Ramadan 2022: Conducting business and travel considerations

Ramadan considerations

Serene Wong

Global Threat Analyst – APAC

During this time, local laws and customs relating to the business etiquette and behaviour may differ by region and country.

  • Ramadan 2022 begins 2nd April and ends with the celebration of Eid on 2nd May.
  • Ramadan is an Islamic holy month; a key component of which is daily fasting.
  • It is important to be mindful and respectful of colleagues and business partners who are observing the holiday.
  • There are specific safety and security risks travellers need to consider, associated with Ramadan in Muslim-majority countries.

What is Ramadan?

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan 2022 will commence on 2nd April and conclude with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr on 2nd May. Muslims will rise early during the holy month to eat a pre-dawn meal called Suhoor. In the evening, the fast is broken with a meal known as Iftar. Nightly prayers, called Tarawih, are also held in mosques after Iftar. Iftar may take the form of large public buffets or free meals at mosques and community centres.

Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam and the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this period, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking and smoking daily from dawn until sunset; there are exceptions for those who are unwell or have reached puberty. The occasion also involves introspection, prayer and acts of charity. In Muslim-majority countries, changes to business hours and public etiquette are anticipated. Although traditions and practices during Ramadan may differ by region and across cultures, the core principles remain the same.

Conducting business during Ramadan 2022

It should be noted that opening times for some businesses and government offices will be impacted. Business operations, especially those in Muslim-majority countries, are likely experience some disruption, such as a reduction in working hours and subsequent delays in decision-making. Plan itineraries accordingly.

It is important to be mindful and respectful of colleagues and business associates who are observing the holiday. As such, it is best to avoid planning work breakfasts and/or lunches. Wherever possible, schedule meetings so as not to clash with prayer times.
In some countries, non-Muslim individuals are not legally required to fast. However, it is advisable to refrain from consuming food and drink or smoking in public places. Keep in mind not to order alcohol or pork if invited to an Iftar at a restaurant. Dress modestly. It is good practice to confirm the dress-code before heading to Ramadan events.

Safety and security risks associated with the holiday

  • As a standard security precaution, travellers should minimise time spent in unsecured, crowded areas in the immediate vicinity of government infrastructure and religious sites. Avoiding large crowds is pertinent not only from a security standpoint, but also as a result of the continued varying levels of COVID-19 infection rates across the globe.
  • Travellers should refrain from photographing worshippers during prayers and understand that locals in observant communities may be more tired and irritable than usual. As such, people should be patient in interactions.
  • While foreign travellers are usually afforded some leeway in regard to conservative dress, there have been reports of attacks on foreigners in recent years due to perceived disrespect. To avoid any potential conflict, travellers should dress modestly in an effort to show respect to local cultures. This is especially true for female travellers. Women should ensure their shoulders and legs are covered and place preference on loose-fitting clothing; they may also be asked to cover their hair with a headscarf in some locations.
  • Wherever possible, travellers should seek to book transport through trusted local providers (hotels will often provide details). It is strongly advised that travel is avoided in the hours preceding and immediately following Iftar, as those are the times when traffic is most intense and the frequency of traffic collisions is highest. Travellers should ensure adequate supplies of non-perishable food and water are kept in their accommodation in order to avoid unnecessary travel during peak.

When travelling to Muslim-majority countries, keep in mind that local laws and customs relating to the business etiquette and behaviour may differ by region and country. Healix clients can download the Healix Sentinel Travel Oracle app and utilise the ‘Watch Country’ function to receive notifications on the latest security incidents in-country. The ‘Mayday’ functions can also be triggered to provide the GPS location of an employee and provide additional information, including audio and pictures from the employees’ phone.

Healix Security Services can assist your company in creating bespoke plans and policies, as well as monitoring capabilities, in helping your employees understand prevailing risks and subsequent mitigation methods. Contact enquiries@healix.com to find out more.

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