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Things you must not do in Muslim countries



Muslim Country

Globalization is prevalent in this era. Gone is the time when people would restrict themselves or their business to their own country. Now they believe in expanding it worldwide. Thus they need to travel. Business is not the only reason to travel; planning vacations abroad has also become a trend everywhere. People from all communities have their own reasons to visit Muslim countries. After all apart from business there is vast amount of history to explore, traditional culture, art, food, beautiful beaches, different landscapes, and undoubtedly hospitality & warmth of its natives.

No one would like to get into trouble hence it is advisable to go through “not to do list” of the place you are planning to travel. These regulations vary from one nation to another. Touring without knowledge of “regulations for tourists” can cost you a big deal sometimes. It is a must follow suit in case if you are planning to travel a Muslim country. Some of Islamic countries are quite conservative & have very strict regulations for females of their own nation. Hence tourists at such destinations are also expected to understand the culture & abide by the regulations meant for them to have a nice experience overall.

Breaking stereotypes, we need to understand & respect their culture before we visit their land. One can have the terrific experience by just following certain regulations. On the other hand ignoring them can put you in unexpected troubles. Many Islamic countries have become popular amongst tourists as hub of shopping, their cuisines, culture etc. People from throughout the world are travelling to have all in one, which very clearly tells that Muslim countries welcome their guests. A fair ratio of Muslim countries population is expatriate, living there for work purpose.

Some nations have strict set of rules whereas the others have fluidity in their regulations to accommodate tourists. Here are some guidelines to make your stay safe & comfortable in these countries.

Dressing Style
In many Muslim conservative countries like Iran, Oman, Jordon, Saudi Arabia etc., it is mandate for native women to dress up in a modest & conventional way when they are out at public places. It actually means wearing sufficient attires to cover at least half of your arms, shoulders, breast, and legs or in other terms clothing with least visible flesh. Native women at such places generally keep themselves covered from head to feet wearing “Abaya” a long robe. At other countries which are accepting more liberal ways of living allow their women to wear a little more comfortable attires like in Turkey.

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While visiting any Mosque, it is advisable to dress up decently, keep a scarf always handy, in case you might be asked to keep your head covered. If females are not allowed to enter without their whole body covered, mosque sometimes may provide them with Abaya.

Actually there are not any defined or carved on stone set of rules for expats & tourists. For men it is more or less same they wear in their own country. At places like Morocco along with females, males are also supposed to cover their knees & shoulders. Females can choose smart dresses to look trendy and simultaneously not hurting the feelings of Muslim religion. They can opt for full length dresses much in trend, which are airy & comfortable along with keeping them covered.
A little research is always mandate for the particular country before you pack your bags for. Like skin tights are not allowed at many places, actually considering the hot weather of these places, one should actually not opt for them.

To avoid unwanted attention & have the respect for you, in the eyes of its natives, it is very important to avoid indecent exposure in conservative countries.

Social Mixing

Each Muslim country’s behavioral code of conduct varies. If some countries have conservative approach the others are getting liberal in their lifestyles.
Kissing at public places is not at all advisable. It can lead to prosecution against you in the form of fine or could throw you behind the bars for months. These countries are generally male dominating where a female is not even expected to first extend her hand to shake with a male at times.

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Sex before marriage is a punishable offence. It could be even up to six years. Couples have been prosecuted for getting involved in their cars at public places. We can easily find ample of such cases where couples had to undergo long legal formalities. One can easily find such details on a little research.
It is always better to adapt ourselves as soon as we enter any Muslim country according to their code of conduct.

Alcohol is prohibited in Islam. Liberty to have alcohol in hotels, only indoors, out in any restaurant varies in different Islamic nations. It may be allowed only at licensed venues only. It is advised if any hotel is not serving it, its always better not to ask for it. Some Islamic countries have amazing night life whereas a few more are also adapting as per the demands of tourists.

Pork (pig meat) or Pork products are forbidden in Muslim countries. It is even illegal to import or sell it.
They believe in consuming halal food, which involves a particular process from the very beginning in its preparation.

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Eating with your left hand is not considered good. They have their own religious reasons behind it. If you are visiting during Ramadan, you are not supposed to eat or drink publically. All Muslims fast in Ramadan. City life is entirely different in these days. Fasting periods follows from sunrise to sunset. Muslims break their fast at sunset & take “Iftar” in community. It is an overwhelming experience with scrumptious food served to all near & dear ones together.

Islamic countries having very strict rules for women, either don’t allow their women in bikinis or they have women-only pools. This prohibition or liberty also varies from nation to nation. In some countries shorts, bikinis are restricted to beach area only. Being a tourist or expat one should act according to their surroundings. If you do not see women in bikinis, do not dare to take bold steps. Keep yourself covered.

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There are many big scale industries like petroleum, construction, food, textile etc. Hence there are many foreign residents. Apart from this people from all over the world love to travel these countries. Arabic is the language of Qur’an. MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) is commonly understood as well as spoken by most of the Muslims. English, Pashto, Urdu and even Hindi are also used in some Muslim countries.

If Islamic laws & regulations have been considered strict by many in the world, there are some individuals who believe them as the best way to incorporate zero crime in their nation. Still, certain points we better not to forget while visiting these countries are:

• Never dare to stare a woman.
• Never ever make fun of their rules, even if you do not believe in them.
• Do not try to judge any native or impose your thoughts on them.
• Importing Pork or its products is illegal.
• Be careful while clicking photographs of females & children. Take their permission first.
• Kissing, Adultery, Sex before marriage are major offence.
• Sometimes you may not be given an easy access to legal help hence an emergency help number and a copy of your passport should be in “always carry” list.
• Women should avoid travelling alone to Islamic countries. It is advisable either to travel with any blood relative or in a group.

