Traditions and cultureTraditions and culture

Rules and prohibitions in Muslim countries of the world


In 28 countries of the world, Islam is the state or official religion. Many of these countries are popular with tourists, but it is worth remembering the need to comply with certain norms accepted in Islamic society.

Mosques and holy places

Tourists in most countries of the world can visit mosques in between prayers. But there are mosques that prohibit non-Muslims from entering. Before you decide to visit a mosque, be sure to find out about the accepted norms. 

Saudi Arabia legally prohibits non-Muslims from visiting the city of Mecca and the "Mosque of the Prophet" in Medina

Some famous mosques allow visits only if accompanied by a guide who will tell you about history, religion and culture. Mosque guides conduct guided tours mostly for free, but sometimes you need to plan and make an appointment in advance. This is not only interesting, but will also allow you to better understand Islamic culture.

How to dress in a mosque?

It is worth remembering a simple rule: a mosque is not a beach, not a club, not a place for entertainment. Clothing should cover the knees and elbows of men. Women should have their hair covered and outerwear covering their ankles. Short skirts, shorts, transparent or provocative garments should be excluded if you plan to visit a mosque.

Before entering the mosque, you must take off your shoes

This is the strictest rule. Some mosques have special open lockers where you can put your shoes. In small ones, it is left in front of the threshold. They step on the threshold without shoes. You should not walk without shoes in front of the threshold and even more so take them off on the carpet.

There are mosques with an inner courtyard, in some cases, you need to take off your shoes before entering it. The rule is simple – take a closer look. If you see someone else's shoes, do the same

United Arab Emirates


Muslims perform prayer five times a day. When you see a praying man in the city, show respect and do not distract. In most situations, a place is chosen before prayer so as not to interfere with others, however, if this was not possible, take a closer look, a line may be outlined around or another barrier left, for example, a bag. The fence should not be crossed. Try not to get around the worshipper from the front.

Friday prayer (Jummah)

According to the instructions of the Koran, Muslims must perform collective prayer on Fridays during midday prayer in mosques. Shops, cafes, restaurants and even public transport are closed in most Islamic countries until the end of prayer.

In many Islamic countries, Friday is considered a day off. It is not necessary to plan business meetings or visits to official places on this day. In addition, after Friday prayer, it is customary to communicate, walk and relax, so on Fridays the streets are always crowded, and some cafes and restaurants require advance booking.


Ramadan is the holiest month for all Muslims. It is the ninth month of the Hijri calendar, so its dates according to the Gregorian calendar change from year to year. During this period, travelers may experience some restrictions and inconveniences. If you are planning a trip to Muslim countries, find out about the dates of Ramadan in advance.

Restrictions during Ramadan

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims do not eat, drink or smoke from sunrise to sunset. As evening falls, they can eat moderately. Accordingly, restaurants and cafes in many Islamic countries are closed during the day. Entertainment venues can be closed even at night. Some establishments curtain the premises, but continue to work for tourists. There are mostly no restrictions in tourist areas and hotels.

It is not necessary to walk with food or eat in public spaces at this time. The same applies to smokers. It is unacceptable to smoke in public places during the month of Ramadan. In some countries, a fine may be issued for this.

All restrictions for tourists come from a simple rule – it is necessary to show respect to people who observe the fast

During Ramadan, you should not listen to loud music in the car.


Hamr (خمر) is a term that denotes intoxicants. In some Muslim countries, it is interpreted in different ways: some prohibit any alcohol and strictly control the "dry law", others - only grape—based drinks, and others – do not restrict in any way. It is worth learning about the peculiarities of each country in advance before the trip.

In most Islamic countries where prohibition has been introduced, alcohol can be purchased at tourist sites and hotels that have the appropriate license

Please note! In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Somalia and Afghanistan, the importation of alcohol, its transportation, as well as storage can be punishable by a huge fine, deportation or even jail time.

If you are traveling to a Muslim country where there is no prohibition, you should not drink alcohol on the street.

Rules for women


Very often you can hear stories from girls who, after visiting Muslim countries, experienced negative impressions from constant attention from men: they could be whistled after, applauded, touched, blocked the road, followed.

Foreign girls who come to a Muslim country, out of habit, wear provocative open and semi-open clothes, use make-up that highlights them and leave their hair uncovered. All this is forbidden in Islam — women should not flaunt their embellishments, except for the face and hands. Dressed according to the prescription, the girl is protected from the gaze of outsiders and emphasizes her chastity.

If you want to experience the comfort of traveling to Muslim countries, we recommend that you follow local traditions: dress more modestly, do not wear short skirts and cover the exposed parts of the body, use neutral makeup and cover your head. In this case, you will be surprised how much the attitude of men will change, who will become courteous and as correct as possible in their behavior.

Places for women only

In many Islamic countries, there are separate carriages or places behind partitions in public transport, separate closed beaches, parks and even halls in cafes and restaurants. Men are strictly prohibited from entering these places. If you are traveling with your family, it may turn out that your husband will not be able to go to such places with you. Learn about the rules of the visit in advance. In Qatar, for example, there are family beaches where a man and a woman can go with their children.

Rules for men

You should not try to talk to unfamiliar women or stare at them closely, especially pointing at them with your hand or finger, even if they are hidden from you by a thick cape — such behavior can lead to trouble up to criminal liability.

You should not go where it is forbidden

In Islamic countries, there are places reserved only for women. Men are strictly prohibited from visiting them. In addition, in many cities, others may address a man with the words: "don't go here," "you can't enter here," "the passage is closed." To a foreigner, this may seem like open aggression, but the point is different: there are streets, houses and just open places where children play outside, doors to houses are open, and women are not covered. You may even accidentally see a woman, which is haram (a sinful act prohibited in Islam).


April 25, 2024 12:55 am



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