How To Greet People In Dubai?

While in Dubai, the most common greetings visitors will come across are marhaba (hello) and maasalaamah (goodbye or with peace). These are considered standard greetings for everyday situations. Ahlan wa sahlan (welcome) is also used in more formal meetings and can be shortened to ahlan to suit most scenarios.

How to greet people in Arabic?

  • You can also greet people according to the time of the day. In the morning, you can say “Sabah al-khayr” meaning, “good morning”. Unlike in English greetings, there are several replies to this greeting in Arabic, depending on the mood and creativity of the speaker.

How do you greet in UAE?

15 Arabic phrases to help you get by in the UAE

  1. Hi: Salam.
  2. Good Morning: Sabah El Kheer.
  3. Good Evening: Masaa El Kheer.
  4. Welcome (to greet someone): Marhaba.
  5. Welcome (for thank you): Afwan.
  6. How are you? Kaifa Alhal.
  7. I’m fine, thanks: Ana Bekhair, Shokran.
  8. And you? Wa ant?

How do you greet good morning in Dubai?

In the morning, you can say “Sabah al-khayr” meaning, “good morning”. Unlike in English greetings, there are several replies to this greeting in Arabic, depending on the mood and creativity of the speaker. The most common reply is “Sabah an-noor” meaning, “morning or light”.

How do you say welcome in UAE?

Marhaba – means welcome. This one is also used to welcome anyone at any time. Sabah Al Khayr – Same as the good morning in English. This is a very formal way of greeting.

What is welcome UAE?

Ahlan wa sahlan (“Welcome,” very common of Arab hosts)

How do you say friend in Dubai?

Common expressions you may hear among the non-Arab residents in Dubai include: Habibi for a boyor habibti for a girl, which means ‘beloved,’ but can be used as a friendly ‘dude’ or ‘chick’ for those you know well. It is an endearing term that is used between close friends as well as partners.

How Arabian show their greetings?

In Saudi Arabia, the most common form of greeting is a handshake and the phrase “Assalaam ‘alaikum” (May peace be upon you), to which the reply is “Wa ‘alaikum assalaam” (And peace be upon you). Handshakes are most common in business settings and always use the right hand.

What is the reply for Subah Al Khair?

Arabs do say good morning, although “Sabah al khair” literally translates as “morning of good”. The most common reply to this is “ Sabah al noor”, which means “morning of light” or “a bright morning to you”.

How do you say welcome in Dubai?

While in Dubai, the most common greetings visitors will come across are marhaba (hello) and maasalaamah (goodbye or with peace). These are considered standard greetings for everyday situations. Ahlan wa sahlan (welcome) is also used in more formal meetings and can be shortened to ahlan to suit most scenarios.

How do you say friend in Arabic?

The Arabic word for friend is pronounced “sadiq” and written صديق.

What are common Arabic phrases?

Basic Arabic Phrases

  • naäam. Yes.
  • laa. No.
  • min faDlik. Please.
  • shukran. Thank you.
  • äafwan. You’re welcome.
  • aläafw. Excuse me.
  • arjuu almaädhira. I am sorry.
  • sabaaH alkhayr. Good morning.

Do Arabs touch noses?

Using the nose to greet is also a custom with people in the world: Mongols, Polynesians, Malay, Indians, Africans, and Eskimos among others. But while in the Arab Peninsula people stub noses against each other, in other places they smell or sniff each other.

Does UAE speak English?

The official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic. A number of languages are spoken among the expatriate community, including various dialects of Pashto, Hindi, Balochi, and Persian. English is also widely spoken.

Is English widely spoken in Dubai?

English is the most commonly spoken language in Dubai. With a high number of expats, most of whom speak English as a native or second language, you’ll find it easy to make your way around. From road signs and menus to phone directories and public transport, English is always an option.

Useful Phrases to Learn Before Visiting Dubai

The Museum of the Future in Dubai|Giuseppe Cacace / Getty ImagesThe Museum of the Future in Dubai Arabic and English are the two most widely spoken languages in the United Arab Emirates. Despite the fact that you may get by with only speaking English, there are a number of Arabic phrases that you may come across in everyday speech. Here are the most important terms to know before visiting Dubai on vacation. To begin a conversation in Arabic, the formal greeting is as-salam alaykum, to which the answer is invariably as-salam alaykum.

If, on the other hand, you like to say hello in a more casual manner, use the slang term forsalamorhalla, which means “hello.” In addition, there is a considerable probability that when you arrive in Dubai, you will be met with the pleasantmarhabaanor that you will be welcomed withahlan.

“I’m OK, thank you,” is the customary answer in Arabic, which translates as “I’m fine, thank you.” Asmae alsalama, which approximately translates as ‘go with peace,’ is a common way of saying farewell in Arabic.

It’s also useful to know the difference between ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ which isna’amandlrespectively.

  1. If you accidentally bump into someone, you should say ‘excuse me’ likealma’dera and’sorry’ likeaesef.
  2. Spices at the souq|Photo courtesy of Elroy Serrao/Flickr In the United Arab Emirates, Arabic expressions have been translated into various languages.
  3. It is a phrase of endearment that is used between close friends as well as between romantic partners.
  4. Traditionally, this phrase is intended to convey the sentiment that someone would try their best, but it is also used as an excuse.
  5. Photograph by Sam Valadi/Flickr Haram is a term that generally translates to a sin or anything that is prohibited and in violation of Islamic law.
  6. As a result, it is advised to stop whatever you are doing if someone says this to you because it may be considered insulting or even illegal.
  7. A server may inquire as to if you would like dessert after your meal if you are at a restaurant.
  8. This is something you could hear a parent say to their children when out and about in Dubai.Shu hadha?
  9. It can be used either as a harmless query or as a statement that roughly translates as ‘what on earth are you doing?!’ or something similar.
  10. Dubai at Night If you find yourself in a tricky circumstance where you need to speak in Arabic, the following phrases may be of assistance to you.

