How to do business in the Gulf: Part five

13 Observe Ramadan rules

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is a tricky time but there are benefits from doing business then – as long as the westerner adopts a sensible approach. All-day fasting is observed throughout the Gulf, even in progressive Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And it means what it says: no food, water, smoking, or even chewing gum from sunrise to sunset. Foreigners in public breach of these rules are liable to public reprimand from Muslims or even arrest by police officers.

14 Breakfast like a king

Have a good breakfast before leaving home during the month of Ramadan and don’t expect to eat – at least in public – for the rest of the day. Even a sip of water in public is haram. Most big hotels and offices have a separate, partitioned area for non-Muslims to eat but all other restaurants are closed all day.

15 Take the afternoon off

Daytime working hours are haphazard during Ramadan. Early mornings can be very productive but afternoons are usually a write-off. Use the opportunity to catch up on those emails and overseas calls.

Picture: source

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