Eid Mubarak: The meaning of the Eid al-Fitr greeting in Arabic, as Ramadan 2020 ends
‘Eid Mubarak’ is the traditional phrase used by Muslims to greet each other during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations that bring Ramadan to an end
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However, even if they cannot be together in person, families and friends will take the the chance to wish each other “Eid Mubarak” when the festival arrives – here’s what the traditional greeting means.
What does ‘Eid Mubarak’ mean?
“Eid Mubarak” is the traditional phrase used by Muslims to greet each other during the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha celebrations.
The Arabic word “mubarak” translates as “blessed,” while “Eid” means feast, festival or celebration, so “Eid Mubarak” can literally mean “blessed celebration” or “blessed feast”, although it is widely interpreted as simply wishing somebody a “happy Eid”.
In exactly the same way, Muslims will often wish their fellow observers “Ramadan Mubarak” at the start of the holy month and throughout the fasting period.
Ramadan Kareem” is less commonly used, but translates as “Generous Ramadan” – while the phrase can be used as a greeting in a similar way to “Ramadan Mubarak”, it can also describe Ramadan when referring to it in a wider context.
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.”
Both “Mubarak” and “Kareem” are also given names in Arabic, which carry the same meanings as bestowed in the Eid and Ramadan greetings.
Coronavirus had removed many of the communal aspects of this year’s Ramadan and Eid celebrations (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
When is Eid 2020?
Traditionally, Ramadan begins with the sighting of the crescent moon, which generally appears one night after the new moon, meaning the start date cannot be precisely predicted.
Eid al-Fitr works in exactly the same way, with the sighting of the new crescent moon which brings the end of Ramadan and the onset of the month of Shawwal, the tenth of the Islamic Hijri calendar.
There is some debate as to whether the idea of a moon sighting should refer to you physically witnessing the moon in your region, which could be hampered by factors such as weather conditions, or whether to defer to sightings in Saudi Arabia or other regions.
According to The National, the UAE moon sighting committee will convene remotely on the evening of Friday 22 May in an attempt to see the new crescent moon.
If it is spotted successfully, then Eid al-Fitr will follow on Saturday 23 May – if not, then it will be celebrated a day later.
What is Eid al-Fitr?
However, after Eid some Muslims decide to fast for the six days that follow. This stems from the Islamic belief that a good deed in Islam is rewarded 10 times, thus fasting for 30 days during Ramadan and six days during Shawwal creates a year’s worth of goodwill.
Eid al-Adha comes later in the year, and translates as the “feast of the sacrifice,” honouring Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of devotion to God.
Although again the precise date in contingent on the sighting of the moon, this year’s Eid al-Adha festival is predicted to begin on either Thursday 30 July or Friday 31 July.
What is Ramadan?
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam – the fundamental rules all Muslims follow – along with the Shahadah (declaration of faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity) and the Hajj pilgrimage.
It is when Muslims are required to spend 30 days observing fast during daylight hours, as a means of celebrating and reflecting on their faith.
Beyond fasting, Muslims are also encouraged to read the Quran, with the holy text recited at the Tarawih, special nightly prayers held throughout the month.
Ramadan is based on the cycle of the moon, meaning that the dates are different from year to year, and cannot be predicted precisely.
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