To inquire, ‘Can you assist me?’ sayhal beemkanik musaea’adati, or simply saymusaeada, which means ‘assistance.’ If someone is trying to speak with you in Arabic, you may tell them that you don’t comprehend what they’re saying by sayingla afham (I don’t understand).

How to Greet in Arabic

Dubai is a member of the United Arab emirates and is located in the Middle East. The Arabic language is the official language of the United Arab Emirates, as indicated by the country’s name. Consequently, if you are thinking about visiting Dubai, you might be wondering how you would navigate the city if you did not speak Arabic. That, on the other hand, will not be an issue at all. Dubai is a multi-cultural city where you can get by with a little bit of English on your side. However, knowing the fundamental pleasantries in Arabic is still beneficial if you are approached by someone who greets you in the language.

As a result, here are some of the most often used and essential terms you should know before traveling to Dubai.

How to greet someone in Arabic

There are a few terms or sorts of greeting statements in Arabic that are appropriate for different people and situations. Ahlan Wa Sahlan (or simply Ahlan)– This is the Arabic equivalent of the greeting “hello” in the English language. This may be used to greet anyone at any time of day, regardless of the time of day. Ahlan is a more informal method of expressing ahlan va sahlan in English. Marhaba is Arabic for “welcome.” This one is also used to greet anyone at any time of day or night. Sabah Al Khayr– This is the Arabic equivalent of the phrase “good morning.” This is a pretty formal manner of introducing yourself.

This phrase is used in the afternoon, similar to the English phrase “good evening.” Tisbah Ala Khayr– Despite the fact that the meaning has nothing to do with good night, Arabs greet people with this greeting instead of goodnight.

The wish is to be fulfilled the following day.

Most Arab men and women do not shake hands with one another on a regular basis.

How to reply to Arabic Greetings

Different welcomes necessitate a variety of responses: It is customary to say ‘Sabah An Noor’ when someone wishes you a Sabah Al Khayr or Sabah A Noor. This phrase means ‘a morning of light’ or ‘a lovely morning’ and is an Arabic phrase that means ‘a morning of light’ or ‘a beautiful morning.’ Tisbah al Khayr should be addressed as Missa al Khayr, and Tisbah al Khayr should be addressed as Wa anta (or anti, depending on whether or not the other person is female). Females are addressed as ‘anti,’ whereas males are addressed as ‘anta.’

How do Muslims Greet in Arabic

Unless otherwise stated, all of the greetings listed above are generic Arabic greetings. The greeting ‘Assalamu Alaikum’, which comes from the Prophetic traditions, is the most commonly used by Muslims to greet one another.

Its meaning is something along the lines of’may God’s peace be upon you.’ Muslims respond with the phrase ‘Wa Alaikum Assalam,’ which translates as’may peace be upon you as well.’

Why do Arabs rub Their Noses?

In the Arab culture, touching one’s nose with one’s fingers is a gesture of greeting. It is customary in the culture to rub one’s nose as a symbol of respect and pride. It is, in reality, a thousands-year-old tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. You can even determine what area of the Arabian peninsula someone is from by looking at how they rub their noses together and together. This is the equivalent of an adult person kissing the forehead of a youngster for the first time.

Other cultures have a tradition of rubbing the bridge of the nose.

Nose massages are generally always performed between male and male partners or female and female partners.

What is Inshallah in Arabic

Despite the fact that it is a widely used term in the Arab and Islamic worlds, it is sometimes misinterpreted. When you ask an Arab to perform something or make a request, he will respond with the word ‘Inshallah’ if he is willing to assist you. However, it appears that the word has acquired a negative meaning as a result of recent events. As a result, it is sometimes interpreted as a sign of a lack of interest by others around you. “If God wills it,” as the phrase Inshallah is translated, means “if God wills it.” Additionally, in Arab culture, saying Inshallah rather than OK is regarded more courteous than saying OK.

Common Arabic Phrases in Dubai

Despite the fact that it is a widely used term in the Arab and Islamic worlds, it is sometimes misinterpreted. As soon as you ask an Arab to do something or to make a request, he will respond with the word Inshallah, which means he is delighted to assist you. The term has, nevertheless, appeared to have acquired a negative meaning. Consequently, it is frequently seen as a lack of interest on the part of the observer or audience. “Inshallah” literally means “God willing” or “if God wills it to be so.” Additionally, in Arab culture, saying Inshallah rather than OK is regarded more courteous.

Learn more about the Arabic Phrases in Dubai

There are several ways to immerse yourself in the culture and tradition of the United Arab Emirates. You may take a desert safari tour to learn about the Bedouin culture and heritage while staying in a desert camp, as well as learn about many other topics while being in a desert camp.

