A typical day in the life of a Muslim during Ramadan. Ramadan is a special month for Muslims around the world. It is a month of fasting and prayers. It is the month when the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation so it is also called the “Month of the Quran”.
Muslims families rise with the first traces of light to eat a predawn meal. The call to prayer signals the end of the meal and they prepare themselves to attend the congregational prayer at their local mosque.
Remember the farj paryer begins around 3:30 and you will not be able to eat and drink until 6:30 that evening. Following the prayer many go back to sleep for several hours. Workloads and schedules are lighter in order to accommodate for Ramadan. Office hours are reduced to 6 hours a day and almost all stores and shops open only in the evenings. The only stores open are the major food markets, they are open all day but will close for about 30 minutes during prayer times.
As evening nears families gather in their homes and wait for sunset. Mother and daughters prepare the evening meals. Just before sunset the family gathers at the dinner table and wait for the call to prayer. The Muslims hurry to break their fast with dates and water. A light meal of various appetizers and drinks are eaten. Often extended family members and friends are invited to join. It is now time to go to the mosque for the sunset prayers. After the sunset prayer many will return home to continue with the appetizers and eat dinner. The last prayer of the day is the special Taraweeh or night prayer during Ramadan when you return to the mosque, the imam will read from the Quran during this time.
By now it is close to 10pm many go home to relax or go to bed but many also go shopping. Around Khobar the malls and the souqs are very active. Mall hours change and will remain open till 2:30am. I have heard that on occasion Muslims stay up until the predawn meal.
As westerners we are warned about eating in public or when around other Muslims during fasting. In fact the authorities have warned Muslims and non-Muslims against eating or drinking during the fasting period, saying that you would be punished in accordance with the law, violators will face imprisonment or lashes. In M.E.’s office the non-muslins are instructed to eat lunch in a special room with the drapes drawn so one can see in, it is referred to as the sinners room.
Below are a selection of pictures. I took photos of store opening hours. The main reason is when ever you plan an outing either to the food market, shopping or dinner you have to plan around prayer times. Everything STOPS at prayer time. The doors are locked, you are not able to get in or out during prayer time which is usually 30 minutes long. It has happen many times when you are en-route or just arriving and you hear the call to prayer and you are stuck for 30 minutes waiting. Each mouth I print out a prayer schedule for ME and I and we try to plan around these times. I am also doing a follow-up on the date palms that I posted in Ramadan Kareen. Many of those date palm pictures were taken on July 1st. I wanted to go out and revisit the palms to see their progress.
Many shops are open till 12 midnight. This is a very late crowd for two main reasons, one is that it is just too hot to be out during the day and two women can not drive! After dinner husbands take there wives and families out shopping in the evenings.
I think there is a struggle between the old souq and small shops who are closed in the afternoons and the malls and big box store that open all day