Such restrictions never mean at all that people here are rude, harsh or are always ready with an eagle eye to catch any prey. My overall experience in Dubai was awesome. People were polite & always ready to help you whether it was hotel staff, Safari people or even a common man on road. In my country when someone is in a Luxurious car, thinks as if “sadak uske baap ki hai” or they own the road. In Dubai, whenever I had to cross the road, people used to stop their posh cars long ahead of us & waived us to cross safely. It was amazing, every time I felt honoured & safe. Nevertheless it is advisable to research behavioural code of conduct or the way we should interact with natives of the place we are visiting.


By : Ashima Munjal

(Ashima Munjal can be contacted on [email protected])

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Best ways to decorate your space with plants



Home decoration plants

New Delhi, Jan 17: Plants look just adorable and keeping them indoors not only brings life to the entire place but they also improve the air quality by reducing toxins existing in the atmosphere so make sure you are decorating your abode with plants nicely.

Myna Batavia, Founder of Green Carpet, and Preeti Narula, Founder of Living Balconies, list down ways to decorate your house with plants.

* Your living room is the best place to be decorated with a lot of greenery. Potted plants are the best choice to be kept in the living room. These pots are available in different sizes and colours to suit your requirements. Ensure that they are visible over the furniture kept in the living room.

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* The dining area should be graced with plants such as money plants, bamboo plants, and ferns in glass bottles and vases.

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* Embellish your bedroom with indoor plants such as Sansevieria which increases oxygen levels at night to have a sound sleep. You can keep small potted plants on bedside tables on either side of the bed.

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* In the open space or balconies, install a shelf or hanging flower boxes along the railings to make it look attractive from outside. Also planter in sync with wall colours and embellishing the place with animal artefacts will increase the beauty quotient of these areas.

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* Also just to fill in the empty area of your apartment, you can try keeping big plants in colourful pots.

* Decorate your living space with indoor plants as they make any area feel bright, lively, calm and beautiful.

* Place your plants on shelves or wooden pallets to create a mini indoor garden

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* One can also hang indoor plants like Chinese money plant, Staghorn ferns, snake plants and weeping fig in the balcony.

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* Use your old crockery set for planting to decorate your kitchen, living room, and even bathrooms.

* Make your own terrarium with succulents to create a decorative piece in your kid’s room or dining table.


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Writing a to-do list will help you sleep faster at night




New York, Jan 15: Unable to sleep at night? Try writing a “to-do” list at bedtime as it may aid in falling asleep, a new study suggests.

“Most people just cycle through their to-do lists in their heads, and so we wanted to explore whether the act of writing them down could counteract night time difficulties with falling asleep,” said lead author of the study Michael K. Scullin from Baylor University, in the US.

The study compared sleep patterns of participants who took five minutes to write down upcoming duties versus participants who chronicled completed activities.

“There are two schools of thought about this. One is that writing about the future would lead to increased worry about unfinished tasks and delay sleep, while journaling about completed activities should not trigger worry,” Scullin said.

“The alternative hypothesis is that writing a to-do list will ‘off-load’ those thoughts and reduce worry,” he added.

For the study, published in Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers monitored electrical brain activity using electrodes on a group of healthy young adults.

They completed a writing assignment for five minutes prior to overnight polysomnography recording in a controlled sleep laboratory.

They were randomly assigned to write about tasks that they needed to remember to complete the next few days (to-do list) or about tasks they had completed the previous few days (completed list).

Participants in the to-do list condition fell asleep significantly faster than those in the completed-list condition.

The more specifically participants wrote their to-do list, the faster they subsequently fell asleep, whereas the opposite trend was observed when participants wrote about completed activities.

Therefore, to facilitate falling asleep, individuals may derive benefit from writing a very specific to-do list for five minutes at bedtime rather than journaling about completed activities, the researchers noted.


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Gardening can make old people stay more healthy




Germany, Jan 12: Indulging in gardening may not only keep older adults active but also boost their health and mental well-being, finds a study.

The findings showed that older women who spend more than three hours on household chores a day and got less or more than seven hours of sleep a night, were less likely to be in good health.

However, the researchers found that the similar criteria had no effect on the health of elderly men.

It is because older women spent more time doing repititive housework like cleaning and cooking, while men spent time in gardening and maintenance work, which is mentally very stimulating, the Daily Mail reported.

“The difference in the sexes’ health is probably to do with the type of housework women tend to do, which is a lot more repetitive and routine work, like cleaning and cooking. While this probably has some limited health benefits, it is not very physically active, is not really exercise and is not very stimulating mentally, which relates to physical health,” Nicholas Adjei, researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Germany, was quoted as saying by the paper.

“Men did much more active household chores, such as gardening and maintenance. The physical exertion is good for the health, with gardening involving digging, mowing and carrying soil. We think gardening and fixing things may also be more enjoyable than cleaning,” Adjei added.

For the study, researchers looked at more than 36,000 pensioners, who reported about their daily activities and general health. Healthiness was calculated based on participants’ answers to a questionnaire, in which they rated their health on a five-point scale from “poor” to “very good”.

The results showed that even taking away sleep, which can impact people’s health, men appear healthier when doing jobs around the house.


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