Top 7 Iraqi Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Thanh Thao Nguyen 82 0 Error

Should you remove your shoes when visiting friends? Should you greet those on elevators with a smile? When thinking about the dos and don'ts in your own ... read more...

  1. No matter their nationality, Muslims make up the majority of Iraqis. Iraq went from being largely secular to becoming a religious state under Saddam Hussein's tenure. Islam was, in fact, employed as a means of supporting Saddam Hussein's regime. The phrase "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is the Greatest) was added to the Iraqi flag while Saddam was in power.


    Only Sunni Muslims possessed real power under Saddam's rule. But after his government was overthrown, the Shia majority gained more clout and influence. In addition to the change in the balance of power between Sunni and Shia Muslims, the Iraqi people now have more freedom to practice their respective religions. Following the passing of the Prophet Muhammad and the controversy over his successor, the Shia and Sunni divide developed.


    Jurisprudence (i.e., the laws governing prayer, marriage, inheritance, etc.) and minor aspects of faith are where the two approaches diverge most. Islam dictates a way of life and controls political, legal, and social behavior regardless of orientation. It gives moral direction for both society and the individual while organizing daily life. The Quran and the Prophet Muhammad's sayings, or "hadith," are the sources of Islamic law. Foreigners visiting Iraq should be aware of the crucial importance that religion plays in the nation. Islam molds people's attitudes, identities, and behaviors.

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  2. The most typical greeting consists of a handshake, eye contact, and a grin. "Peace be with you" is the usual Arabic/Islamic greeting, to which the reply is "wa alaikum salaam" ("and peace be unto you"). The proper way to meet good friends of the same sex is with a handshake and a kiss on each cheek, beginning with the right.


    Handshakes between men and women are uncommon. It's smart to wait for the other person to extend their hand before you do if you're meeting someone of the opposing sex. If a handshake is not offered, a simple nod of the head and a modest bow will do. You can anticipate being presented to each person separately at a modest social gathering. It's possible to introduce yourself during a big event.


    Iraqi businesses conduct themselves in a formal manner. Asalaamu alaikum (peace be with you) is a frequent greeting in Arabic, to which you should reply "wa alaikum salaam" (and peace be with you). The handshake with direct eye contact is the most typical business greeting. A handshake can last quite a while, so try not to be the first to take it off. Men should be patient and wait till a lady offers her hand. Greeting cards are distributed. The Arabic translation on one side of your card is a lovely touch.

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  3. Gifts play a significant role in culture. Bring a box of cookies, pastries, or a box of chocolates if you are welcomed to a residence in Iraq. Fruit baskets are also welcomed. More and more people are giving flowers to hostesses solely, though.


    When buying gifts for your Iraqi coworkers, keep religion in mind. Avoid alcohol, meat items, and offensive packaging (i.e. containing images of partly dressed people, people drinking alcohol, pigs, dogs, physical intimacy). If a guy must present a lady with a gift, he should claim that it comes from his wife, mother, sister, or another female relative. A simple present for the kids is always appreciated. Gifts are presented using both hands. Gifts are typically not opened right away. Be aware that giving very expensive items can be misinterpreted as bribery.


    Be careful that an Iraqi may feel compelled to offer you the item as a gift if you express admiration for it or complement one of their possessions. Therefore, it is recommended to refrain from making too many remarks on pricey and movable items found in people's homes.

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  4. Iraqis are known for their warm hospitality and like hosting guests in their homes. If you accept a home invitation: When entering your host's home, check to see if you need to take your shoes off. This is true in the majority of Iraqi homes. As a result, when getting ready to leave the house, be sure to wear good socks.


    Be smart and conservative in your attire. The process of forming relationships and creating trust often involves sharing meals. Because of this, avoid talking about business unless your host brings it up. Table manners are generally formal in Iraq.


    Sit cross-legged or hunch over if the meal is being eaten on the floor. Keep your feet off the food mat at all times. For eating and drinking, use your right hand. When you are done eating, it is considered courteous to leave some food on your plate.

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  5. Iraqis typically use indirect language to communicate. A long, circuitous route is typically taken to get to one's point. By doing this, you'll avoid embarrassing or offensive situations and show that you respect the other person in the conversation. The greatest method to get a person to comprehend you is to ask open-ended questions that let them think about the answer for themselves and then give agreeable, accepting answers that don't directly interfere with the speaker's conversation.


    The perception of expressing emotions is undesirable due to the necessity to maintain face and uphold honor. Anger-related displays are strictly prohibited. If you must express criticism, it is usually preferable to do so privately, tactfully, and one-on-one. Never break your word. Do not make a promise or guarantee unless you can keep it.


    Use phrases like "I will do my best," "We will see," or the Arabic phrase "insha-Allah" to express commitment without giving concrete guarantees (God willing). Iraqi businesses aren't scared to pose direct and incisive queries. These could relate to you, your business, or its goals.

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  6. The order of ages must be respected. When an adult enters the room, get up and offer them your seat if there isn't one available. In particular, men are supposed to stand up while greeting women who are carrying infants.
    Avoid sitting in any position where your shoe can be seen by someone else. This is regarded as offensive. The same goes for crossing your legs in front of someone.


    It is polite to kindly object first when someone offers you something or makes a nice gesture toward you (examples: "You shouldn't have," "That's great, but I couldn't"). You can accept the offer if the person continues to demand. Some Iraqis distinguish between the hands' various uses.


    This practice has a connection to Islamic beliefs, which state that washing and removing dirt should be done with the left hand. It shouldn't be utilized for activities like waving, eating, or making an offer. To gesture, touch, or offer something, one should use both hands at once. It may seem too casual to use one hand only, but if you must, use the right.

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  7. Invitations to dine at or attend events in Iraqi homes are frequently extended relatively early on in the relationship process because it is considered an honor to host guests. People may also host gatherings to'show off' their inner circle since they are so proud of their friends or family. Be mindful of this throughout your visit and refrain from saying anything that can be taken as a jab at the generosity of Iraqis, who take great delight in their hospitality.


    Attending social parties or house gatherings in casual attire may be seen as disrespectful to the host. When invited to an Iraqi home, it's usual to bring a gift. It's best to take your shoes off before entering a home. A tour of the house might not be available. Wait for your hosts to tell you where you will be seated.

    In their houses, some Iraqis could recline on cushions. In Iraq, the majority of social visits keep the genders apart. Typically, males socialize in one room while women do so in another. Typically, the female hosts serve food and drinks to the guys before departing and reuniting with the women.


    A cup of tea or coffee will probably be served to you as a refreshment. Accepting this demonstrates that you cherish their friendship and hospitality, which is polite. Never appear eager or impatient to depart. Being impolite by making it seem like you want the visit to stop right away. When the visit is over, prepare for lengthy goodbyes as each person bids each other farewell separately. You might need to kindly request to leave by providing a reason.

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