Dubai may be a modern mega city, but it has always preserved its culture and traditions, especially when it comes to the Islamic faith.
Muslims in Dubai practice the “Salah” or five daily prayers no matter where they are or what they’re doing. At different times during the day – dawn, midday, late afternoon, sunset and evening – prayer time is observed around the city.
If you’re in Dubai, it’s very important to understand these prayer times to pay respect to one of the most important practices in the Islamic faith.
Prayer Time Is Done Five Times a Day
The practice of offering five daily prayers or “Salah” is one of the five pillars of Islam, and it’s observed by Muslims around the world.
Every day, a practicing Muslim needs to do the:
- Fajr Salah
This prayer should be done during the beginning of twilight or what is called “Subh Saadiq.”
This is the time of day when the first morning light begins to appare across the sky, although Fajr could also be performed after the Fajr Nafl prayer during sunrise.
- Dhuhr Salah
Also known as Zuhr, this prayer should be done when the sun has already passed the “zenith” or the point above an area on the celestial sphere.
It should only be prayed until the call for Asr begins. Since Dhuhr is a midday prayer, most people in Dubai do it during their lunch break.
- Asr Salah
The start of Asr is signaled when an object’s shadow is almost the same length as the real object.
Asr should ideally be prayed once the sun begins to turn orange and only up until the sun sets completely.
- Maghrib Salah
This prayer should be done when the sun begins to set and only until its red light has already left the sky.
- Isha Salah
This is ideally performed at night when the sun’s red light has disappeared from the western sky and until the white light rises from the east.
Although these times of day are practiced similarly by all Muslims, their exact timings vary depending on where the sun is positioned.
Aside from these mandatory daily prayers, other prayers also need to be offered during Eid and other special holidays including:
- Salatul Istisqa
This prayer is offered by Muslims to ask for rain.
- Salatul Janazah
This prayer is fofered when the community gathers to ask for forgiveness for the dead.
It’s also obligatory for adult Muslim males to perform this prayer as part of the funeral of any Muslim.
This prayer is performed during the Holy month of Ramadan after Isha, and it’s usually done in a congregation.
Muslims Follow Important Practices During Prayer Time
Any Muslim who offers the Salah should follow these important practices to abide by tradition.
Ideally, prayers should be performed in a mosque with other Muslims. But since not everyone has easy access to a mosque, they can pray in any clean place.
This is why offices, commercial establishments and shopping malls in Dubai have dedicated prayer rooms for Muslims to offer their Salah at any time of the day.
No matter where they choose to pray, all Muslims should face the direction of The Kaaba.
This holy cube is in the middle of the holiest site and most important mosque in the Islamic faith, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Muslims will know the time for the start of each prayeer when a “Muezzin” or crier begins to recite the “Azan ” or call to prayer.
This is what you hear from the mosques around the city during the different times for Salah.
Friday is the most important day of the week for Muslims because it’s when everyone prays as a congregation in a mosque.
In Dubai, weekends used to be Friday and Saturday to make way for the Friday prayers.
But in 2022, the government moved the weekend back to Saturday and Sunday while employees are only required to work until Friday noon to make way for the prayers.
Before every prayer, all Muslims are required to perform the “Wudu” or purification ritual where they need to wash their face, hands, arms and feet.
This is because the body needs to be free of any dirt, feces, blood and urine before offering a prayer.
A woman who has menstruation or postpartum bleeding may not perform the Salah until the bleeding has stopped and the “Ghusl” or whole body ritual bathing is done.
Men should also wear clothes that cover them from the navel to the knees during prayer.
Women, on the other hand, should wear loose garments over other clothes when praying at home.
Non-Practicing Individuals Need to Respect Prayer Time
As a foreigner in Dubai, it’s very importnat to respect the daily prayer time of Muslims in the city.
Although the government doesn’t require any change in behavior for non-Muslim individuals, you need to stop playing any loud music or engage in loud conversations during prayer time.
In Dubai, some smaller shops close during prayer time while bigger malls and entertainment areas just stop any music and loud noise until the end of prayer time.
It’s also very important to be mindful of your actions during prayer time to allow Muslims to pray in peace, especially in the workplace or any public location.
If you’re in a mosque, it’s best to go outside once the call to prayer begins, so you won’t disturb Muslims who are offering their prayers as a congregation.
It’s also best to stop your activity if you think that it will disturb anyone who’s praying within your surroundings.