • Business Meetings & Planning Ahead: Ramadan can be a busy time for businesses, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and schedule meetings and appointments well in advance. It’s also a good idea to confirm any arrangements a few days before the scheduled date.

In summary, being respectful of local customs and traditions during Ramadan is essential for international businesses conducting business in the UAE. Planning ahead and being mindful of business hours, etiquette, and gift-giving customs will help ensure a successful business trip during this important time.