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Ramadan 2019: Glossary of Terms for the Holiest Month of Islamic Culture

Ramadan originates from the Arabic word ramad, which means heat or dryness, as the first Ramadan is observed during the summer.

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Updated:May 7, 2019, 7:26 AM IST
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Ramadan 2019: Glossary of Terms for the Holiest Month of Islamic Culture
Muslims wait to break their fast on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, in Islamabad. (Image: AP)

Ramadan, or Ramzaan, is observed in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar year and is the Muslim fasting month. This year, the period will fall between May 5 and June 6. However, do you ever wonder where and how the word Ramadan came into use?

Ramadan originates from the Arabic word ramad, which means heat or dryness, as the first Ramadan is observed during the summer. Similar to how the sun scorches the earth during the summer, this month is considered a period to scorch away evil, making the name even more symbolic.

The new moon or crescent that confirms the start of a new Islamic month Ramadan is known as Hilal. The Islamic calendar is based on lunar months, and each month lasts either 29 or 30 days. There are special sighting committees in most Muslim countries to catch a glimpse of the Hilal.

The common greetings shared during Ramadan are Ramadan Mubarak, which means congratulations on the arrival of the holy month, and Ramadan Kareem, which means ‘Generous Ramadan’.

The fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan is also known as Sawm. It requires Muslims to abstain from food, drink, sexual intimacy and any negative behaviour from dawn until dusk.

Suhoor or Sahri is the meal consumed at dawn before the start of the fast. Muslims who observe fasting during Ramadan wake up at around 4 or 5 in the morning to eat food before the sun sets up.

Iftar or Iftari is the sunset meal that ends the day’s fast. The family and friends come together to break the fast and usually consists of a spread traditional treats, that includes dates.

Fidya or Fidyah is the compensation for missing or wrongly practicing necessary acts of worship. During this act, one gives up a part of money, foodstuffs, or sacrifices an animal.

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