How to greet in Arabic

82Dubai’s Cultural and Historical Heritage You’re in Dubai, and you want to be able to speak the talk while also walking the walk. Having a basic understanding of Arabic is a fantastic method to do this. You’ll want to be familiar with some of the important terms if you’re planning on experiencing the legendary “Arab hospitality.” From the moment you meet someone until the moment you say goodbye, you will be enveloped with warmth and friendliness. And it’s not just a matter of saying “hi” either.

You are always made to feel welcome!

For example, when two men shake hands, they frequently come face-to-face to allow their noses to come into contact with one another.

Just a quick note: if someone of the opposing gender refuses to shake your hand, don’t be concerned; you did nothing to deserve this treatment.

Some individuals in this town simply feel that men and women should not make physical contact while greeting one other. Here’s some more information on how to welcome someone correctly in Arabic:

How to say “hello”

Even if it’s OK to address a group of individuals, make sure you address each individual by name. This will go a long way toward establishing a courteous atmosphere. The following are examples of common ways to welcome someone:

  • Regards, As-Salam ‘Alykum– This is, without a doubt, the most often used greeting. It literally translates as “peace be upon you.” If you listen closely, you’ll notice that the greeting has a similar ring to the words “Muslim,”” Islam,” and “salaam,” all of which have their roots in the word “sallima,” which means to “surrender (to the will of God). When it comes to Muslims, the greeting reflects their religious identity and is intended to communicate to the other person that they, too, are a Muslim. For non-Muslims, I’d encourage that they use it with Arabs they are familiar with. If you are welcomed in this manner, the appropriate response is “Wa ‘alaykum as-salam,” which means “peace be upon you as well.”
  • Ahlan (hello). This may be used by anybody at any hour of the day and is completely anonymous. As you approach them, clasp your hands together and kiss them on the cheeks while saying “Ahlan.” Females will only kiss other ladies, and men will only kiss other men, according to tradition. This is also dependent on the nature of the interaction between the individuals. This is the more formal variant of the greeting “Ahlan Wa Sahlan” (welcome). The most common response to a guy is “Ahlan bik,” and the most common response to a girl is “Ahlan biki.” “Ahlan bikum
  • Marhaba,” if you want to respond to more than one individual (Welcome) It derives from the Arabic word “rahhaba,” which literally means “to welcome.” A typical response is “Marhaban bik,” “Marhaban biki,” and “Marhaban bikum” when addressing a male, a female, or a group of people
  • “Marhaban bik” is often used when addressing more than one person.

Time-Specific Greetings

You may also welcome folks based on the time of day they are greeting you. In the morning, you can greet someone with the phrase “Sabah al-khayr,” which translates as “good morning.” There are various possible responses to this greeting in Arabic, as opposed to the limited number of options available in English, depending on the speaker’s mood and level of imagination. The most often heard response is “Sabah an-noor,” which translates as “dawn or light.” In addition to “dawn of light,” the speaker can change the phrase to “morning of joy,” “morning of beauty,” “morning of the rose,” and so on.

“Misa’ al-khayr” is met by “Misa’ an-noor,” which is a response.

“Good night” is stated with the phrase “Tisbah ‘ala khayr,” which roughly translates as “wake up to the good,” and the response is “Wa anta/anti min ahloo,” which approximately translates as “and may you be one of the good.”

Rose water and Arabic Coffee

Rose water and Arabic coffee are two examples of additional ways in which Arab hospitality is demonstrated. Rose water is an ancient Bedouin practice that is poured over your hands as soon as you arrive at your destination. Because the Bedouins were desert nomads, they performed this to refresh their guests and wash away any undesirable scents that had accrued throughout their journeys through the desert. Arabic coffee, on the other hand, is a little more fascinating since there are two different methods to welcome someone with it.

However, if you are given a full cup, you will have to finish it and go on with your day.

Want to learn more?

It goes without saying that there is much more to Arabic greetings than what has been presented thus far. Using a variety of welcomes helps you sound more fluid. So make an effort to recall as many as you can. Download our Dubai RulesEtiquette Guide for further information on how to greet people in the Arabic language properly.

Useful Arabic Greetings and Etiquette Practices While Vacationing in Dubai

In this dynamic and ultra-modern metropolis, people from all over the world are invited to come and enjoy their stay. Despite the fact that English is one of the languages spoken by residents of Dubai, it is essential to learn Arabic greetings and phrases in order to better communicate with the locals. Additionally, Arabic etiquette should be respected in order to honor the Islamic culture of the people of Dubai.

Arabic Greetings and Phrases

As-salam alaykum is a formal and widespread Arabic greeting that means “good morning.” “Peace be upon you,” as the phrase is translated. The reply iswa’alaykum as-salam, which translates as “peace be with you as well.” Ahlanis is another typical Arabic greeting that is used to greet someone. Ahlan is traditionally exchanged between two persons who greet each other by bringing their hands together and kissing each other on the cheeks while saying Ahlan. This is mostly dependent on the nature of the relationship between the two individuals.

While landing in Dubai, you may also hear the Arabic phrase Ahlanuttered, which translates as “welcome.” Marhaba is another term that may be used to express welcome.

In addition to the phraseKayf halak (spoken to a man) orKayfa halik (said to a woman), there is another Arabic greeting (said to a woman). The terms “how are you?” and “how are you doing?” As a response, the speaker says, “Ana bekhair, Shukran,” which means, “I’m fine, thank you.”

