During Ramadan, we hear Arabic words and phrases that may be interesting to us that loves to study Arabic. In this blog post, I will describe some of them.
I focus on the pronunciation of the words, important letters and related words. Of course, I also provide links to more information about the words.
The word Ramadan
We start with the word Ramadan. Ramadan is the same word in Arabic as in English, but the pronunciation is different. We can look at how the word is written in Arabic (click on the eye if you want more information, for example to see the word letter by letter).
Ramadan is pronounced (ramaDaan) in Arabic, with a long (aa) at the end. The Arabic letter alif, that looks like a vertical bar (ا), shows that it should be long aa.
You can see that I write (ramaDaan) with a capital D. This is because it is not the regular letter d, but the letter Dad that is emphatic. This D is pronounced darker than a regular d.
In addition to denoting the month of Ramadan, (ramaDaan) is also a proper name. Men can have it as their first name and men and women can hav it as their last name.
The word (ramaDaan) has the root ر م ض, that is, the letters r, m and D. Other words with the same root are for example (ramaD) which means parchedness or scorchedness and (ramDaa') which means soil that has become very hot from the sun.
Ramadan lasts between 29 and 30 days. From the crescent moon can be seen, until the next crescent moon can be seen. The Arabic word for crescent is (hilaal).
Crescent is not the same as new moon. The new moon cannot be seen while the crescent is visible a day or more after the new moon.
When we talk about the moon, I can take the opportunity to mention the Arabic word for moon: (qamr).
During Ramadan, one should fast - neither eat nor drink anything - when the sun is up. This applies to adults who do not have medical reasons for not fasting. The Arabic word for fasting is (Sawm).
I write (Sawm) with a capital S because it is not a regular s but the letter Sad that is emphatic. When a person is fasting, we say that he or she is (Saa'im) in Arabic.
The words (Sawm) and (Saa'im) are related, they both have the root ص و م, that is (S w m). The Arabic letter (w) is a weak letter, therefore it has been converted and is not visible in the word (Saa'im).
Breaking the fast
Breaking of the fast is called (fiTr) in Arabic.
At this point, you might be able to guess that I am writing (fiTr) with a capital T because the word does not contain the regular letter t but the letter Ta which is an emphatic letter.
Ramadan ends with (3iid al-fiTr). The word (3iid) means holiday or feast and (fiTr) means, as we know, the breaking of the fast.
The meal you eat during Ramadan when the sun has set is called ('ifTaar). The word ('ifTaar) also means breaking of the fast.
Just like (ramaDaan), ('ifTaar) has a long aa at the end, which is revealed by Arabic letter alif (ا). If you click on the eye symbol below (fiTr) or ('ifTaar), you will see that they are related to each other. You also see that they are related to the word (fuTuur) which means breakfast
That is logic. When you eat breakfast, you break the fast of the night. You may be able to figure out that the common root of the words is ف ط ر, that is (f T r).
Very early meal
You eat two meals every 24-hour period during Ramadan. We already know about (fiTr) that you eat after sunset. There is also a meal that you eat before sunrise, it is called (saHuur).
You may see that the letter H in the middle of the word is capitalized. This is because it is not a regular h, but the letter H that is pronounced more forcefully. Imagine you are thirsty and warm, take a sip of water and sigh deeply Hhh... This is what the H sounds like.
Click on the eye symbol to see how (saHuur) is written letter by letter. You will also see related words, for example (saHar) which denote the time before dawn.
When we talk about meals, I think we should mention the Arabic word for date.
One date is (tamra) while several dates are (tamr) in Arabic. Eating dates during Ramadan is a tradition.
I have focused a lot on meals and fasting so far. Of course, Ramadan is about more than that. Not least to make an extra effort to be a good person. For example, you donate money to charity. There is the word (zakaa) which can be translated to alms.
There are two types of (zakaa). One applies all year round, and is a certain proportion of one's fortune. The other is given around Ramadan and is a fixed fee. It is called (zakaatu l-fiTr).
Greeting phrases during Ramadan
Here are three greeting phrases that you will probably hear during Ramadan. I start with (ramaDaan mubaarak) which means blessed ramadan.
Click on the eye symbol and you will see that (mubaarak) is an adjective that means blessed. You probably recognize it from another common greeting phrase: (3iid mubaarak).
(3iid mubaarak) means blessed holiday. You say (3iid mubaarak) during (3iid al-fiTr).
Since we have learned two phrases that contain (3iid), it is a good idea to show the word.
The first letter in (3iid), which I write as 3, is the letter ayn. It is pronounced far back in the throat and can be described as a sound you make when you suffocate or strangle.
Another greeting phrase that you can hear during Ramadan is (ramaDaan kariim).
If you click on the eye symbol, you will see that (kariim) is an adjective that means generous. When you say (ramaDaan kariim) to someone, you want Ramadan to be generous to that person.
Since we have studied several new Arabic words and phrases, I want to end this blog post by repeating them.
|beaking of the fast||fiTr||ﻓِﻄﺮ|
|meal after sunset||'ifTaar||ﺇِﻓﻄَﺎﺭ|
|meal before sunrise||saHuur||ﺳَﺤُﻮﺭ|
|Blessed holiday||3iid mubaarak||عِيد مُبَارَك|
|Blessed Ramadan||ramaDaan mubaarak||ﺭَﻣَﻀَﺎﻥ ﻣُﺒَﺎﺭَﻙ|
|Generous Ramadan||ramaDaan kariim||ﺭَﻣَﻀَﺎﻥ ﻛَﺮِﻳﻢ|