Browsing 'Life' News

Sam Agnew/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s Islamic Affairs ministry (Awqaf) is asking Muslims in Qatar to look to the sky tonight (Thursday) after sunset to try to spot the new moon.

In a statement posted on its social media pages, Awqaf said anyone who sees the crescent should head to their headquarters in Dafna to report his/her testimony.

If the moon is spotted today, that means Ramadan has begun, and Friday, May 26 will be the first day of fasting.

If it’s not seen, then Saturday, May 27 will be the first day of fasting.

This will mean different working hours for most people, and the closure of many restaurants and coffee shops during the daytime.

For those who need a refresher course, here are some things to know about Ramadan in Qatar.

Thoughts?

Kempinksi

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Ramadan begins this weekend, but there are still lots of things to do around town, including enjoying a lavish iftar, partaking in a Ramadan race and kayaking in the mangroves.

Here are our picks:

Iftar and Suhoor

Every Ramadan, hotels and restaurants across Qatar roll out special offers and packages for iftar (the breaking of the fast) and suhoor (the pre-dawn meal).

W Hotel Doha/Facebook

Ramadan tent

This year, at least 20 hotels are offering meals. They include Azraq at the Banana Island Resort, Aramede Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Hotel, and many more.

Several standalone restaurants are also getting in on the action.

Usually, iftar buffets open from sunset to 8pm or 9pm, while suhoor buffets run from 9pm to 2am. Many of those meals are accompanied with live Arabic music.

For a more detailed listing featuring offers, timings and costs, check out Marhaba’s guide here or I Love Qatar’s Ramadan page here.

Katara Ramadan Festival

The annual Ramadan Festival at Katara Cultural Village will kick off on the first day of the holy month (either Saturday or Sunday), starting with a cannon firing at sunset.

Chantelle D'mello

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The festival, usually spread over the seafront area and several other buildings, honors famous Muslim scholars and inventors, photographers and Qur’anic texts, and offers small local businesses the opportunity to sell their goods.

Also featured are competitions, exhibitions, lectures, sports activities, and educational sessions, among others. For example, last year’s festival featured a series of 3D exhibitions depicting the Quran’s take on the human body and creation.

The festival runs daily until midnight and is open to all.

Ramadan race challenge

The Qatar Running Series (QRS) is putting together a Ramadan race challenge this Friday at Education City’s Oxygen Park.

Baba Tamim

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The race, which is open to a maximum of 100 participants, will feature a variety of running distances between 3k and 10k. All races will take place from 7:45pm to 9:45pm.

There will be a total of four races throughout the month, all of which will be held on Thursdays and Fridays up until June 15. Each race costs QR150 for adults and QR60 for runners below the age of 16.

Trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers for 3k, 5k and 10k distances.

The race will also provide participants with water stations, race bibs, medical support, course marshals, custom designed finisher’s medal for all distances and public liability insurance.

To register for the race, visit Qatar Running Series’ website. 

MIA Ramadan festivities

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) will also host a series of events and activities throughout the holy month starting Saturday, May 27.

Jameel Riaz/Flickr

The Museum of Islamic Art

They include lectures by renowned speakers who will touch upon subjects related to the holy month and the history of Islam and Islamic art. The first lecture in the series is titled Ramadan and Family. Other lectures include topics on the significance of sports in Ramadan, healthy eating and architecture.

There will also be storytelling sessions for children, lantern-making sessions, rug-weaving out of paper and the well-known MIA Bazaar on Saturday evenings, which will run from 5pm until midnight.

For more information on MIA’s Ramadan program, visit their website. 

365 Adventures activities

Local eco-tourism company 365 Adventures will host two separate events this weekend: a kayaking and iftar potluck; and a karaoke dhow cruise.

Jovanie Cabrera/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The kayaking and iftar potluck event will take place on Saturday, May 27. It will feature a 90-minute session of kayaking in the Al Thakhira Mangroves starting at 4pm, followed by iftar at sunset.

Two kayaking tour sessions are available, one before iftar (which starts at 5pm) and one after iftar (starts at 8pm). Tickets cost QR200 for adults and QR150 for children between six and 12 years old, which can be purchased here. Children below six don’t need a ticket. Those who wish to pay in cash must book here.

All activities end by 10pm. More details regarding the event can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

Separately, the karaoke cruise will take place on Thursday, May 25 from 7pm to 10pm. More details can be found here.

Bonus:

  • Canapés cooking class: City Center Rotana Doha is offering a Canapés cooking class tonight between 6pm and 8pm. The class costs QR180 per person and will teach participants how to make four different types of canapés. To reserve, call 4458888. More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

What are your plans for the weekend? Thoughts?

Reem Saad / Doha News

Restaurant staff

With fasting set to begin on Saturday or Sunday, Qatar’s labor ministry is reminding employers to adhere to legally required shortened workdays – or face penalties.

Qatar’s Labor Law states that employees should work a maximum six-hour day during Ramadan, or be paid overtime for longer days.

But while this is a rule is strictly adhered to in Qatar’s public sector (who will be working a five-hour day during the holy month) it’s sometimes ignored by private companies.

Now, however, the government has announced that it is planning to carry out spot checks during Ramadan to ensure firms are following the rules.

Marvin Fernandez

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The ministry conducts such checks every year. But this is the first time it is publicly putting employers on notice about following the rules.

Legal action could follow if they don’t, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADSLA) said in a statement.

What the law says

In Qatar, most employees  – whether they are fasting or not – must work a maximum 36-hour week during Ramadan.

Reem Saad / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Last year, a lawyer explained that this rule applies to all working people with the exception of supervisors, security guards and cleaning staff.

This week, the ministry said that if employees are required to work longer than 36 hours a week, they must be paid at an overtime rate of at least 25 percent more than their normal salaries.

The law also says that the a regular working day should be no longer than 10 hours.

MADLSA is encouraging workers whose employers are not giving adhering to the rules to let them know. You can do this by phone (40288888) or via Facebook or Twitter.

Thoughts?