Ramadan 2023 in UAE: From free parking to work hours; 4 timing changes for the holy month

With special evening and late night prayers, residents alter their daily schedules during the month of fasting

By Angel Lee Tesorero

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Thu 23 Feb 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 21 Mar 2023, 10:18 PM

With the holy month of Ramadan less than a month away, UAE residents are expected to experience changes in their daily routines.

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar observed as a time of fasting, charity, and spiritual reflection. In the UAE, there is a communal spirit with various traditions and customs that are observed by Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

There will be reduced work and school timings, changes in operating hours of establishments as well as paid parking timings. There will be special and late-night prayers, and sleeping patterns will also be altered.

Parks will change their opening hours and there will be Ramadan night markets as well as sales and promotions that offer up to 90 per cent discounts.

No official statements have been made yet by authorities but here are some changes that will take place during Ramadan:

1. Reduced working hours

Working hours are normally reduced by two hours without pay cut and even non-Muslims are entitled to this reduced working hours.

2. Shorter school hours

Students will also enjoy reduced hours at school. Some institutions say their Ramadan timings will be from 8am to 1pm from Monday to Thursday; and from 8am to 11.30am on Fridays.

While physical education or PE lessons will continue, students who are fasting will not be required to take part in the activities. Swimming lessons will be cancelled while music lessons will become largely theory-based. Teachers are also expected to limit the amount of homework and assignments.

School canteens will be covered, so students who are fasting will not have to see others who may be eating.

3. Business operating hours

Supermarkets and grocery shops are open as usual and some malls may stay open until late night.

Restaurants are also open but many adhere to the hours of fasting and are closed during the day and will open only after the evening prayers. Restaurants are busy at night and extend operations until suhoor.

Shopping destinations remain open for extended hours during the holy month. Night markets pop up across the country. Major retailers in the UAE offer massive discounts of up to 90 per cent on various products.

4. Parking timings

Hours of paid parking also change during Ramadan. Although there are no official announcements yet, these are the paid parking hours schedule for previous years:

Abu Dhabi: Mawaqif parking fees are applied Saturday to Thursday, from 8am to 12 midnight. Parking is free on Fridays and public holidays.

Dubai: Parking fees apply from 8am to 6pm; and 8pm to 12 midnight, Monday to Saturday. Parking is free on Sundays. Multi-storey parking will operate as a paid service 24/7.

Sharjah: Parking is a paid service from 8am to 12 midnight. It’s free around mosques during Taraweeh prayers. On Fridays and holidays, parking is free in most zones.

5. Fasting and driving behaviour

According to authorities, it is common for fasting Muslims to not get enough sleep during Ramadan and this could lead to sleepiness and impaired driving performance. They advise motorists “to get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and eat meals at a fixed time”. It is also important to start the journey early to avoid last-minute speeding.


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