Undoubtedly, spending the full month of Ramadan or at least part of it in the blessed cities of Makkah and Madinah is any Muslims dream. Apart from during the period of Hajj, it is during the month of Ramadan that you will see huge number of Muslims in the two Holy cities.
For those who are able to perform Umrah in Ramadan and spend quality time in I'tikaf in the Masaajid there, especially during the last ten days, the spiritual experience will be comparable to none.
Imagine praying right in front of the Ka'bah and breaking fast with multitude of people from all over the world sitting in the blessed Masaajid! It is definitely easy to make the best of the month of Ramadan in Makkah and Madinah.
As the saying goes, "Home is where the heart is". Being at home is one of the most comfortable ways to spend Ramadan. Having home-cooked meals for iftar with your family is truly a blessing by itself. The choice to go to any Masjid (Mosque) within reach of home is great as well. Being at home gives you more time to perform good deeds and engage yourself in prayer and Qur'an. It also provides you the luxury of spending each day with your family and the relatives.
Muslim Travelers would feel at home in Kuala Lumpur during the month of Ramadan with plenty of Halal friendly facilities around. Kuala Lumpur has an abundance of Mosque's, including Masjid Jamek and the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque. A few Mosques may even have programs in English or Arabic after Taraweeh Salaath
Most of KL's Halal Restaurants open before Fajr during Ramadan so that Muslims are provided with Suhoor. During the day until Iftar time, most restaurants will be closed. Most Hotels will have Ramadhan Buffets and will accommodate the needs of Muslim Travelers during the month.
Istanbul is the largest and most populous city of Turkey. Spending Ramadan in Istanbul will truly be a joy for a Muslim Traveler. In Istanbul, Ramadan is a celebration, and the city will portray it as well! Strings of colored lights and festoon trees take over the city, lighting it up beautifully. Mosques will be full of worshippers and booths will be set up all around selling Islamic books, traditional snacks and items for children. Muslim travelers will also not fail to wake up for Suhoor, as drummers circulate through some parts of the city to wake sleepers for Suhoor. Halal places for iftar are all around. There are many beautiful mosques in Istanbul, the main being The Blue Mosque and the Suleymaniye Mosque.
Spending Ramadan in Cairo is interesting for those who like to experience a truly unique Egyptian culture. While in Cairo, you will experience the life of a typical Egyptian and get closer to the local culture. Like other Muslim countries, Cairo has a festive atmosphere with its narrow alley ways lit with lanterns and lights. The markets are especially alive during this area, and the most popular Souk is the ‘Khan el Khalili.' One of the unique traditions of Cairo is the ‘Fanous Ramadan,' or the ‘Ramadan Lantern.' The lanterns are lit at sunset to indicate the end of fasting and are turned off at sunrise for the start of fasting. Ramadan will be enjoyable here as there are many Halal friendly facilities available. It also a great place for those who wish to gain Islamic knowledge in the great centers of learning there.
Fez is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco and has three separate parts: Fez el Bali (Old Fez), Fez-Jdid (New Fez), and the Ville Nouvelle (latest section of Fez). The medieval beauty of Fez will catch any traveler's eye. The city of Fez's atmosphere will make you feel as if you have traveled back in time. The beautiful architecture of the various Masaajid and Madaaris will inspire you to make the best of this Ramadan. Being primarily a Muslim area, there will be no trouble finding Halal restaurants in Fez.
When staying in Old Fez you might be woken up by the man who goes around knocking on doors reminding people to get up and eat for Suhoor. After Iftar the streets will be full of people and the funfairs and markets will be open. During the last few days of the month is when you will experience the many festivities of Ramadan. There are also opportunities of increasing ones knowledge at the Kairaouine Mosque and Library which has been the center for Islamic learning for over a thousand years.
Jakarta is Indonesia's capital and largest city. Being a predominantly Muslim city, travelers who spend Ramadan here are bound to feel comfortable. Restaurants are open for Suhoor and Iftar offering Ramadhan Buffets, and many of the Hotels provide the same. In Indonesia, Ramadan is also a time to embark on a culinary journey, during the whole month there are many stalls outside selling all types of food. In Bendungan Hilir, more than 83 stalls participate in the food fair during Ramadan. There are many Mosques in the area including the largest Mosque in South East Asia, the Istiqlal Mosque.
Amman is the capital of Jordan and its largest city. Amman is a great place to spend a traditional Ramadan. The city is lit up with festivities and the Msaharati, a man who goes around town waking people up for Suhoor, will make sure you are ready to start your day. The athan (call to prayer) can be heard all around the city. During the day, most shops and places are closed, but after iftar the city comes alive. Shops, businesses and restaurants all will be open, some even past midnight! Most of the locals in Amman continue to dine from Isha to Fajr. There are many festivities all around especially during the last ten days of Ramadan.
Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the UAE. Ramadan in Dubai is luxurious for a Muslim traveler for its abundance in almost everything! There are over 200 Masaajid in Dubai, the main ones being the Jumeirah Masjid and the Grand Masjid. Dubai hosts special events and lectures during the time of Ramadan, so Muslims will find it easier to increase their knowledge. Dubai has no shortage of Halal Restaurants. During Ramadan, Dubai is beautifully decorated and excites you for the upcoming month.
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Sarajevo has a large Muslim population and Ramadan Is celebrated in the highest regard with a beauty of its own. The recitation of the Quran can be heard right before Suhoor, and the city is crowded with those gathered for Suhoor. The luminous minarets all around the city brighten up the city along with the decorated shops and buildings. The mosques all light up at Iftar time and the call of prayer can be heard everywhere. After sunset restaurants are filled with people and wishes of, "May Allah accept your fast" are spread all around, whether you know each other or not. The livelihood of Ramadan lasts all night even after taraweeh prayers. Sweet shops and cafes are filled until dawn. Sarajevo has also set a unique tradition.
During Ramadan, every day when it is time to break fast, a canon is fired from an emplacement overlooking the city. Ramadan would be enjoyable in Sarajevo especially for its beautiful scenery, at dusk you can find beautiful views of the sunset.
Where will you be spending your Ramadan this year?