Common Ramadan Arabic Words and Phrases

Updated: Apr 1

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, "zakaah" (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 "suḩour" , followed by prayers. Fasting ends with sunset and a meal called "ifţaar". Nightly prayers or "taraaweeḩ" are a common tradition during Ramadan. The ifţaar meal or breakfast is also a time that families, relatives, friends and even communities gather around to share food and pray together.



Sawman Makboulan Wa Iftaran Shahiyyan: Acceptable fasting and a scrumptious breakfast
Sawman Makboulan Wa Iftaran Shahiyyan: Acceptable fasting and a scrumptious breakfast


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: رَمَضان كَريم Wishing you a generous Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak: رَمَضان مُبارَك Wishing you a blessed Ramadan

Sawman Makboulan Wa Iftaran Shahiyyan:صَوْماً مَقْبولاً وإفْطاراً شَهِيّاً Acceptable fasting and a scrumptious breakfast

Sawm: صَوْم Fasting

Anaa saa’im: أنا صائِم I am fasting.

Hal Anta saa'im (male) هَلْ أنْتَ صائِم/ saa'imah (female) هَلْ أنْتِ صائِمَة/ Antom saa'imuun هَلْ أنْتُم صائِمُون (plural: 3+)?: Are you fasting?

Şalaah: صَلاة 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: تَراويح Special congregational prayers during Ramadan evenings

Duʻaa': دُعاء Prayer of supplication or request

Zakaah:زَكاة Religious obligatory income tax for charity; a pillar of Islam; usually at 2.5%; more prominent during Ramadan

Imsak:إمْساك Withholding from food and drink before sunrise (the act rather than the time)

Suhour: سُحور Morning meal before sunrise and the start of the fasting

Ifţaar: إفْطارThe evening meal that breaks the fast after sunset

Tamr:تَمْر Ripened dates, a stable of Iftar tables

Jallab:جَلّاب Popular Ramadan Middle Eastern fruit syrup drink, made from carob, dates, grape molasses and rose water.

Kallaj: كَلّاج 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: قطايِف 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.

Maʻmuul: مَعْمول 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: تَقَبَّلَ الله May God accept your prayers or fasting.

ʻEid Mubarak: عيد مُبارَك Wishing you a blessed Eid (Eid marks the end of fasting and start of celebrations)

ʻEid al-Fiţr: عيدُ الفِطْر The start of the festival marking the end of fasting and Ramadan

Al-ʻEid aş-şagheer:العيد الصَّغير 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)

Jumʻah Mubarakah:جُمْعَة مُبارَكَة Blessed Friday

Kul ‘aam wa anta bikhayr (to a male): كُل عام وأنْتَ بخَيْر

Wishing you goodness every year

Kul ‘aam wa anti bikhayr (to a female): كُل عام وأنْتِ بخَيْر

Wishing you goodness every year

Kul ‘aam wa antum bikhayr (plural/ to a group): كُل عام وأنْتُم بخَيْر

Wishing you goodness every year


In Khaleeji Arabic/dialect:

‘Asaak (male)/‘Asaach (female)/‘Asaakum (group) min ‘uwwaadah:

عَساك مِنْ عُوّادَه / عَساكِ مِنْ عُوّادَه / عَساكُم مِنْ عُوّادَه

Another version used in Gulf regions for May this holiday return again for you.


In Levantine Arabic (Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestenian dialects):

Yina‘aad ‘lèk (male)/‘layki (female)/‘laykum (group):

يِنْعاد عليك / يِنْعاد عليْكِ / يِنْعاد علَيْكُم

May this holiday return again for you.

Yina‘aad ‘lèk (male)/‘layki (female)/‘laykum (group) biş-şaḩḩa wis-salèmé:

يِنْعاد عليك بالصّحّة والسّلامَة / يِنْعاد عليْكِ بالصّحّة والسّلامَة / يِنْعاد علَيْكُم بالصّحّة والسّلامَة

May this holiday return for you with health and safety (health=sihha; safety=salamah)


‘Eidiyyah: عيدِيَّة 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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