History and Culture

History of the U.A.E.




History of the U.A.E.

The story of the U.A.E. is both rich and colorful starting from the early history of the region and the people, the radical changes resulting from the discovery of oil, and the current profile of this exciting, rapidly changing country.


The culture and traditions of the U.A.E. are firmly grounded in the Islamic heritage of the Arab region. Islam believes that there is only one God and that Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) is his messenger. The word "islam" means submission and refers to submission to God's will. It comes from the same root as the word for peace.

Islam refers to the religion; Muslim refers to those who practice the religion.

The Holy Qur'an (the book of Islam; "recitation") was revealed to the Prophet during a period of twenty-three years from 609 to 632, the year of his death.   

There are five pillars of Islam which all Muslims must follow:

  • Faith - Belief in the Oneness of God and the Messenger-ship of Muhammad

  • Prayer - To observe the daily prayers regularly

  • Charity - To pay the religious tax which is known as alms

  • Fasting - To keep the fast of the Holy Month of Ramadan

  • Pilgrimage (Haj) - To make a pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca at least once in one's lifetime

Islam is a faith of positive action and a way of living as well as a belief system.  Religion is an integral part of daily life for Muslims. 

The Islamic holy day is Friday.

Muslims are required to pray five times daily, facing Mecca. The regular call to prayer can be heard through loudspeakers on the top of the minarets of mosques throughout the communities.  People may pray at a mosque, but you will also see people at prayer in other locations or even at the side of the road.  It is courteous not to stare and to walk politely around their prayer rugs. You must not walk directly in front of a praying person.

While the U.A.E. is a Muslim country, they are very tolerant of other religions and a diverse range of churches and places of worship can be found. 


Ramadan is the month where Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Holy Qur'an.

During Ramadan (the exact dates move forward by approximately eleven days each year), Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. In the evening at sundown, the fast is broken with "iftar" (literally "break fast"). Some restaurants are closed during the day, however some continue to operate with take-away or delivery service. During this month, some office hours are reduced.


Arabic is the official language of the U.A.E. English, Urdu and Hindi are widely spoken. Arabic is the official language of government and business (official documents are often in Arabic). However, English is predominantly spoken and used. You can function extremely well in the U.A.E. without learning a word of Arabic, although learning common greetings and phrases will be received with warmth. There are numerous language training programs and institutes to choose from.