Please find below some details on the religions in Dubai and the UAE along with some links to places of worship.
The UAE is an Islamic country and wherever you are in Dubai, you will never be far away from a mosque. Most are small neighborhood places of worship. Others are much larger, grander buildings.
Muslims pray five times a day and at the start of each prayer time, you will hear the call to prayer announced from the minarets of the mosques around you. Most Muslims will not go to the mosque every time they pray. They may pray in their homes, in their places of work, or even in public places like parks. They pray to face in the direction of the holy city of Mecca. If you see someone praying, be careful not to walk in front of them.
Friday is the holy day and on this day most Muslims, especially men, will go to the mosque to join in the communal prayers which are held in the early afternoon. Until the end of these prayers, the city is very quiet and most shops, with the exception of supermarkets, are closed.
The most important and most religious time of the year for all Muslims is the month of Ramadan. This is a time when all Muslims fast during daylight hours. As a result of this, many people’s working hours are shortened, school timings change, and shop opening hours may be different from other times of the year. At dusk, the evening prayer is called and Muslims can then break their fast. Most try to get home in time to do this and, as a result, the roads can be very crowded. Conversely, as soon as the evening call for prayers is made, the roads empty. For non-Muslims, certain rules apply during this special month. It is an offense to eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in any public spaces, including your car. Some restaurants will be open but they will have partitions and window coverings to ensure that their customers are able to eat in private. These restaurants will usually be found in five-star hotels or areas of town where a lot of Western ex-pats live. Bars can stay open during this month but they are not allowed to serve alcohol before 7 pm and they are not allowed to play any loud music.
If you want to learn more about the official religion of your host country once you arrive in Dubai, you can visit the Jumeirah Mosque at 10 am on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for a tour organized by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. The tour aims to help visitors and non-Muslim ex-pat residents to learn more about the life and religion of the local people in Dubai. This tour is the only opportunity non-Muslims in the UAE have to visit a mosque and is, as such, very popular. More details can be found on a dedicated website, http://www.cultures.ae/jumeirah.htm.
Dubai is very tolerant of other faiths and non-Muslims are free to practice their own religions in their own places of worship. The only main religion which is not practiced openly is Judaism. It is also illegal to publicly distribute any literature pertaining to your religion or in any other way proselytize.
As well as Friday services, most churches are also able to conduct weddings, christenings, blessings, funerals and memorials. Services are available in English and in a wide variety of different languages, representing the languages spoken by the ex-pat community. Visit the websites for further details.
Christian churches in Dubai include:
|Christ Church||Anglican||Jebel Ali||https://www.christchurchjebelali.org|
|Emirates Baptist Church International||Baptist||Al Barsha|
|Holy Trinity Church||Anglican||Oud Metha||https://www.holytrinitychurchdubai.org|
|St Francis of Assisi Church||Catholic||Jebel Ali||https://www.stfrancisjebelali.ae|
There are two Hindu temples in Dubai:
- Hindu Shri Nathje Temple of the Pusthtimarg Hindu sect
- Hindu Shri Nathje Jayate Temple, also known as Krishna Mandir
They are both located in Bur Dubai behind the Grand Mosque on what is known as Hindi Lane. Offerings to take to the temples are also readily available here.
Sikh Temple / Gurdwara
This temple can be found in Al Quoz in an area known as Al Awir.