Glossary of Terms for Ramadan

Ramadan Glossary of Terms

Last Updated: 10-Jun-2014 11:13 PM

Listed below are the terms and phrases associated with the Holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan
Also spelled Ramadhan, Ramzan, Ramadhaan, Ramadaan. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar year during which Muslims fast during daylight hours, from dawn to sunset for the entire month.

Sawm
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is compulsory for Muslims during the month of Ramadan. Fasting is defined as abstinence from food, drink, smoking, any type of nourishment and conjugal intimacy during daylight hours, from dawn until sunset.

Hilal
The crescent of the new moon, the sighting of which determines the beginning and end of Islamic months, i.e. Ramadan.

Suhoor
Also spelled Suhur. The meal before dawn during Ramadan.

Iftar
The meal immediately after sunset during Ramadan, signifying the end of the day’s fast. Traditionally, many Muslims break their fast with dates and water, followed by a meal.

Dua
Also spelled Du’a. Supplications; prayer; worship. Special Dua’s are said by some Muslims before their fast begins and when breaking their fasts.

Tarawih
Also spelled Taraweeh. Special congregational prayers offered every night during the month of Ramadan after Isha, the night prayer. The aim of Tarawih is to recite the entire Qur’an from beginning to end during the Holy Month. One-thirtieth of the Qur'an is recited every night and this segment is referred to as "Juz".

Juz
A segment of the Qur'an equating to one-thirtieth of the total text.

I'tikaf
The practice of spending the last ten days of Ramadan in a state of worship, reflection and Qur’anic recitation. It is a spiritual retreat spent at a mosque or in isolation at home.

Laylat Al Qadr
The "Night of Power" is most likely an odd-numbered night (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, or 29th) during the last ten days of Ramadan. It is on this night that the first verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed in 610 C.E. The Qur'an describes it as a night that is more valuable than a thousand months. (Al-Qadr: 97:1-5)

Zakat
This compulsory charity or alms-giving is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Muslims are required to pay 2.5% of their wealth and assets to the poor. Whilst this charity can be paid at any time during the year, the prevalent practice is to pay Zakat during the Holy month of Ramadan.

Zakat Al-Fitr
A special charity paid to the needy at the end of Ramadan, ensuring that they too have a means of celebrating Eid Al Fitr. The requirement is to pay this charity before the Eid morning prayer.

Sadaqah
A voluntary charitable alms-giving. This should not be confused with Zakat, which is compulsory.

Eid Al-Fitr
The celebration and festival of breaking the fast which marks the end of Ramadan. It takes place on the 1st of Shawal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. The day consists of special morning congregational prayers followed by celebratory meals with family and friends.

Eid Mubarak!
A greeting on Eid Al-Fitr meaning "Blessed Festival".

Ramadan Mubarak
A greeting exchanged at the start and during the month of Ramadan meaning "Blessed Ramadan".

Ramadan Kareem
A greeting exchanged at the start and during the month of Ramadan meaning "Generous Ramadan".

A.H.
The Hijri calendar is defined by the acronym A.H., meaning "anno hegirae". It begins from the Hijra, 622 C.E. the year when Muhammad (pbuh) emigrated to Medinah.