Qatar is a booming economy that everyone should visit. Like most Arab nations, the culture of Qatar is closely related to Islamic principles and tenets. While visitors of the country don’t necessarily have to observe the laws of Islam, they should at least know it enough to respect it and understand its values.
Having said that, adjusting to Qatari culture is not as difficult as it is in other Arab nations. That’s because a strong majority of the people living in this country are foreign-born. Local Qataris have learned to become a bit more flexible when it comes to understanding other people’s culture. It’s not as liberated as Abu Dhabi and Dubai though.
These Tips Will Help You Understand Qatar’s Culture
The following are some of the cultural nuances that you have to be aware of when first visiting Qatar.
1. Dressing properly
Women in Qatar are expected to dress decently. Some examples of clothes that aren’t allowed include pants and dresses that end above the knee. The shoulder and midriff should be covered as well. Men, on the other hand, should also obey the principles of decency. Even shorts above the knee aren’t allowed among men, and t-shirts should not be cut off. Dressing up decently becomes even more important during the holy month of Ramadhan.
It is considered acceptable to bargain with shop keepers in Qatar, especially those at souqs. When the shopkeeper tells you what the price is, respond with a much lower price. The shop keeper will counter with a higher price, but work your way up until a desirable price for both parties is achieved.
3. Don’t stare too long
This is true in many places, not just Qatar, but it is worth mentioning that it is rude to stare at people too long. One way you might find yourself doing so is when you begin admiring how beautiful and elegant people’s clothes are, which is quite common in Qatar.
4. On handshakes
In Muslim communities, handshakes are avoided between a man and a woman. So if you find your hand left hanging as you try to shake someone’s hand, don’t be offended. It’s nothing personal; they’re just following a religious rule!
5. Time is slower
After spending some time in Qatar, you will find that time seems to run slower here. What this means is that when doing business, Qatari business people tend to take their time to build stronger relationships between provider and client. This can take the form of longer lunches and longer negotiations.
So there you have it. People from different countries tend to have different cultures. Our goal is always to know these nuances to understand the people better.