Time Specific Arabic Greetings

You have the option of changing your greeting depending on the time of day. The Arabic greeting for “Good morning?” is sabah al-khayr, which means “good morning, good morning.” The most frequently heard response isSabah an-noor. Early morning or early light is what this phrase means. Another option is for the speaker to change their response to other phrases such as “morning of beauty” or “morning of delight.” To say good evening in Arabic, the greeting isMisa’al-khayr, and the response isMisa’an-nooror simplyan-noor, which means “good evening in English.” The Arabic phrase for “good night” is Tisbah ‘ala khayr, which means “good night, good night.” “Wake up to the good” is the literal translation.

‘And may you be one of the excellent,’ says the answer, which is spelled Antaoranti min ahloo in English.

Conversation Phrases

In order to communicate effectively in everyday situations, you will need to learn phrases to express words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Other Arabic phrases to keep in mind during your vacation to Dubai are listed below: When you are out shopping for anything, you may be interested in knowing how much the products cost. In Arabic, the phrase for ‘how much does the thing cost’ is spelled yukalif (price). ‘Yes’ or ‘no’ will be required when agreeing with or disagreeing with someone. Yes is represented by the Arabic word isnaam, whereas no is represented by the Arabic term isla.

Please accept my apologies in advance; the Arabic term for this is alma’derah, and the Arabic word for “sorry” is aesef.

Arabic Etiquette Practices

It is essential to follow proper Arabic etiquette practices in order to prevent offending the public or breaking the law in order to avoid any unpleasant events. The following are some of the etiquette customs that might be practiced in Dubai:

Arabic Manners

Having good manners is crucial in every community, and in the United Arab Emirates, civility and hospitality are highly regarded. It is considered impolite in Arabic culture to point at someone or anything. Using the right hand to say pleasantries, accept something, or gift something is only one of the many traditions.


Swearing is considered unacceptable in Dubai, and it may result in fines of up to AED 10,000 or even imprisonment if it is caught. This is true for cursing on social media platforms as well. Additionally, offensive hand gestures are prohibited.

Clothing in Dubai

When attending public locations such as retail malls or government offices, it is highly suggested that you dress conservatively, especially in the evening. Dress in clothing that covers your cleavage, knees, and shoulders. a. Bikinis are permitted at swimming pools and beaches, however G-strings are not permitted.

The only place where guys are permitted to go topless is on a beach. When attending the mosque, both men and women are required to dress in long pants and cover their arms with their hands. Women are also expected to cover their heads with a scarf.

Couple Behavior

When traveling as a couple in Dubai, it is not recommended to make public shows of affection. Kissing and holding hands are examples of affectionate gestures. Please be cautious of how you and our partner behave yourself when out in public.

Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs are strictly outlawed in Dubai, and possession of them carries a prison term ranging from four to twenty years. Although it is permissible to consume alcoholic beverages in Dubai, getting intoxicated and acting in a boisterous manner is not allowed. More information may be found at:

  • Everything You Need to Know About UAE Traditions
  • Everything You Need to Know About Dubai’s Way of Life

Making use of Arabic greetings and phrases can help you connect with the people you meet while visiting Dubai. Also, keep in mind that proper manners will ensure that you have a pleasant experience in the city.

5 Etiquette Tips for Doing Business in Dubai

There is no country in the world that has garnered more attention in recent years than the United Arab Emirates, with the majority of that attention focused on the metropolis of Dubai. Dubai has generated news for a variety of reasons, including the construction of the world’s tallest structure and the reconstruction of The World. This country continues to be a fantastic economic destination, not only because of its ambitious ambitions, but also because of its massive crude oil reserves and its desire for innovation.

  • 1.
  • A significant aspect of most, if not all, communities is the practice of proper greeting.
  • It is customary to welcome the most senior person in the room first, followed by their proper title – Sheikh (chief) or Sheikha for a woman, Sayed (Mr) and Sayeda (Mrs), followed by their first name – before anybody else.
  • 2.
  • Handshakes are the most common way to welcome someone.
  • It is customary for men to offer their hands to Arab women when they welcome them, rather than greeting them directly.
  • When you are strolling with someone, it is also usual for your hand to be held for lengthy periods of time as well.


It is anticipated that you will always use your right hand while shaking hands, giving over paperwork, or serving meals.

When eating in public, you are also required to use your right hand, especially when chewing gum.


In Dubai, business is founded on the foundation of long-standing connections.

Even at a formal meeting, a significant number of queries may be directed at you and your family.

Women can talk about it with other women, but a woman’s life in Dubai is quite private, according to the culture.

Long skirts are preferred over short shorts.

Every year, we hear stories of visitors being detained or punished in Dubai for wearing unsuitable apparel in public places.

When visiting holy buildings, ladies should always have their hair up or tied back.

Aside from these corporate etiquette guidelines, another valuable suggestion is the need of mastering their native language.

Concern for their language and culture will demonstrate your genuine interest in them and their business.

If you would like to study some Arabic before you travel, please get in touch with us to find out how we can assist you. If you believe your Arabic is sufficient, you should take ourArabic level test to be certain.

How do you greet someone in United Arab Emirates? – SidmartinBio

In Arabic, the formal greeting is as-salam alaykum, to which the answer is invariably wa’alaykum as-salam (thank you for coming). ‘Peace be upon you,’ says the Arabic translation. However, if you like to say hello in a more casual manner, you can use the Arabic words salam or halla, which are slang for hello.

How do Emiratis greet each other?

