20 Arabic terms you may hear during Ramadan and Eid
From Asr to Zuhr, there are a number of words and phrases that you may hear during one of the holiest Islamic months. Nafisa Shafiq, Student Communications and Engagement Manager at the University of Leeds, shares some of the most popular terms and reveals their meaning.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It’s also known as Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadhan or Ramathan.
Hilal is the new moon or crescent that confirms the start of a new Islamic month.
Ramadan Mubarak (pronounced “Mu-ba-rack”) is a greeting that means congratulations on the arrival of the holy month. Ramadan Kareem can also be used as a greeting and literally means “Generous Ramadan”. If you want to pass on your best wishes during Eid (the festival of breaking the fast, pronounced “Eed”) use Eid Mubarak, which literally means “have a blessed celebration. When somebody wishes you Eid Mubarak, it is polite to respond by saying Khair Mubarak, to wish goodness on the person who greeted you.
Sawm is the Arabic word for fasting and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Fidya is the compensation for missing a fast.
Kaffara is a penalty when one deliberately breaks his or her fast. Usually, this consists of fasting for 60 continuous days, or if unable to do so, feeding 60 needy persons or donating the equivalent amount to charity.
Suhoor or Sahri is the meal consumed at dawn before the start of the fast.
Iftar or Iftari is the sunset meal to end the day’s fast.
Zakat or alms-giving is one of the pillars of Islam which requires adult Muslims to pay 2.5% of their wealth and assets to the poor or needy.
Zakat Al Fitr (also known as Fitrana) is a special form of charity that Muslims are required to offer before the end of Ramadan.
Salah or prayer is another pillar of Islam.
Fajr is the first prayer is at dawn.
Zuhr is the prayer at noon.
Asr is the mid-afternoon prayer.
Maghrib is the prayer at sunset.
Isha is the nighttime prayer.
Tarawih are special congregational prayers that are held every evening during the month of Ramadan.
Lailatul Qadr, or the Night of Power, is the night that the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Mohammad. The exact date is unknown, but it may fall on any of the odd nights in the last ten days of Ramadan (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, or 29th day of the month of Ramadan).
Itikaaf is the practice of spiritual retreat or isolation that some Muslims carry out during the last ten days of Ramadan.
Taqwa is piety or achieving God-consciousness. It is a state of being where a Muslim strives for spiritual satisfaction.
Find out more about Ramadan at the University of Leeds.