Prayers in mosques, reading of the Holy Qur’an in Muslim homes, and fasting from sunrise to sunset marked the first day of the holy month of Ramadan on Monday.
Many Qataris and Muslim expatriates went to mosques in various areas before 3am to pray, ahead of the start of the fast.
“We pray at least five times a day and we start to abstain from eating and drinking during the day. Fasting is obligatory and it is not optional,” an Asian expatriate told Gulf Times
. “We usually allot more time to read the Qur’an during the holy month.”
He noted that besides fasting, they will also spend more time praying in mosques.
In the morning and a few hours before sunset a large number of people were seen rushing to major supermarkets and hypermarkets in Doha, as well as in Al Khor, to buy food and other grocery items.
Dozens of residents witnessed the firing of the cannon at Imam Mohamed Ibn Abdul Wahhab Masjid Doha to mark the end of fasting on Monday. Led by members of the Qatari Emiri Forces, the traditional Ramadan activity also gave attendees, especially children, the opportunity to experience the thrill and excitement. They also had the chance to pose for photographs near the cannon.
A large number of Muslim residents and workers in Qatar were given free Iftar meals at many locations to break their fast. Many Iftar tents are hosted and organised by government and non-governmental organisations during the holy month.
In some cases, Iftar boxes, which contains healthy food and drinks, are distributed to motorists and passengers a few minutes before the breaking of the fast.
The Ramadan cannon being fired in Doha on Monday to announce the end of fasting. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil.
A mall manager said the rush started four days before the start of Ramadan, with people spending more on food items and other necessities.
“Actually we have been doing well the past week but a lot of people had come a day before the official start of Ramadan and today (June 6),” he added.
He noted that all their branches in the country usually receive a large number of shoppers during the holy month especially after office hours.
Government offices also started implementing shortened working hours, from 9am to 2pm, while employees of privately-owned companies work for at least six hours.
Malls, supermarkets, hypermarkets, restaurants and eateries (which open only after sunset) and other business establishments have also extended their operations until 1am.
Besides office working hours, school timings have been shortened to five hours from 8am to 1pm starting Monday.
Community schools in the country such as the Philippine School of Doha and the Philippine International School in Qatar, which are expected to open on June 13, are likely to implement the same schedule.
While there was a smooth flow of traffic on major roads in Doha on Monday, motorists had to bear with long queues at petrol stations.
Some embassies in Doha told Gulf Times
that they will operate from 8am to 1pm with no breaks in between to serve their citizens and other customers.
Many residents were seen donating to charitable institutions while others are planning to do various charity works in the coming days to help less fortunate families and those in need.
A number of companies and groups have announced plans to organise Iftar drives in various areas, giving away free food to motorists and workers.
Some government and non-governmental organisations and agencies, as well as a number of private companies, had started sending Ramadan greetings to the public through emails, SMS, and on social media. Some have announced plans to hold various Ramadan activities.
In an SMS, Ooredoo said it is offering a 50% discount for 6GB of data for QR50 as part of a “Special Shahry Ramadan pack" good for 30 days.
A number of expatriate communities also reminded their non-Muslim compatriots on social media to refrain from eating and drinking in public or at their workplace during the day.