Caught Eating, Drinking or Smoking in Public during Ramadan, get ready to be deported

Ramadan is a very important month for Muslims all around the world. They fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan. It is obligatory on each and every Muslim to fast during the month of Ramadan with few exceptions. If you are living in Saudi Arabia, you must know how special this month is in Saudi Arabia. You will not find any restaurant or eatery shop open during day time. All of them open one hour before sunset and remain open till Suhoor. If you are a Muslim, believe me, you will not find this spiritual environment of Ramadan at any other part of the world.[irp]

If you are Non-Muslim, you should also respect the people who have been fasting and working with or around you. It is considered highly inappropriate to eat anything in front of the people who are fasting. Ministry of Interior has warned all the expatriates living in Saudi Arabia, especially Non-Muslim expatriates that if they are caught drinking, eating or smoking in public places, they would be held and deported from Saudi Arabia. Non-Muslim expatriates should be aware that they are exempt from fasting but it does not allow them to eat in public. It is your contractual obligation to respect the rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia.

It is important to mention here that apparently Ministry of Interior has warned Non-Muslim expatriates living in Saudi Arabia but it does not mean that Muslim expatriates who don’t fast can eat or drink in public. I think there will be stricter punishment against those Muslims expatriates who are found eating or drinking in Public as they are involved in the dual offense. First, they are not fulfilling their religious obligation by fasting, second, they are involved in an unethical and inappropriate act.

We cannot finish this topic without explaining the meaning of “public”. As you have already read above that no one is allowed to eat, drink or smoke in Public. The public here pertains to streets, shopping malls as well as the workplace. Yes, you cannot even eat inside your office as other people would be able to see you eating or drinking.[irp]

However, there are few exceptions to this rule. For example, you are allowed to eat, drink or smoke in Airplane, Airport, Train Stations and Bus Station etc. You will find restaurants, coffee shops, and other eatery shops open there. The reason is that Muslims are exempted from fasting when they are traveling. So they can eat or drink anything if they are traveling to a distant location.

Source: Arab News