Islam is the official religion in Ras Al Khaimah, and the Islamic spirit is maintained throughout the emirate. However, Ras Al Khaimahwelcomes visitors of all nationalities, races and religions. Respecting Islamic customs and traditions allows for a better understandingof the life and lifestyle of the citizens of RAK (and the UAE, in general). Here are some tips for visitors about the customs and traditions of Emirati people:
✓ Courtesy and hospitality are important virtues in the Arab world, and visitors will enjoy the friendliness and warm welcome provided by locals.
✓ If you are offered a cup of Arabic coffee (Gava) anywhere in Ras Al Khaimah, you may take a sip as a sign of respect.
✓ Similarly, if you wish to invite Emirati friends or acquaintances to your house, it would be a good idea to offer them some tea or coffee before you start chatting.
✓ If you are invited to a majlis, remove your shoes at the entrance. Men and women will probably be escorted to different seating sections.
✓ It is important to stand up for new guests and older or higher-ranking people, and men are expected to stand when a woman enters the room.
✓ When greeting a member of the opposite sex who is Muslim, it is important not to offer to shake hands unless they extend their hand first – both men and women (more commonly women) may prefer not to shake hands with the opposite sex due to religious reasons.
✓ In certain places such as banks, women have a separate section to accomplish their transactions. Also, women are given the priority in waiting lines.
✓ In Ras Al Khaimah, visitors (both men and women), should dress modestly and appropriately.
✓ Light summer clothes are the best choice for most of the year (summer, spring, and autumn). It is highly recommended that you keep with you a jacket, sunglasses and water, especially during the summer months.
✓ Drinking alcohol in public places or any other place other than allocated places (such as hotels) is strictly prohibited. Being drunk and disorderly in public is unacceptable, and may result in a fine or jail.
✓ In general, you areallowed to take photos in Ras Al Khaimah, but avoid taking photos of women, especially Muslim women. Moreover, it is preferred that youget permission from the person you would like to take a picture of or with. Photographing government buildings, military installations and diplomatic places is also prohibited.