Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Spending Ramadhan in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for me is better than in my own country, Indonesia. While it is true that when I fast in Indonesia, I get to spend time with my big family, break my fast with my favourite foods and even visit my friends and relatives, spending Ramadhan in Jeddah is very special. This is despite the fact that the weather in Jeddah is really hot, reaching 42 to 50 degree Celsius in the summer time (June – August). Everyone, both Muslims and non-Muslims, respects the Holy month. All cafes and restaurants are closed during the day. They will open from Maghrib, when Muslims are allowed to break their fast, until Sahoor, before the Subuh prayer time.
When I first came to Jeddah, I found it strange that the Saudis usually invite their friends and family over to their homes not during the break time (Maghrib) but during the Sahoor time. In Indonesia, our gatherings during Ramadhan are held more commonly during Maghrib when families and friends enjoy breaking their fast together.
The office schedule is also adjusted. Usually, companies will start late (around 9 to 10 a.m) and finish early (3 to 4 p.m). The reasons are to give every Muslim enough rest after waking up early for Sahoor and to give them the opportunity to read the Quran or perform other sunnah to get as much reward from Allah SWT as they can during this blessed month.