Culture of UAE: Language, Religion & History

Discovering the diverse cultural aspects of the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (or simply UAE) is the common abbreviation for a federation of seven Arab states. Located between the borders of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, this country also has borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman. There are little over 10 million people living in the country.

Only around 1.4 million individuals were born and raised in the United Arab Emirates; the remaining 84 percent are foreign workers or visitors. The country has adopted Standard Arabic as its official language and Islam as its official religion.

You need to educate yourself about every country’s cultural aspects if you’re planning on a trip or moving to that country. We are here to tell you about different cultural aspects of the United Arab Emirates, including its language, history, and religion. Let’s take a look at UAE’s rich culture, shall we?

Most popular languages spoken in the UAE

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you’ll hear a wide range of Arabic dialects spoken. Government agencies and official papers are written and communicated in Modern Standard Arabic. Books, journals, and periodicals all make use of it as well. Complex Classical Arabic served as a foundation for this language.

UAE's Flag
UAE’s Flag

Gulf Arabic is the other major Arabic dialect spoken in the United Arab Emirates. Nearby Gulf States such as Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia all make frequent use of Gulf Arabic as their official language.

The United Arab Emirates is home to a number of different Arabic dialects, one of which is Shihhi Arabic. However, it is spoken by a sizable population in Oman, which is geographically close by. Citizenship in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) requires foreigners to demonstrate proficiency in Arabic.

The United Arab Emirates is a country that was formerly a British colony up until 1971. As a result, English has been widely spoken throughout the area. The primary setting where the language is utilized is in the classroom, where it is being taught to students as a foreign language.

Most hotels, restaurants, and other service providers also cater to customers who speak English. Since there is such a sizable expatriate population in the UAE, English has surpassed Arabic as the country’s official national language (mostly in businesses).

United Arab Emirates (or simply UAE)
United Arab Emirates (or simply UAE)

Minority languages spoken in the United Arab Emirates

The population of the United Arab Emirates is quite varied. Due to its diverse immigrant population, the country has a rich linguistic heritage. As a result of its many diverse spoken languages, the country has become a popular tourist destination. The country’s variety of spoken languages also makes it appealing to international investors.

The small Iranian diaspora in the United Arab Emirates speaks Persian (sometimes spelled Farsi), a language classified as an endangered language. Due to its closeness to Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) claims that Iranians were among its first immigration groups. More than 5% of the population of the United Arab Emirates are Iranians. Nearly 8,000 Iranian-owned enterprises are located in Dubai, where the majority of Iranians call home.

The United Arab Emirates also has speakers of Hindi, a language of India. Nearly a third of the United Arab Emirates population are Indian immigrants, and they speak it fluently. Indian schools, which are often funded by well-off emigrants from India, provide instruction in Hindi. The Indian population in the UAE particularly enjoys living in Dubai.

The History of the UAE

The seven emirates that make up the UAE are really independent countries. Abu Dhabi, the northernmost and biggest emirate, extends along the Persian Gulf. The other six emirates may be found on the peninsula that divides the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman. Ajman, Al-Shariqah, Umm al-Qaywayn, Ras al-Khaymah, and Al-Fujayrah follow Dubai as the next-largest emirates.

The History of the UAE
The History of the UAE

There were many different tribes and kingdoms in the area until 1971 when they all joined the Arab League. During the 18th century, the Al-Qawasim tribe was the most influential in the region. It established a vast commercial network in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, where it frequently preyed on passing ships.

After attacking and defeating the Al-Qawasim in 1819, the British Navy demonstrated its dominance over the whole kingdom, which became known as the Trucial States.

The Emirates’ standard of living increased by a factor of 10 after oil was discovered there in 1958. After the British withdrew in 1971, the government utilized the proceeds from oil sales to repair infrastructure and attract tourists.

The United Arab Emirates has been a reliable partner ever since it became a UN member state, first aiding Kuwait with soldiers and supplies in the 1990s and then aiding Bahrain and Oman with the same.

United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates

The religion of the UAE

Sunnis make up the vast majority of the UAE’s Muslim population. Shi’a Muslims make up the bulk of the surviving Muslim population. There is also evidence of Sufi influence throughout the country. Oman is a major source country for Ibadi Muslims. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sharia courts hold substantial sway.

Those who commit crimes against Islamic values, such as adultery, alcohol usage, and others, are punished severely. Personal affairs such as marriage and divorce are also governed by Sharia law.

Both Muslim and non-Muslim residents of the Emirates are subject to the law’s stringent enforcement. In this country, apostasy carries the death penalty. Homosexuality is illegal there as well.

Most of these regulations are directed at the Muslim population of the UAE, although visitors are expected to uphold them anyway. If you kiss in public, you might be deported! Dancing in public is prohibited! During the Ramadan months, all visitors are required to abstain from drinking and eating between dawn and sunset.

Although you may do these things in your personal space but it is forbidden to do so in public.

The religion of the UAE
The religion of the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to a sizeable population of both Catholics and Protestants. The area is home to 33 different churches. Many Christians in the United Arab Emirates have Asian ancestry. During Dubai’s formative years, Hindu businesspeople from India played an important influence.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recognizes Islam as the official religion but allows for the practice of other faiths. However, non-Muslims are not permitted to meddle with the religious practices and legislation that are exclusive to the country’s Muslim population.

It is illegal to utilize the media to educate people about religions other than Islam in the nation. Muslims who live there are expected to follow the Islamic faith and culture to the letter. Criminal penalties exist for Muslims who convert to other faiths.


Although there are many aspects to every culture, we’ve chosen three of its most important ones and talked about UAE’s language, history, and religion. Share your thoughts on this article with us through our social media accounts.

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