The article is not just about the fact that the main religion in Qatar is Islam. The article is primarily for tourists who are planning to visit here. There will be facts and interesting information that somehow relate to religion. They will help you better prepare for your trip and possibly avoid some unexpected moments.
It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Qatar without these websites
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Religion in Qatar: General Information
The article is primarily for non-Muslims, such as ourselves. There will be many basic points that are not immediately obvious.
- The official religion in Qatar is Islam, with two main branches: Sunni and Shia.
It is difficult for an uninitiated person to distinguish between Sunni and Shia. The main difference is that the former recognize only the Prophet Muhammad, while the latter hold his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, in equivalent regard.
- Islam in Qatar is considered radical, but the word “radical” is used in the context of “radical self-attitude and strict adherence to everything that is written in the Quran.” Radical attitudes are not expressed towards tourists in Qatar.
There is a lot of conflicting information on the number of Muslims in Qatar on the internet. In fact, even official sources give figures with a colossal discrepancy. The complexity lies in the counting method, which depends on how you count:
- The population of Qatar is about 2.6 million people. However, there are many migrant workers and other specialists among them who work in all spheres.
- According to official data, native residents of Qatar make up only 13% of the country’s total population. And they (native residents) are all Muslims by 99%.
- But even migrant workers are mostly from Asian countries, among whom there are also many Muslims.
- The more realistic figures are that around 80% of the population in the country follows Islam today. Hinduism is second (about 10%), as there are many migrants from India and Sri Lanka in Qatar. And the remaining 10% follow other religions in Qatar.
Interesting fact:Teaching Islam is mandatory in all state educational institutions. This subject is included in the program even in the early grades of school.
I also recommend reading an article about the people in Qatar to learn about how locals treat tourists, whether they are punctual, and what peculiarities exist.
Features of Religion in Qatar for Tourists
And now, here are the religious features that you will definitely encounter in Qatar:
- There are many mosques in Doha and throughout the country.
- The call to prayer is heard five times a day from all mosques’ minarets.
- This five-times-a-day prayer is called namaz or salah. There is an app for your phone that will tell you the exact times for namaz.
Important note:The first prayer of the day is before sunrise, around 5 a.m. No matter where you are, you will hear this prayer from the minarets. The second prayer is at sunrise. Just when you think you can sleep in, around 7 a.m. another prayer is called. The prayers throughout the day are inconspicuous. The last prayer of the day is immediately after sunset.
If possible, always check where the nearest mosque is to your hotel. The closer, the better 🙂 I have a good attitude towards Islam, but waking up at 5 a.m. every day is beyond my abilities.
Regarding time in Qatar: I will not only tell you about the time zone, but also about store hours, and you will find out about the metro’s hours of operation starting at 2 p.m. 🙂
Prayer should always be performed facing Mecca, the holy city of the entire Muslim world. It is located in Saudi Arabia. Wherever you are in the world, the direction towards Mecca is called the Qiblah. Look for a sticker on the ceiling of your hotel room; it will show the correct direction for Salah.
- I don’t think I need to tell you that pork and alcohol are prohibited in Qatar. More details on this can be found in the article “Prohibitions in Qatar or what tourists cannot find in the country.”
- Remember that Friday is a day off in the Muslim world. On this day, some establishments do not work, while others operate in a reduced mode. Always check in advance the hours of operation of the establishments that interest you.
Religious Landmarks in Qatar
Here is a small list of the main religious places and objects that are interesting for tourists.
- The Al Shouyoukh Mosque is located right next to the Palace of the Emir of Qatar: 25.28923454189482, 51.52847083911433
- The Al Fanar Mosque, also known as the Spiral Mosque, can be found at 25.289019161647357, 51.53569099678823 (a photo of this mosque was featured earlier in the article).
- The Museum of Islamic Art is located at 25.29548755379876, 51.539455565593194. This new and impressive museum is situated in a beautiful park (MIA park) with a view of the new Doha. MIA park is one of the main tourist attractions in Doha, with several other cool sights in addition to the Museum of Islamic Art. I highly recommend it.
In fact, there are a dozen more mosques that may be of interest to tourists. But above are the three main religious landmarks in Qatar.
The main tip I will give, and one that you can influence, is to choose your hotel carefully. Try to avoid being right across the street from a mosque. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to completely isolate yourself from morning prayers, but you can try. And this applies to tourists who plan to stay in the city center.
If you are buying a tour package and your hotel is located in elite areas such as Lusail or the Pearl Island, then there are fewer mosques there. Almost none, in fact.
- Dress conservatively for walking around the city.
- Remember, it is forbidden to wear bikini swimwear on public beaches, but it is allowed on hotel beaches where package tourists relax.
In conclusion, despite the fact that religion in Qatar is radical Islam, no one will beat you with sticks or throw stones at you for eating after sunrise during Ramadan. Yes, there are some inconveniences and restrictions for tourists, such as no pork in local cuisine, no alcohol, and the morning prayer at 5 a.m. interrupts sleep. But this is the local culture, which should be respected. And there are many more benefits to vacationing in Qatar.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Qatar
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental: Discovery Cars (cheaper – only by bus)
- Hotels and apartments in Doha: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card with internet in Montenegro