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The month of Ramadan is considered the holiest and most sacred month of the Islamic Hijri (lunar) calendar. Muslims firmly believe that it was during this exalted month that the archangel Gabriel descended from the heavens and revealed the Message to the Prophet Muhammad.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are required to elevate their level of spiritual and physical submission to God by way of fasting; that is to say, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and also husband-wife intimacy from the breaking of dawn until the setting of the sun.

As we prepare to welcome the holiest of months, here are the dates, calendar and guide to spending Ramadan 2021 in Qatar.    

Ramadan dates and calendar 2021

The arrival of Ramadan has always been associated with a certain amount of mystique and contemplation. The exact date of the month’s beginning is traditionally determined by religious scholars/authorities under the cover of night as they seek to observe certain sightings related to the appearance and cycle of the moon.

This year, Ramadan in Qatar is expected to be upon us starting from 12 April and will last until 12 May 2021, followed by the Islamic festivities of Eid al Fitr.


Ramadan in Qatar

Generally, Qataris are still keen to revive the age-old Ramadan traditions and customs they have inherited from their ancestors. This is embodied and manifested in various practices, but none more so than in the keenness to prepare local traditional foods. This is why to the Qataris, Ramadan is also affectionately known and referred to as the month of Ghabga; the month of the midnight feast.

The purpose of Ghabga is to gather family and friends so that the midnight feast may be enjoyed in a spirit of togetherness. The youth may have their gathering here, as do the men and women; all uniting in intimacy and love under one roof as they reminisce shared memories and enjoy each other’s company.

The prevalent customs in Qatar also include exchanging Ramadan foods between neighbors, which are characterized by the richness of their traditional dishes, and customs that are also present in other Arab countries.

During the blessed month of Ramadan, nationals and residents of Qatar rush to give alms to the poor and needy in order to attain the favor of their Lord. Thus thousands of needy congregate around what the Qataris call Ma’edat Al Rahman, meaning the tables of mercy.

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Countless charity organizations along with affluent members of the community prepare these tables so that the poor may break their fast by having dates, milk and other ready meals. Makeshift praying spaces are usually set up near the tables so that Muslims may immediately perform their sunset prayer following the Iftar.


Some rules to observe

Like in practically all Muslim countries, work and school hours are cut short during Ramadan. Hotels remain open as do restaurants within their grounds. All other restaurants are mostly closed during the day with some closed for dine-in only.

As there are plenty of options to have your meal or drink during the day, please do so in private or within the above establishments. Public display of eating and/or smoking is highly frowned upon and should be avoided. Most offices and workplaces also have separate areas for those wishing to dine and wine during work hours.

Women must also take care to dress modestly and conservatively. Shoulders, necklines and knees are expected to be hidden from view during Ramadan.