Meaning of Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Kareem and greetings in Arabic explained
Muslims across the world will be preparing to start Ramadan. Authorities in Saudi Arabia and several other Middle Eastern countries say this year’s fasting month of Ramadan will begin on Thursday 23 March based on the expected sighting of the crescent moon.
During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual intercourse from sunrise until sunset. Even a tiny sip of water or a puff of smoke is enough to invalidate the fast. At night, family and friends gather and feast in a festive atmosphere.
The fasting is aimed at bringing the faithful closer to Allah and reminding them of the suffering of the poor. Muslims are expected to strictly observe daily prayers and engage in heightened religious contemplation. They are also urged to refrain from gossip, fighting or cursing during the holy month.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and is required for all healthy Muslims. But there are exemptions for those who are ill, and for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Small children are also not expected to fast.
What does Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Kareem?
There are a few Arabic greetings you can use to wish someone a happy Ramadan during the holy month. The most common greeting – “Ramadan Mubarak” – comes from the Arabic word “blessed”. Hence, the phrase means “blessed Ramadan”.
There is some debate around whether using “Ramadan Kareem” is appropriate, given that the expectation of generosity can be considered against the principles of fasting and prayer central to observing the holy month.
However, others argue that the greeting can appropriately refer to the generosity of acts towards others. Khaled Boudemagh, described by Gulf News as a Dubai-based language expert, said: “Ramadan is a month of generosity, therefore wish Kareem.”
In the UK, Ramadan 2023 will begin on Thursday 23 March and end the evening of Friday 21 April.
This means Eid ul-Fitr will be celebrated on Saturday 22 April.
The dates of Ramadan and Eid depend on the moon cycle, and when the new crescent moon is first sighted.