Every nation has its share of weird laws, but Dubai takes the cake with several weird laws – some that don’t make sense at all. What’s a weird law, anyway? Any law that seems unfair or antisocial would be considered weird, like the law in Venice not to feed the pigeons and doves in public. That’s literally a fine-able offence, believe it or not! Well, are you ready to read up on the funny weird laws of Dubai? Fasten your seat-belts!
- Eating during Ramadan
During the holy month of Ramadan, all Muslims are required to eat once before dawn (suhoor) and after that fast till the evening meal after sunset (iftar) the sun sets in the evening. Not a single drop of water should pass one’s lips. Muslims in Dubai are accustomed to this ancient law and they follow it. While it’s true that expats and visitors to Dubai must respect local customs, being forbidden to eat or drink during the day in the month of Ramadan is a bit much. First time offenders are usually issued a warning, and repeat offenders are jailed.
- Public displays of affection
Hugging and kissing in public, even if it’s only your brother or sister you’re touching is still illegal in Dubai. A British couple earned a three-month suspended sentence for engaging in intercourse on a public beach, and another couple was punished with a jail sentence for kissing in a restaurant. So the rule of thumb here is, when it’s Dubai, show your feelings for each other only through the eyes.
- Possession of drugs
In Dubai and in the whole of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you can be jailed for drug possession even if a tiny amount of illicit drugs is found in your bloodstream or urine. So make sure that your prescription medications don’t have any forbidden illicit drugs in them. You don’t want to be jailed for 4 years for taking your medications, do you? Dubai takes care of this problem right at the Customs level, though. Any drug containing codeine will simply not make it through the custom portals.
- Watch your tongue – sorry, fingers!
Be careful of what you say on social media while you’re in Dubai. Dubai watches out for texts that contain bad language. And don’t look at us for what’s considered really bad language. Rule of thumb – don’t use any words that you usually avoid with a child of 5. Now with that knowledge, we’re sure you’ll be safe. Just last year the Dubai courts fined a local UAE man $AU1160 for swearing on social media at another man. On WhatsApp, that too. So in all fairness, the offending party appealed to the Supreme Court, which actually ruled that future offenders should be fined $96,900, plus imprisonment or deportation.
- No dirty dancing
Dubai does allow dancing at nightclubs and pubs, but don’t you dare try any dirty dancing here. What’s dirty dancing anyway? Well, watch your moves. Do you touch your partner? Then that’s dirty. You can dance in the privacy of your room or in a private nightclub, but keep your hands firm at your sides while dancing elsewhere in Dubai.
- Don’t play music during Ramadan
Playing loud music or setting up live music bands during the holy month of Ramadan is forbidden. Dancing to music, even on your own, will be a fineable offence during the holy month. In fact, all clubs and nightclubs are closed for the duration of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. So there.
- Don’t flip the bird
Feel like showing someone the middle finger, or even the forefinger? Take your frustrations out in some other way. Showing your finger in Dubai is not just considered rude; it’s obscene, totally unacceptable and illegal to do so. In 2010, a 56-year-old Brit was arrested for flipping the bird at an aviation student while fighting. The government took away his passport eight months as bail surety and put him in prison. You could be fined, jailed or even deported for this offence, so keep your fingers fisted always.
- Don’t do it on the beach
Want to know a surefire way to wind up behind bars? Dubai has strict laws pertaining to indecency. While many offences are waived or just fined in the case of a first-time offender, public sex is beyond tolerance. Do it with someone even if that someone is married to you, and you’ll be prosecuted, imprisoned with a fine or you could be deported. The fine can be more than 1000 Dhs, and imprisonment is usually for 3 to 6 months. Just not worth the experience. Go home and do it in bed, guys.
- Want to drink on the beach? Make sure it’s just water
You can buy alcohol in licensed hotels or bars, but drinking and being drunk are both unacceptable and illegal in public. Don’t misuse Dubai’s leniency and drink in public, and especially on the beach. Don’t drink and drive, not even the tiniest amount. For any of these offences you could be fined a huge amount, fined and jailed or if your offence is really bad, you’ll earn all punishments including deportation.
- Not clad modestly
Feeling hot and sweaty? Don’t you dare wear shorts and go sightseeing. Shorts, tight clothes, transparent clothing or showing bits of skin are ok but only on a beach. Displaying your stomach, shoulders or back is a no-no while in public. Dress modestly with your shoulders and legs covered and you’ll spare what money you have from tinkling in the fines box!
That’s not all. Did you know that taking pictures of certain government buildings is also illegal in Dubai? Yes. No one tells you this when you’re set to travel. And one more thing – don’t peruse porno while in Dubai. If you’re taking your laptop along, be sure all that stuff is cleaned out. And whatever you do, don’t smuggle in a bacon sandwich or poppy seeds into Dubai.