Emiratis are highly friendly and hospitable people, and when meeting friends, they tend to utilize lengthy pleasantries that include praises to God, in addition to hugs and kisses, to express their warmth and welcoming nature. When it comes to Emirati women, it is best not to try to shake their hand until she initially extends her hand, and it is even better to avoid hugs and kisses altogether.

How do you say good morning in UAE?

15 Arabic phrases to get by in the United Arab Emirates

  1. Hi: Salam
  2. Greetings, and good morning: Sabah El Kheer
  3. Sabah El Kheer Greetings, and a good evening: Masaa El Kheer is a fictional character created by Masaa El Kheer. Greetings (to say hello to someone): Marhaba
  4. Thank you for your time and consideration. Afwan
  5. How are you doing? Kaifa Alhal
  6. Kaifa Alhal
  7. I’m OK, thank you so much: Shokran, Ana Bekhair, Shokran What about you? Wa ant
  8. Wa ant

How do you say hi in Dubai?

How to say “hello” in several languages

  1. As-salaam ‘alykum – Thank you for your time. This is, without a doubt, the most often used greeting. It literally translates as “peace be upon you”
  2. Ahlan (hello). This may be utilized by anyone at any time of day
  3. It is flexible. Greetings, Marhaba (Welcome) It derives from the Arabic word “rahhaba,” which literally means “to welcome.”

What are you doing in UAE Arabic?

What exactly are you up to? • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

How do you greet in Dubai?

When visiting Dubai, the most typical pleasantries that travelers may encounter are marhaba (hello) and maasalaamah (thank you for coming) (goodbye or with peace). When used in ordinary contexts, they are regarded as conventional greetings. This greeting is also commonly used in more official gatherings, and may be abbreviated to ahlan wa sahlan for the majority of situations.

What is your name in UAE Arabic?

“Can you tell me your name?” in the Arabic language What’s your name, by the way? • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

How to say hello to someone in Arabic?

“I’m curious about your identity.” the language of the Arabs What’s your name, by the way. In this case, the word “in” refers to the word “out.”

Do you know how to greet someone in Dubai?

Dubai is a multi-cultural city where you can get by with a little bit of English on your side. However, it is still beneficial to be familiar with the fundamental pleasantries in case you are welcomed in Arabic. This is especially true because the Arab way of life is to welcome even strangers. So, here are some of the most often used and crucial terms you should be familiar with before traveling to Dubai.

Which is the most common greeting in Arabic?

Females are addressed as ‘anti,’ whereas males are addressed as ‘anta.’ Unless otherwise stated, all of the greetings listed above are generic Arabic greetings. When Muslims greet one another, the most commonly used greeting is the word ‘Assalamu alaikum,’ which is a term derived from the Prophetic traditions.

What’s the most popular Arabic phrase in Dubai?

‘Thank you’ is written in s hukran. In the United Arab Emirates, Arabic expressions have been translated into various languages. Non-Arab people in Dubai employ a variety of idioms, including the words habibi (for a male) and habibti (for a lady), which both mean “beloved,” but may also be used to refer to a nice “dude” or “chick” for those who are well acquainted with them.

Business Etiquette Around the World: United Arab Emirates

It’s possible that you’ll find yourself in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the next few years if you haven’t previously visited the country.

Business travel to the United Arab Emirates is predicted to more than quadruple in value by 2020, reaching about $1.4 billion. This is according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA). Here are our top etiquette suggestions for conducting business in the United Arab Emirates:

ClothingThe modesty of your clothing is extremely important in the Middle East – for womenandmen. Be mindful not to wear revealing clothes (including open-toed shoes) and to cover your shoulders, arms and legs.Men:A suit and tie is appropriate. Darker colors are viewed as more professional.

Have a safe journey!

Emirati Customs and Etiquette: A Guide for Expats

This entry was posted on 24 December 2019 and was last updated on 9 November 2021.

Every country, including the UAE, has its own fair share of unique local etiquette that visitors need to be mindful of

It is essential to be properly prepared while traveling to the United Arab Emirates, whether for business, to experience a different way of life, or for fun. Having your passport, an extra pair of walking shoes, and at least a basic command of Arabic words are not the only things you should prepare for. It is critical that you become acquainted with local customs and etiquette in order to make the most of your stay and interactions with any Nationals, all without unintentionally upsetting anybody or finding yourself into a difficult situation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Understanding the Culture of the Emiratis You may use this advice to prevent making any cultural faux pas while engaging with an Emirati citizen or when visiting them at their place of residence to help you avoid making any cultural faux pas.

She is a trusted keeper of UAE customs.

Emirati greetings

It is important to be properly prepared while traveling to the United Arab Emirates, whether for business, a new lifestyle, or pleasure. Having your passport, additional walking shoes, and a good command of Arabic words are not the only things you should prepare for. It is critical that you become acquainted with local customs and etiquette in order to make the most of your stay and interactions with any Nationals, all without unintentionally upsetting anybody or landing yourself in a sticky situation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND HERE: Understanding the Culture of the Emiratis.

In the UAE, etiquette expert Fatima Al Mughani is known for her guidance on everything from how to be a gracious visitor to how to make sure the coffee is done exactly properly.

Visiting an Emirati home

The citizens and residents of the United Arab Emirates place a high value on hospitality. Emiratis are typically warm, kind, and hospitable people, and it’s crucial to show your appreciation by being familiar with proper house etiquette when visiting them.

