As we may all know, Planet Earth is a giant melting pot of cultures, beliefs and customs. For this particular reason, we must all strive to respect the views and the principles of the people living in the countries that we visit. Muslim countries have their own set of etiquette that should be kept close at heart at all times. Since we have received a great deal of requests to create this list, we have decided to expand upon the brief ones that we have put into our articles regarding Muslim cities. Let us dive right into it!
1. Modest Clothing:
This generally regards women as most muslin countries expect them to cover most of their bodies. Even though you might not get stopped in the middle of the street at noon for having an elbow sticking out, you might notice people frowning upon you. Laws vary from country to country and so does their severity. If you are a lady, it is good not to tempt the patience of the locals and veil as much of your body as possible (lady).
2. Display of Affection:
You might be used to holding the hand of your loved one or even kissing them in the middle of the street. Doing that in a Muslim country, however, can get you into serious trouble. Even minor hugs and caresses can get you frowns and even fines.
3. Public Drinking:
If you are in a Muslim country, make sure that you do not consume alcoholic beverages anywhere in public. In fact, most of these countries prohibit it completely. Some places in Dubai and Abu Dhabi do allow it but make sure you keep an eye out for the free zones that do so. Getting caught drinking alcohol is serious and it can even land you in prison.
Making love to your girlfriend or boyfriend to whom you are not married is a severe crime in Muslim countries and getting caught can land you in prison in a blink of an eye. We expressly encourage you to always carry a marriage certificate around if you have one for it can save you a lot of trouble. Also (and even though this may seem a bit bold), loud sex is best avoided in order not to disturb the locals (even if you are married).
5. Being Openly Gay:
Although most modern countries embrace the multifaceted nature of sexuality, Muslim countries regard anything other than heterosexuality as an unforgivable crime. Even though this might sound a little bit queer, we highly recommend that you avoid expressing any clue that you might be gay. Prison is the indubitable destination of those who are suspected of homosexuality.
Cursing among close friends in a funny manner might be a custom in western societies but Muslim countries have little to zero tolerance towards it. This includes profane body language as well, so consider restraining yourself a bit if you wish to avoid an instant fine.
7. Unwanted Photos:
We live in an age where taking photos is as common as having breakfast, yet this is not directly reflected by Muslim countries. There, if you accidentally photograph a passer-by, you might enter an argument or even end up being reported to the police. Privacy laws in these countries are highly respected and so should you if you’re not a fan of fines (wink).
8. Smoking in Public Places:
Although some Muslim countries boast with the finest of malls (such as the United Arab Emirates), we highly recommend that you avoid smoking there. Same goes for bus stops, cocktail bars and restaurants. In fact, most public places are smoke-free. Do not tempt the locals for anti-smoking laws are heavily-enforced and you might get reported in a manner of minutes (if not seconds).
9. Bothering Women:
Although it might appear to you that you are only chatting with a local woman, others might perceive it as harassment. Prolonged eye contact and physical interaction can often land you in jail. Make sure that the person you are talking to is perfectly open to a conversation and that she acknowledges this with her body language.
As we may all know, Muslims are not allowed to indulge in a few ‘regular’ things during Ramadan. This, of course, only means during daytime. Make sure you do proper research about their holidays and avoid drinking, smoking and eating in front of locals (in order not to tempt them) during those specific intervals of time. There are numerous websites that tell you exactly when Ramadans start and when they end (for it does not happen during the same month each year).
11. Loud Music:
It is unlawful to play loud music in public places in Muslim countries. This includes cell phones, cars or even house parties. Keep the volume down and all will be well.