Religious sentiments you should take care of in UAE
- Author- Vijaya
- Publish Date-
The United Arab Emirates is the union of 7 seven emirates, Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah, and Ajman. The local laws and rules may slightly differ from Emirate to Emirate, but the core legal structure remains the same. UAE acknowledges Islam as its state religion and draws inspiration from Sharia Law. The country respects its Islamic identity and expects tourists for the same.
As a tourist, you should pay respect to the local culture and religious sentiments. Before traveling to the UAE, you should be aware of the laws concerning the local religious sentiments and behave accordingly in the country.
RULES TO RESPECT THE RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS
- The country’s law prohibits the distribution of religious literature whose principles and content present a notion that is contradictory to the belief and principles of Islam.
- You cannot insult or criticize God in the UAE. The Sharia Law of the country prohibits criticizing or defaming God. The common residents of the country very strongly adhere to the supremacy of God. A Moroccan national was sentenced to three months of imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 Dirhams after he was reported by his employer to have insulted God.
- The Sharia Law prohibits engagement in extramarital sex and hence neither tourists nor locals can engage in extramarital sex in UAE. If found guilty, the convicts can be sentenced to three months imprisonment.
- Unmarried couples visiting the UAE cannot share the same hotel room during their stay in the country. The rule is not as strictly enforced in Dubai as in the other Emirates.
READ ALSO: HOW TO APPLY FOR AN ETIHAD TRANSIT VISA
Consumption of Alcohol
Alcohol is prohibited in Islam but non-Muslims and tourists can consume alcohol as there is no blanket ban on the consumption of alcoholic beverages in UAE, but there are various laws regulating the consumption and sale of alcohol in the country. There is not a uniform rule regarding the consumption or storage of alcohol in the Emirates, but all the Emirates unanimously prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public places.
In Dubai, an adult can consume alcohol only at licensed premises (such as bars, hotels, and restaurants) and at home. No one can consume alcohol in public and social places in Dubai. While in the Emirate of Sharjah it is entirely illegal to drink and possess alcohol.
THE APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR IN UAE
When in public places, dress modestly. Avoid very short and tight clothing in the country. For women, it is advised to wear clothing that covers the upper shoulders and knees. Mini skirts and sleeveless dresses would not be encouraged. For men, it is advised to avoid wearing sleeveless clothing and mini shorts when out in public.
Though there are no direct rules addressing how the resident should dress, as a tourist you should dress the way society expects you to.
Out in public with your partner
In public places with your partner, try to avoid gestures that reflect too much affection. As per the ‘Dubai Code of Conduct 2009’ display of affection in public places is not in line with the local customs and culture. Holding your partner’s hand can be tolerated but kissing in public places is considered an offense.
Usually, if couples engage in such activities, they will just be frowned on but in case any resident reports it, the police may take legal action. In 2009 a local woman reported a British couple kissing at Jumeirah Beach in the local Police Station. The couple was detained, sentenced to one-month imprisonment, and eventually deported.
FREEDOM TO PRACTICE YOUR RELIGION
The constitution of UAE designates Islam as the country’s state religion but at the same time, it makes sure that people from other faiths can indulge in their religious worship and activities without any resistance. The anti-discrimination law of the country prohibits discrimination based on religious grounds and criminalizes acts of provoking religious disturbance against the non-majority religion.
As per the law of the country, any act that defames or insults religious sentiments, the Prophet, deity, divine book, or house of worship of any religion is considered a criminal offense, and the offender shall be sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.
READ ALSO: RESIDENCY PROVISIONS IN UAE
Being aware of the religious sentiments of UAE citizens is important if you are looking to explore the country, but one more requirement that remains is a Visa. If you want to apply for a UAE visa in a minimum time, choose Etihad UAE Visa as your partner.
UAE shares great pride in its Islamic culture and traditions and expects tourists to respect the religious sentiments of locals. The country is very tolerant towards other faiths and makes sure there is no discrimination on religious grounds.