Arriving and departing the host’s house or majlis

When entering an Emirati home, guests must take their shoes off and shake the host’s hand as soon as they enter the house. Before departing from a UAE resident’s house or majlis, guests are expected to shake hands with the host to express their gratitude for their generous hospitality.

Respecting the home and majlis

Attempt to avoid crouching on the floor or crossing your knees when sitting up in a majlis; all of these are considered arrogant postures and should be avoided.

Eating and drinking

When guests arrive in the UAE, residents usually offer to give them coffee as well as dates and other traditional treats as a gesture of welcome, demonstrating just how friendly the people of the UAE are in general. In order to avoid being rude, it is advisable to gently take a drink (coffee, tea, juice, or water), unless you have medical reasons for which you are unable to accept a drink (such as diabetes). In order to indicate that you do not wish to have any more beverages, you might shake your cup from side to side from side to side.

The individual responsible for bringing coffee to visitors must refrain from interfering with any current conversation.

If there is a prominent figure or an old person present, they should be served first, followed by everyone else.

It is customary for men to provide coffee, however they should stay standing while serving drinks to their male visitors.

Having a meal

When dining at an Emirati’s house, it is customary to express sincere gratitude for the meals that have been cooked and provided. Use your right hand only while serving food and visitors must take their cups and return them with their right hand if they are eating outside of the host’s home; all of these rules apply to meals served outside of the host’s home. It is not necessary to wait for the Emirati host to begin eating, as the local host is customarily required to wait until the guest has begun eating before they can begin eating themselves.

Body language around an Emirati

Body language among Emiratis differs significantly from that of their Western and Eastern counterparts, since there are specific behaviors we perform in our daily lives that we must be conscious of. Standing up when someone enters the room is considered courteous whether communicating with an Emirati or when visiting as a guest, regardless of whether or not they require assistance with something. Sitting with the soles of your feet towards a resident of the United Arab Emirates is also considered a rude gesture.

Dressing around an Emirati

When it comes to wearing Emirati national clothing outside of desert safaris and events when residents and guests are asked to try on the traditional attire of the UAE, it is often considered rude and insulting to do so. It is not recommended that foreign males dress in the Emirati national attire in public.

Expat and tourist women are likewise encouraged to be aware of their clothing choices when in the company of Emiratis. Even if some Emiratis are more flexible when it comes to the local dress code, it is nevertheless recommended that women wear modestly and in a manner that is not provocative.

  • The culture of the Emiratis
  • Etiquette in Dubai
  • Etiquette in the UAE
  • Expat handbook

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Over the past two decades, the United Arab Emirates (particularly Dubai) has established itself as a key business and leisure destination. From its breathtaking architecture to its enticing beaches, the United Arab Emirates has redefined the art of hospitality in its central geographical location, where “east meets west.” The UAE has redefined the art of hospitality in its central geographical location, where “east meets west.” Find out about the ins and outs of Arab culture so that you may make the most of your vacation or move to this interesting Middle Eastern metropolis with our cultural etiquette guide to the United Arab Emirates.


As-salam alaikumis the traditional greeting, which translates as “peace be upon you,” to which the response is “Wa alaikum as-salam” (and peace be upon you) (be peace). Inshallahmeans “God willing,” and it is frequently used as a response when an agreement on future cooperation has been reached. Keep in mind that social standing is extremely crucial while establishing business contacts in the United Arab Emirates. When addressing someone, make sure to address them by their proper title. Using Sheikh– or Sheikha for a woman, Sayedfor Mr., and Sayeda for Mrs.

  1. It is normal to address strangers just by their first names, for example, “Hi, my name is.” Mrs.
  2. It is critical to constantly acknowledge and respect the presence of the elder in the room before greeting the rest of the group.
  3. The unwritten rule is that you should wait for your counterpart to withdraw their hand before you move your own hand to the side.
  4. Shaking a man’s hand in public is not something that Muslim women are expected to do in their religion.
  5. Inquiring about a man’s wife or daughter is considered impolite in most cultures.

Body Language

People in the Middle East communicate with one another in a loud and energetic style, which may appear to be an expression of wrath to a Westerner, but is actually a typical mode of communication in this region of the world. Some Western nations, such as the United States, have found that the so-called “personal space” in the Middle East is slightly smaller. It’s best not to move away when someone comes closer since you can insult them unintentionally. Men should refrain from making physical contact with or maintaining extended eye contact with Muslim women at all times.

Don’t be astonished if your business colleague takes your arm in his or hers when you’re on your way someplace. This has no negative implications and is completely harmless.

Eating Etiquette

The people of the Middle East are well-known for their warm and welcoming nature. Never turn down a beverage or a pastry at a meeting or at any other time since they are a crucial element of any social occasion and should never be refused. You should express your gratitude to your hosts for their hospitality and express your appreciation for the food and beverages that have been offered to you. Older people have a very particular place in society, and they ought to be respected. Always remember to treat others with courtesy.

When you’re eating, shaking someone’s hand, or handing an object, use your right hand to do so.

In the case of an invitation to come visit, a modest personal gift is a charming touch that is quite fine – as long as it has purpose.

Business Etiquette

The Middle East is a place where personal ties and traditional values such as family, trust, and honor are extremely important in doing business and thriving. As a result, it is critical for commercial relationships to be built on the foundation of genuine friendship. In the Middle East, the working week is normally from Sunday through Thursday, with Friday being a holiday. People from the Western world are expected to be on time and to be for scheduled meetings on the dot. Nonetheless, it’s likely that your business competitor will not follow this guideline himself, so be prepared to be patient in the meanwhile.

