Dubai is a dream trip, since it is the most popular destination in the Middle East, despite certain peculiar Dubai rules. Every year, more than 8 million ex-pats visit Dubai. After all, it offers a welcoming atmosphere, stunning beaches, eye-catching architecture, and delectable food. Nothing is flawless and it also has some weird laws!
Dubai is a significant city in the Muslim country of the United Arab Emirates. They strictly adhere to Islamic law. But there’s nothing to be concerned about. Dubai adheres to the regulations in a less stringent manner.
Although it is quite obvious that the United Arab Emirates is a lovely country with some well-established norms and regulations. However, there are a few lesser-known guidelines to observe that are sometimes neglected. Believe it or not, that is a punishable offence!
So, are you ready to learn about Dubai’s bizarre laws?
1. Having meals during Ramadan
During the holy month of Ramadan, all Muslims are expected to eat once before dawn (suhoor) and then fast until the evening meal after sunset (iftar). A single drop of water should not slip between one’s lips. Muslims in Dubai are used to and adhere to this old norm.
While it is true that ex-pats and tourists to Dubai must observe local customs, being prohibited from eating or drinking throughout the day during Ramadan is a little excessive. First-time offenders are generally given a warning, but repeat offenders are imprisoned.
2. Displays of affection in public
Hugging and kissing in public, even if it’s only your brother or sister, is still prohibited in Dubai. A British couple received a three-month suspended sentence for having sexual relations on a public beach, while another pair received a prison term for kissing in a restaurant. So, when in Dubai, the rule of thumb is to express your love for each other solely via your eyes.
3. Taking and sharing photographs of traffic or aviation accidents
Taking photographs, in general, is a dangerous business in the UAE. In addition to being prohibited from photographing military facilities, courts, and palaces, you are also prohibited from photographing road accidents that you see while travelling. This may cost you between 50,000 and 3 million dirhams (£10,788 and £647,262) and put you in danger of deportation. This also applies to aircraft accidents: publishing photos and videos on social media sites is strictly forbidden.
4. Possession of illegal drugs
In Dubai and across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you may be imprisoned for drug possession even if only a trace quantity of illegal substances is detected in your bloodstream or urine. As a result, make certain that your prescription prescriptions do not include any illegal substances. You don’t want to spend four years in prison for taking your meds, do you? However, Dubai handles this issue at the Customs level. Any codeine-containing medication will simply not get through customs.
5. Don’t be a bully
Do you want to give someone the middle finger, or perhaps the forefinger? Take your frustrations somewhere else. In Dubai, showing your finger is not just considered impolite; it is also considered vulgar, completely inappropriate, and criminal. A 56-year-old British man was arrested in 2010 for flipping the bird at an aviation student while arguing. As a bail surety, the authorities revoked his passport for eight months and imprisoned him. For this offence, you might be fined, imprisoned, or even deported, so keep your fingers fisted at all times.
6. Not dressed modestly
Are you feeling hot and sweaty? You wouldn’t dare to go sightseeing in shorts. Shorts, tight attire, transparent clothing, or revealing too much skin are okay, but only on the beach. Displaying your stomach, shoulders, or back in public is frowned upon. Dress modestly, with your shoulders and legs covered, and you’ll keep your money from tinkling in the penalties box!
7. Creating and disseminating rumours
Anything interpreted as a rumour is punished under UAE law, making it possibly the vaguest violation on this list. Gossiping, particularly on social media, is punishable by a three-year prison sentence and a fine of up to one million dirhams (£215,754). The UAE has highly severe rules regarding the distribution of news online to clamp down on individuals who “harm the social peace and public order” and represent a danger to “national peace.”
This came to light during the 2016 floods when images and videos of the devastation caused by heavy rain and high winds were extensively shared on social media sites. These were dismissed as rumours, and it was determined that discussing the storm and distributing bad images was against the law.
8. Taking photographs of individuals without their consent
This is a significant offence that has caught many individuals off guard in the past. The UAE is highly rigorous about protecting people’s privacy, and photographing someone without their knowledge or agreement is a severe offence. This is increased further if you share these photos on social media networks. According to cybercrime regulations, you can be fined up to 500,000 dirhams (£107,816) and imprisoned for six months for the offence, however, in fact, the punishments are considerably worse, with some tourists deported.
9. During Ramadan, avoid listening to music.
It is illegal to play loud music or put up live music bands during the holy month of Ramadan. Dancing to music, even if you’re alone, is a punishable offence during the holy month. In reality, all nightclubs and clubs are closed during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
10. Cleaning your vehicle
While not cleaning your automobile might get you in serious trouble, washing it “incorrectly” can as well. You are not permitted to wash your automobile in residential zones or to hire labourers to do so. These haphazard vehicle washes “distort the city’s attractive appearance” and are environmentally harmful, as the filthy water pollutes the streets and drains. Instead, you must park your automobile at a proper location, such as a gas station or a shopping mall’s parking lot.