ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Non Muslim Religious Places in the United Arab Emeritus

Updated on December 22, 2019
emge profile image

MG Singh- early retired Air warrior who is PG in management and law.

Guru Nanak Darbar Dubai
Guru Nanak Darbar Dubai
church in Abu Dhabi
church in Abu Dhabi


The United Arab Emeritus is a conglomeration of 9 sheikdoms. They are located on the edge of the Arabian desert and abuts the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The two principal components of the UAE are the states of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The UAE borders the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and also faces Iran across the Persian Gulf. Both countries in their own way are intolerant of other religions. In particular, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia which enforces the Wahabi concept of Islam with its resultant punishment of death by stoning and beheading for assorted crimes.

The UAE is a Muslim state and almost 99% of the inhabitants are Sunni. The law of the land is based on Islamic principles and the Sharia. But here is where the UAE is radically different from its powerful neighbor Saudi Arabia. The UAE by a combination of factors is, in reality, a peaceful place. Credit for this must go to the UAE government and their rulers who have imbibed the best principles of Islam and allowed freedom of worship to inhabitants who may profess the Christian, Hindu or Sikh faith.

Part of this freedom of worship is necessitated by the realization that expatriates form a large part of the population. This is a compelling feature as 80% of the population are expatriates hailing from the sub-continent. At a conservative estimate, 30% of the expatriates are from India.

The Sikh and Hindu Temples

A few years back Sikhs who reside in Dubai approached his Highness the ruler of Dubai for land for a Sikh temple ( gurudwara). He was gracious and allotted land at Jebel Ali about 30 km from the city center. It was a sandy area but soon developed and now also has one of the finest shopping Malls in Dubai, the Ibn Battuta Mall.

The gurudwara came upon this land with donations from the Sikh diaspora from all over the world and the ruler himself graced the opening of the gurudwara. The Sikh temple is one of the best I have seen anywhere and has a 24-hour " langar" or free meal canteen running on a 24-hour basis. However, restriction in design was placed and the gurudwara does not have a traditional look with curvaceous domes as seen in other Sikh gurudwaras. Perhaps this is enforced to make the Sikh temple look more like an ordinary building than a place of worship.

Much earlier to this Sikh temple an old Hindu Shiva -Krishna temple has been in existence in Old Dubai. Located at Bar Dubai this has a Hindu temple on the ground floor and a small Sikh temple on the first floor. it is located in a crowded area and has existed for decades. However again the temple which is located in a small lane is not allowed a traditional look and in a way, the fact that it is a temple is kept hidden. This is perhaps a concession to hardliners in the Muslim community

Narrow lane leading to Shiva temple and gurudwara
Narrow lane leading to Shiva temple and gurudwara
Inside the Hindu temple
Inside the Hindu temple

Christian Worship is Allowed

One can recollect the statement of the chief Mufti of Saudi Arabia, who had called for all places of Christian worship to be razed to the ground. Fortunately, the UAE is a pragmatic and wonderful place and many churches dot the UAE. But the churches in the UAE are not allowed to advertise their existence and exist only for the expatriate Christian population.

A new Roman Catholic church has been built at Jebel Ali in Dubai. It is adjacent to the Sikh temple and both places of worship are frequented by hundreds of devotees every day. These religious places reveal the approach of the UAE government. One can perhaps understand the compulsion of the UAE government in allowing these religious places as the entire economy is dependent on the expatriates.

Last Word

The UAE as already pointed is a peaceful place in the Middle East. This is certainly a surprise as all around there is near anarchy. One wishes the other nations can take a leaf out of the book of the UAE and be tolerant of the population and government are.

The future looks rosy for the Hindus and during the recent visit of Narendra Modi the Indian Prime minister to the UAE, the government and ruler have very graciously allotted land for a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi the capital of UAE. This will be the first temple in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE also allows all Hindu and Sikh festivals to be celebrated like in India and for this, the government of the UAE must be commended. All Hindu festivals like Ganpati immersion are permitted.The UAE also has a Hindu crematorium at Sharjah. One hopes that the winds of change will blow from the UAE to other parts of the Middle East. But one aspect that needs mention is that unlike other places the entire economy of the UAE is dependent on men from the sub-continent and that has its own compulsion. The rulers have placated the vast majority of these workers by allowing them to worship and cremate their dead as well. It could be the politics of compulsion.

Is the UAE government tolerant to other religious minorities like Sikhs, Hindus and Christians

See results

Latest developments

The UAE has now moved one step ahead. During the last visit of Narendra Modi, the government of Abu Dhabi has allotted land for a Hindu temple. There were only makeshift temples in private houses but with the allotment of land, a proper Hindu temple will be built. This again shows that the UAE despite being governed by the Sharia is also a secular place.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)