Al Ruwais, also spelled Ar Ru'ays is a port town and district in the municipality of Al Shamal. The name of this district literally translates to "small head" because of the way the town juts out into the sea slightly more than the surrounding land. It is the northernmost town on the Qatari mainland and located at a distance of approximately 100 kilometres from Doha. There is an uninhabited island just off Al Ruwais called Ras Rakan.
Al Ruwais is the largest inhabited town in the municipality of Al Shamal and home to the oldest surviving mosque in Qatar, originally built in the 17th century (though reconstructed in the 1940s), and is a popular birdwatching spot. The Al Shamal Corniche boasts a 2.5-kilometre-long promenade and the Al Shamal Park are great facilities for the residents of Al Ruwais. It is rare to find homes to rent in Al Ruwais as the properties are mainly occupied by local residents.
Before the country's economic landscape was transformed due to oil extraction, Al Ruwais was one of the most important fishing centres on the peninsula. Even today, Al Ruwais Port is a small commercial port and is the second-most important port in Qatar, mainly handling vessels bringing general cargo, live-stock and perishable goods. Apart from contributing to the revival of economic activity in the northern regions of Qatar, the port also supports the flow of goods to the mainland and together with the Al Mina market situated next to it, together they form a trading hub for goods from neighbouring countries.