This is seen as a show of extreme contempt in the Middle East.

You should express your heartfelt regret if something like this should happen by accident.

Always be patient and understand that making decisions may take some time.

The religion of the UAE

All Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Kuwait, as well as Egypt, are Muslim. It’s important to remember that disparaging or doubting Islam or its prophets is a serious sin, just as it is with any other religious tradition. Muslims adhere to the teachings of the Koran, which means that they are prohibited from consuming alcohol, pork, or shellfish.

It is recommended that you avoid consuming them in the company of government or religious representatives. It is also strictly banned to consume alcoholic beverages in public places. Muslims pray five times a day, seven days a week. You will almost certainly hear the following calls to prayer:

  1. Between dawn and sunrise
  2. Around 30 minutes after midday
  3. In the afternoon
  4. Immediately after sunset
  5. 1 12 hour after sunset
  6. In the evening

It is always a good idea to remove your shoes before entering a mosque or someone’s house. When entering a mosque, or any religious building for that matter, women are required to cover their hair at all times. For additional information, please see the Cultural Awareness Course in the United Arab Emirates. Cookies are used on this website to enhance your browsing experience. We’ll presume you’re okay with this, but you have the option to opt out if you so choose. Accepting cookie settingsACCEPTING cookie settings

Social Customs

Obviously, many Arab customs are extremely different from those in the West, and you should be aware of what you are expected to do and what you are not expected to do when visiting the region. Despite the fact that Arabs are forgiving and unlikely to take offense at social errors, provided they are the result of ignorance rather than malice, you will be made lot more welcome if you get familiar with the way things are done in the country. You must remember that you are a visitor to the country and that you must thus adapt to the customs and social customs of the country – not the other way around.


Local women’s attire differs from that worn by expats, and there are two separate forms of women’s dress in the region. In public, most Arab women wear according to Islamic custom, which implies that they must cover the majority of their bodies, from head to foot, from head to toe. The classic black overgarment (abaya) is ankle-length, has long sleeves and a high neckline, and it is worn with the hair covered in the customary manner. Some Arab women, particularly Saudi women and women whose husbands are very devout, cover their whole bodies, including their faces and hands.

Although foreign women may dress in western attire in other UAE states, it is recommended that they dress modestly at all times.

Women who dress provocatively will be considered as having ‘easy virtue’ or even as a prostitute by Arabs, who despise clothing that reveals the shoulders, arms, and legs of the wearer.

Another item to think about is your beachwear.

Wear clothing that covers you from neck to toes as soon as you get out of the water and anywhere you may go after that (maxi dresses are acceptable, as long as your shoulders are covered and no cleavage is shown.) Swim shorts, sarongs, sweatshirts with water on them, tight apparel, flip flops, and any other see-through items are not permitted.

  1. Although tourists predominate in the area, many of them are from the rest of the United Arab Emirates and are more conservative in their outlook.
  2. Women should dress conservatively in a business situation, with dark-colored pants or skirts that are below the knee length and are of conservative design.
  3. Thethobe is a flowy, ankle-length robe made of pure white cotton that is worn by Arab males (or heavier woollen material in winter).
  4. The ones worn by the Omanis are perhaps the most unique since they have a tassel on the end.
  5. It is customary for men to wear an outer cloak, known as thebisht, for formal occasions.
  6. The guthra, a white or red and white checkered fabric kept in place by the agal, a black ‘rope’ that was originally used as a camel tether, is the traditional and unique head covering.
  7. When it comes to really relaxed occasions or going to the beach, Arab men may choose to dress in casual attire, although Saudi men are highly urged to always dress in national dress.
  8. Shorts and sleeveless shirts should be avoided by males when walking along the street since they are considered too informal, however this attitude is changing with the growth of tourism.
  9. In the office, a shirt (typically with long sleeves), a tie, and a pair of lightweight trousers are standard attire.
  10. Western apparel, particularly for ladies, is not permitted on the premises.

You can dress conservatively in Western attire and ask to borrow an anabaya (for women) or an akandourah (for men) from a mosque, as these garments are available at some locations. Women are also required to wear a veil over their heads.


Arabs often place a great emphasis on courtesy, therefore it’s critical that you meet (and part from) locals in the proper manner when visiting them. For those who are new to the region, the use of Arabic names might be perplexing. For example, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Jishi is the name of a guy who lives in Saudi Arabia. Abdullah is his given name, and he is the son or grandchild of (bin) Abdul Aziz; Al-Jishi is the familial or tribe name of his father or grandfather. Given names are frequently abbreviated, further complicating problems: for example, Mohammed can be reduced to Mohd, Hamad, or Hamed, further complicating matters.

  • If the patronymic is deleted, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Jishi should never be addressed as Abdullah (let alone the diminutive Abdul).
  • Following the person’s full name, the standard formal address is ‘Sayed’ (‘Sir”) for men and ‘Sayeeda’ (or spelled with an apostrophe) for women (see below).
  • Your Excellency, followed by the title “Sheikh” (pronounced “shake” rather than “sheek”) and their full name are used to address senior members of reigning families.
  • Minor members of royal families and religious leaders are addressed by the title’Sheikh,’ which is followed by their full name in Arabic.
  • In many countries, there are different ways of addressing rulers and members of governing families; thus, you should always verify with your host country before meeting any dignitaries.


