As Ramadan starts later this month you may hear two phrases used a lot – Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Kareem.
The two phrases have slightly different meanings. Here’s all you should know about why they are different.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a period of fasting observed by Muslims across the globe to celebrate “the best of times”.
It celebrates the first time the Koran was revealed to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief.
Fasting is only obligatory for healthy adult Muslims, anyone who is suffering from an illness, travelling, elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating are exempt from the practice.
The fasting period, during which Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink, is from dawn to sunset and Muslims engage in increased prayer activity.
Muslims often try and practice a increased self discipline during the month of Ramadan.
What do Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Kareem mean?
Ramadan Mubarak translates to mean either ‘blessed Ramadan’ or ‘happy Ramadan’.
Ramadan Kareem means ‘may Ramadan be generous to you’ but there is some debate as to if it should be used during Ramadan.
Are the greetings different and when are they used?
The greetings are different as Ramadan Mubarak offers a blessed or happy Ramadan to the person it is exchanged with.
Where as Ramadan Kareem has debate around its use as it asks Ramadan to be generous to the other person.
There is some disagreement over it’s use as some people believe that asking Ramadan to be generous to you goes against the teachings of Islam, because Ramadan itself cannot be generous to an individual.
Saudi Arabian scholar Sheikh Al-Uthaymeen told the Express: “It should be said ‘Ramadan Mubarak’, or whatever is similar to it, because it is not Ramadan itself that gives so that it can be kareem (generous), in fact it is Allah who placed the grace in it, and made it a special month, and a time to perform one of the pillars of Islam”.
Ramadan Murbarak is the most commonly used of the two as it was originally used by the prophet Muhammad
However, others believe using Ramadan Kareem is fine because they say the phrase represents the blessings that Allah gives his follows during the month.
Jordan’s Iftaa’ Department, which is responsible for religious decrees, last year ruled: “Describing Ramadan to be honourable does not in fact attribute the quality to the month.
“Rather, the word comes from the fact that God gives his worshippers blessings during the month.
“It’s thus acceptable to call the thing by the name of its reason or cause.”
Some Muslims view Ramadan Kareem as a more respectful way of referring to Ramadan.
Both greetings can be used throughout the whole month of Ramadan but Ramadan Murbarak tends to be the more commonly used of the two.