Page update - Sep 14, 2022
Friday (Arabic: "Jumu'ah") is the holy day of the week for Muslims. The UAE is a very religious country and Friday has a strong effect on tourists. How does it affect tourists? What should tourists do on Friday? What should they not do? Read the answers below on this page.
As of January 3, 2022, the United Arab Emirates has switched to a new 4½-day workweek. Working days are Monday through Thursday + Friday until noon. Weekends are Friday afternoon + Saturday + Sunday.
This rule applies to all state institutions and companies. Also private and public schools, other educational institutions have switched to the new system. Private companies work according to their own schedule. Private companies have the right to work according to their schedules, but most have also switched to the new system.
Accordingly, the opening hours of almost all attractions, shopping centers, and beaches have changed. What's worse, the sanitary, women's, break days have also changed. Read our reviews of attractions in the UAE, we have all the latest information.
The Prophet Muhammad said, "The best day blessed by Allah is Friday". It is believed that on Friday: Adam was created, he entered Paradise, was expelled and died. The Day of Judgment will come on Friday.
The Arabic word "Jumu'ah" comes from the word "Al-Jam", which translates as "to gather". The regular noon Zuhr prayer (Zuhr namaz) is replaced by Salah Jumu'ah ("Jumu'ah Namaz"). This prayer is performed necessarily by a group of at least 6 people, including the imam, and takes place in a mosque.
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Usually the time of Jumu'ah namaz is determined by the sun. But in the UAE, the start time of Jumu'ah Namaz is now fixed at 1:15 p.m. (13:15) throughout the year. This is done to ensure that believers have a guaranteed time from noon to 1:15 p.m. (from 12:00 to 13:15) to get to the mosque for the Jumu'ah prayer.
Friday prayer is a religious duty of every male Muslim. Some people are exempted: the elderly, children, travelers, the sick, the blind, the disabled, and those who are more than 2 farsak from the nearest place of prayer. Farsak is a measure of length, equal to 5.76 kilometers (3.58 miles). That is, to be officially exempt from Friday prayers, you need to be 11.5 kilometers (7 miles) or more from the nearest mosque. There are almost no such places in the UAE, except in the areas of the Arabian Desert.
Busy with work people are not exempt from Friday prayer. Verse 62:9 of the Qur'an says: "O you who believe! If you hear the call to prayer on Friday, remember Allah and leave your work".
The Friday prayer is long, and a preaching is also added. As a result, Muslims spend over an hour in a mosque.
In ancient times, Friday was very important to the Arabs, since almost all the people did not live in the cities as they do today, but in the countryside and fishing villages. Friday was a time of gathering people in the district centers and at the same time a market day.
The prohibition on work and business activities applied only during Friday prayers. At other times work and activities are not forbidden. In addition to prayer, faithful Muslims are recommended to do other godly deeds on Friday. On this day it is recommended to wash, wear clean clothes, praise Allah and the Prophet Mohammed, and read the Quran, especially chapter 18 "The Cave".
Friday is a semi-weekend day. Some government offices are closed at all. Banks are closed (with few exceptions), but exchange offices operate on a regular schedule, as described in our review "How to change money in the UAE". Therefore, it is not necessary to change currency in advance.
Shopping malls are usually open the same way as other days of the week. Only some malls and shopping centers are closed for 1-2 hours at lunch for a break for Friday prayers. For example, Mega Mall in Sharjah.
Recently, the Arabs have successfully adopted the experience of the American tradition of "Black Friday". The Islamic weekend was combined very successfully.
As a result, sales on Fridays in the UAE have names not only "Black Friday" but also "white", "red" and others. Sometimes, shopping malls are overcrowded like in the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.
Entertainment venues such as water parks or amusement rides work according to the usual schedule. Sometimes there are changes in the schedule, for example, The Dubai Fountain on Friday does not show the first show at 13-00.
Stores, cafes and restaurants are different - some are closed, some work with a break for prayer, some open only in the afternoon. Friday is least notable in Dubai, the most modern emirate.
Religious institutions are closed for non-muslim tourists or opening hours are limited. The Jumeirah Mosque and the Al Noor Mosque are not accessible. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is open to tourists only from 4:30 p.m. (16:30).
Attractions does not have a fixed schedule for Friday. The schedule is individual! Read our reviews about attractions in UAE, as we give an exact timetable in each review.
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Keep in mind an important thing! Friday is a day off, when in the afternoon the rides, water parks and malls are full of locals and expats. All the entertainment venues are packed with people. At Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, you can wait in line all day for the Formula Rossa ride.
Alcohol is allowed in bars and liquor stores as on other days. However, specialized liquor stores are usually open from lunchtime or closed. Read our page "Alcohol in Dubai and UAE" for more details.
There is no special dress code on Friday, the requirements for dress in public places are usual. Read our review "Laws for tourists in the UAE".
It is better not to appear on the roads in the UAE one hour before Friday prayers from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. (from 12:15 to 13:15) and one hour after Friday prayers. All Muslims rush to mosques.
Local Arabs are Muslims, but not only them. Muslims expats from Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and other Islamic countries live and work in the UAE. They all rush to mosques.
See the photo of Friday traffic jam near, click on photo to enlarge to full screen.
Public transport does not stop working. The Dubai Metro does not have a break, but at night the subway runs until 2:15 p.m. (2:15). For the current subway schedule, see our review "Dubai Metro". Taxi cabs work as usual. Buses run on a special schedule, but this schedule is almost the same as the weekday schedule.
Airports accept planes as usual. Friday is the busiest day of the week in terms of air traffic in the UAE.
We advise tourists to spend Friday on a beach. Right in the morning, stock up on drinks and snacks from a store, arrive on a beach, sunbathe and swim. Plan trips to places of interest for Monday to Thursday.
In general, the holy day of the week - Friday is almost unnoticeable for tourists. But the holy month of Ramadan is noticeable, read about it in our review "Ramadan in the UAE".
Have a good holiday in the UAE and read our useful for tourists pages about this country (see list of pages below).
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