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Ramadan Mubarak and Other Ramadan Greetings

Ramadan Mubarak and Other Ramadan Greetings

In the last post, we discussed the origins of the word, “Ramadan.” In this post, we’ll talk a little bit about the phrase, “Ramadan Mubarak”—a common greeting you’ll hear Muslims say very frequently during this special month.

How do you pronounce “Ramadan Mubarak”?

Good question. Both “Ramadan” and “Mubarak” are Arabic words, so writing it out in English doesn’t necessarily capture the authentic pronunciation of the phrase. Here are the tricky letters:

  • Both “r”s are heavy - like the “r” sound in “car.” Ramadan Mubarak
  • The “d,” here, is a heavy “d” sound that is unique to the Arabic language. There’s no English equivalent, but the closest sound might be the “do” in “Don.” If you switch out the “da” in “Ramadan” with this “do” sound, it will sound closer to an authentic, Arabic pronunciation. It might even be better if you replace the last three letters of “Ramadan” with the name “Don.” Ramadon Mubarak.
  • The “u” sound in “Mubarak” isn’t like the “u” sound in “cut.” Rather, it’s more like the double “o” sound in “cool” or “moo.” Mubarak = Moobarak. 
  • Now, the “a” sounds are not like the “a”s in “cat” or “bat.” There are only two “a” sounds like that. The first is the one in “Mubarak.” So, funnily enough, the “bar” here doesn’t sound like the English word, “bar.” Instead, it’s pronounced like “bat” but with an “r” at the end: “bar.” This is the same for the “ma” sound in “Ramadan.” It’s not “ma” (i.e., how you might refer to your mother); instead, it’s the same “ma” sound in the word, “malice.” Ramadan Mubarak.
  • Lastly, the remaining “a” sounds are pronounced like the “a” in “car” (but even a little bit heavier). I would say they’re pronounced like the “ra” sound in “rawr.” Ra(wr)madan Mubara(wr)k. 

So, let’s put it all together: 

Ra(wr)-ma-don Moo-ba-ra(wr)k = Ramadan Mubarak!

What does Mubarak mean?

The word “mubarak” means “blessings” or “fortune.” So, when you say “Ramadan Mubarak,” it's very similar to saying, “Ramadan Blessings!” or “Happy Ramadan!” 

During this month, this is one of two greetings (the other being “Ramadan Kareem!”) that Muslims will shower each other with. Usually, the greeting is accompanied by an enormous smile and a big hug for your fellow Muslim brother (if you’re a man) and your fellow Muslim sister (if you’re a woman). 

It’s a very simple greeting and children will even go around spreading joy by saying it!

When Should I Say “Ramadan Mubarak”? 

You can say “Ramadan Mubarak” all year long, although you might look a few months too excited and early if it’s not actually Ramadan time. 

It’s common to say “Ramadan Mubarak” the first few days of the month. It’s most common to say it the first night (because it’s a lunar month, the “day” starts the evening before the sun rises). So, if the first solar day of Ramadan is November 30th, the “first day” of Ramadan will actually start at sunset on November 29th and will last until sunset on November 30th. It’s a little confusing, but you’ll get the hang of it. 

The night before the first fast of Ramadan (remember: the fast will start the following sunrise)—after the moon has been sighted—is when your relatives and those friends you haven’t heard from all year long will probably spam your phone with hundreds of “Ramadan Mubarak” gifs and sparkly graphics.

Return the favor and “Ramadan Mubarak” away!

Can I say “Ramadan Mubarak” if I am not Muslim?

We don’t see why not! 

In fact, it’s really nice to get a “Ramadan Mubarak '' from family, neighbors, friends, colleagues, and even strangers—irrespective of if they’re Muslim or not. Especially at a time when Muslim holidays do not get the same universal state and federal recognition, it’s nice to feel seen by those around you. It’s also a way of appreciating your Muslim neighbors and valuing religious diversity. 

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