In the Gulf, the most popular greeting isSalam alaykum (‘Peace be upon you,’) to which the proper response isWa alaykum as-salam (‘And peace be upon you,’). Other popular greetings and the appropriate responses are as follows:

Greeting Meaning Reply
Ahlan wa sahlan Hello Ahlan bik
Sabah al-khayr Good morning/afternoon Sabah an-nur
Masa al-khayr Good evening Masa an-nur

It is important to note that tisbah ala-khayr, which translates as ‘good night’, is spoken on parting, just as it is in English, and that the response iswa inta min ahlu. When meeting and parting with Arab males, it is customary for them to shake hands. As for Arab women, follow the woman’s lead based on her actions: many Arab women will not shake hands with non-Arab males, however educated women may do so. When it comes to close friends that you see on a regular basis, this is typical. While waiting to observe how the interlocutor welcomes them, ladies should be aware that faithful Muslims would never touch a woman who is not a member of their own family.

Following a handshake, it is common to inquire about the other person’s health and other topics, and you should anticipate that you will get similar inquiries about yourself.

Despite the fact that foreigners are not required to be familiar with or utilize all of the complexities involved in this ceremony, learning at least some of the customary terms and using them in the proper manner can help you create a good impression.

Do not jump into business discussions right soon, whether in person or over the phone. Arabs will see this as a sign of impatience or a lack of interest in them as a person if you do.


You should take refreshments whenever they are provided, but keep in mind that you should always drink and eat with your right hand, as the left hand is considered unclean (because it is used for ‘toilet duties’). Similarly, you should avoid revealing the soles of your shoes or the soles of your feet, as this suggests that you believe the other person is ‘dirt,’ which is obviously quite unpleasant. As a result, you should maintain a level footing on the ground and avoid crossing your legs.


If you are invited to an Arab’s house, you should always accept the invitation. In general, you should take advantage of every chance to meet and interact with individuals from your host country, and avoid the natural urge to remain inside the social and physical constraints of your foreign ‘ghetto.’ Your Arab host will be eager in learning about you and your opinions. Politics and religion, on the other hand, should be avoided as topics of conversation; your viewpoints may be considered as ill-informed or even disrespectful, even if they appear acceptable to you from a western perspective.

  1. Ladies are typically requested to join the group of other women at this stage.
  2. When meeting someone new, Arabs are usually always courteous and expect the same in return.
  3. It is also crucial to understand that when an elder or a high-ranking person enters into a room, it is appropriate to stand up as a sign of respect.
  4. This is especially vital if you’re eating with someone else.
  5. It is definitely worthwhile to acquire enough Arabic to be able to express the niceties, greetings, and answers of the nation in which you are now residing.
  6. It’s crucial to remember, however, that the Arabic language has a unique value because it was created to transmit the message of God, and that it should be treated with reverence.
  7. This will not be accepted if the ladies of the family are present, which is especially true in Saudi Arabian culture.

However, despite the fact that this practice is not followed by everyone, it can still create humiliation. Furthermore, the proper answer is for the recipient to reciprocate with an even more valuable present, so think twice before admiring an Arab’s Rolls Royce!

Other Dos and Don’ts

You should also pay attention to the following cautionary tales:

  • Never give alcoholic beverages to an Arab, unless you are confident that he consumes alcoholic beverages. This can create a tremendous deal of offense. Avoid walking on a prayer mat or in front of anyone who is praying, and avoid staring at individuals who are praying
  • Never attempt to enter a mosque without first obtaining permission from the imam. It’s doubtful that you’ll be permitted to enter
  • Nonetheless, Do not attempt to visit the Holy Sites in the areas around Mecca and Medina while you are in Saudi Arabia. The routes are well marked to make sure that everyone is aware of the limitation. If a non-Muslim is discovered in one of the restricted places, he is likely to be harmed and will get no protection from the perpetrators. Stay away from blasphemy, especially in the presence of Muslims and, more specifically, in Saudi Arabia. It’s important to remember that there are many non-Gulf Arabs working in Dubai, and that they are not necessarily as calm or accepting as the natives. Keep an Arab from placing himself in a position where he can be perceived as having “lost his face” in front of his peers. In the event that he is aware of your actions, he will express gratitude to you. Don’t beckon to someone with your finger, as this is regarded very disrespectful in Japanese culture. Arabs may make this gesture to summon a dog, for example. Avoid making loud noises or displaying signs of hostility or inebriation at all times, as such behavior is rarely allowed in Arab culture, and more traditional Arabs may take legal action against you. In Dubai, alcohol is only seldom available on a legal basis (except within hotels and certain high-end restaurants). Do not wander about inquiring where you can get alcohol, and if you are drinking at a hotel, keep your consumption to a minimum. During Ramadan, refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking anywhere where you may be observed by Muslims during daylight hours, and refrain from engaging in any loud behavior or kissing or hugging anybody in public.

Dubai is a Muslim and very religious city, and while western civilisation is generally accepting of all things, when you are in Dubai, you must respect their traditions and beliefs. If you are discovered doing any of the following acts, you may find yourself in legal trouble in Dubai: The public display of affection (holding hands is acceptable), sex outside of marriage, homosexuality (if traveling with a significant other of the same sex, avoid any type of PDA and any sign that you are homosexual to avoid legal trouble), the possession or use of drugs, and having children outside of marriage are all prohibited in the country.

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