All Qatari citizens are considered Muslim and Sharia Law is observed in everyday life as well as forming the foundation for country's justice system. Qatar's culture is fascinating synergy of ancient Arabian heritage and Islamic tradition. Islam influences day-to-day living, from the clothes muslim wear to what they eat and drink.
The official language in Qatar is Arabic. It is used by locals and relatively large Arab community residing here. The arabic dialect used in Qatar is commonly dubbed "Khalleji" in reference to the Gulf or Al Khaleej. English is widely spoken in Qatar, and most road signs are written in both English and Arabic.
For most Qatari's, Islam is more than just a religion, It is a way of life. Qataris in General are conservative and most practice their religion. The holy book of Islam is the Quran. Islam requires to believers to pray (facing Mecca) five times a day: fajr ( at sunrise) , dhuhr ( at noon), asr (mid afternoon), maghrib (at sunset) , and isha( at nightfall). Locals and residents pray at home, at work or at a mosque. Praying must be preceded by ritual cleansing, so washing facilities can be found in buildings and public places. Friday is the holy day of the week.
Few Cultural Do's and Don'ts that you should be aware of to avoid causing offence to others.
Not a reference to the latest handheld gadget but to public displays of affection: These are not looked on favourably in the region, and anything more than an innocent peck on the cheek will at best earn you disapproving looks from passersby.
While Beachwear is fine on the beach, you should dress more conservatively when out and about in public places. If in doubt, ensuring that your shoulders and knees are covered is a safe bet.
Normal tourist photography is fine, but like anywhere in the Arab world, it is corteous to ask permission before photographing a people, particularly women. In general, photographs of government and military buildings should not be taken.
It's likely that you'll be served traditional Arabic coffee(gahwa) during formal business meetings. This is an important social ritual in the middle east so be polite and drink some when offered. Cups should be taken in the right hand and if there is a waiter standing by, replenishing your cup, the signal to say that you have had enough is to gently shake the cup from side to side.
Long handshakes, kisses and warm greetings are common when meeting people in the Middle East. It's normal to shake hands with people when you are introduced to them, although if you are meeting someone of the opposite sex, be aware that a handshake may not always be welcome.
Out On the Town
Alcohol is available in hotel bars, pubs and clubs, but remember, however, that you're in a Muslim country and drunken or lewd behaviour is not only disrespectful but can lead to arrest and detention.
Business meetings in the region will usually start with introductions and small talk before you get down to business. Business cards will be exchanged - you should treat them with respect as an extension of the person who gave them. The punctuality to meetings is important and arriving late is considered to be very bad mannered.