Common Ramadan Arabic Words and Phrases
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Ramadan refers to the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar or "Hegira", and commemorates the revelation of the wholly book of Quran. Linguistically, it has developed to include the meaning of observing fast or the fasting month for Muslims. Ramadan in Arabic language also refers to the fourth pillar of Islam, along prayer, "zakat" (religious obligatory income tax for charity), and pilgrimage to Mecca (Islam's holiest sight). Fasting is considered an opportunity to exercise self control, practice more charity and feel the hunger of the poor, as well as devote one's self to God through intense praying (salat and doaa) and self-reflection.
During Ramadan, muslims abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. Families usually wake up before sunrise to have a meal called "sohour", followed by prayers. Fasting ends with sunset and a meal called "iftar". Nightly prayers or "taraweeh" are a common tradition during Ramadan. The Iftar meal or breakfast is also a time that families, relatives, friends and even communities gather around to share food and pray together.
Festive seasons are also a great opportunity to learn more about a foreign language and other cultures. Let's go through some of the basic and most common Arabic words and phrases used during Ramadan, and get to know a bit more about Arabic culture:
Ramadan Kareem: Wishing you a generous Ramadan
Ramadan Mubarak: Wishing you a blessed Ramadan
Sawman Makboulan Wa Iftaran Shahiyyan: Acceptable fasting and a scrumptious breakfast
Anaa saa’im: I am fasting.
Anta saa'im (male)/ saa'ima (female)/ Antom saa'imoon (group)?: Are you fasting?
Salat: Prayer; a pillar of Islam; to be performed five times a day, at dawn, midday, late afternoon, just after sunset, and between sunset and midnight.
Tarawih: Special congregational prayers during Ramadan evenings
Doaa: Prayer of supplication or request
Zakat: Religious obligatory income tax for charity; a pillar of Islam; usually at 2.5%; more prominent during Ramadan
Imsak: Withholding from food and drink before sunrise (the act rather than the time)
Suhour: Morning meal before sunrise and the start of the fasting
Iftar: The evening meal that breaks the fast after sunset
Tamr: Ripened dates, a stable of Iftar tables
Jallab: Popular Ramadan Middle Eastern fruit syrup drink, made from carob, dates, grape molasses and rose water.
Kallaj: Popular Ramadan Middle Eastern dessert, typically only made and sold during Ramadan. It consists of a pastry dough filled with Ashta or (clotted cream and rose water).
Qatayef: Popular Ramadan Middle Eastern dessert, also called the Arabic pancake, fried and stuffed with various fillings, such as sugar and walnuts, sweetened Akkawi Arabic cheese, or Ashta (clotted cream and rose water), and then dipped in a sugary syrup.
Ma'moul: traditional Ramadan Arab pastry, stuffed with various fillings, such as walnuts, pistachios, or dates. When families visit each other during Eid, they typically exchange gifts of sweets, such as Ma'moul or chocolate.
Taqabbala Allah: May God accept your prayers or fasting.
Eid Mubarak: Wishing you a blessed Eid (Eid marks the end of fasting and start of celebrations)
Eid al Fitr: The start of the festival marking the end of fasting and Ramadan
Eid al Sagheer: Similar to Eid al Fitr, meaning the little feast (The big feast is Eid al Adha or Eid al Kabir, or the festival of sacrifice, another major muslim religious festival)
Jum-ah Mubarakah: Blessed Friday
Kol ‘am wa anta bekhair (to a male): Wishing you goodness every year
Kol ‘am wa anti bekhair (to a female): Wishing you goodness every year
Kol ‘am wa antum bekhair (to a group): Wishing you goodness every year
Yina’ad alaik (male)/alaiki (female)/alaikom (group): May this holiday return again for you
’Asak (male)/’Asach (female)/’Asakom (group) min owwadah: Another version used in Gulf regions for May this holiday return again for you
Yina’ad aleik/aleiki/aleikom bil sihha w il salamah: May this holiday return for you with health and safety (health=sihha; safety=salamah)
Eidiyye: a monetary gift or money given during Eid, typically from adults in the family to small children, who usually use the money to buy sweets or crackers or tickets to fairs.
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