Ramzan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem – What is the right way of greetings during the pious month of fasting, praying ad self-realization?
Nowadays, the wishes of “Ramadan Kareem”, an Arabic greeting, are being circulated all over the social media platforms. Due to the fact that Islam originated in Saudi Arabia, this Arabic form of greeting is being popularized increasingly as original and authentic. However, in the Indian subcontinent, a wide majority of people have always been greeting it as “Ramzan Mubarak”.
Islam is one of the religions that follow the lunar system, therefore, Eid in each region depends upon the sighting of the moon in that geographical region.
The variation in the phases of the moon leads Eid to be celebrated on different days in different regions. For instance, in India usually starts fasting and celebrates Eid one, or sometimes even two, days after Saudi Arabia.
Happily so, when Indians do not seem to match their Ramzan itself with Saudi Arabia then why is the greeting of ‘Ramzan Mubarak’ being replaced by ‘Ramadan Kareem’?
Nizam Pasha, a lawyer practising in the Supreme Court writes that “the name of the month is written as “رمضان” in Arabic. The operative letter here is ض, which is pronounced as a sound that is a cross between’ and ‘z’ by native Arabic speakers.
This is invariably written as ‘d’ or ‘dh’ by Arabs when using the English alphabet. In fact, Arabs extend this same treatment to the alphabets ظ , ز and ذ when transliterated into the English alphabet. However, in the Indian subcontinent, we have consistently written and pronounced all four as ‘z’.”
With this, Pasha explains that “So, to all those from the subcontinent who are blindly following English transliterations of these alphabets done by Arabs to call this month “Ramadan”, your Dameer (Zameer) is probably already dead,”.
Mohammad Raza, a practising Muslim from New Delhi tells EurAsian Times that “one can’t write Ramzan or Ramadan because it would be read as ramadzwaan. Dzw would be included due to the ‘ض’ in it.”
The second part of the greeting, ‘Kareem’ which means ‘honourable’ or ‘noble’ in Arabic, actually forms no real sense with the sentence. Being one of the 99 names of Allah and Kareem is usually referred with Quran as ‘Quran Kareem’ or the ‘Holy Quran’.
However with Ramzaan, the message would seem like “Ramzan Kareem” is like saying “Honourable Ramzan”, leaving the essence of the greeting.
Hasan, a 23-year-old student tells the EurAsian Times that that “the overwhelming impact of Arabic over Persian transliteration has led to other changes like ‘Khuda hafiz’ being replaced by ‘Allah hafiz’, ‘Sehri’ by ‘Suhoor’, ‘Mubarak’ by ‘Mabrook’ and many others”
In the world of linguistics and anthropology, it is highly known that a language entails a culture with it. The act of blindly taking up a foreign language’s words not only impoverishes one’s own language but accepts the foreign language as superior.
This can also be understood with the few centuries-old idea of colonization where it was imperative to impose the language of the colonizers over the colonized, most visible in the way, English has spread worldwide.
Saudi Arabia, known for its orthodox and puritanical religious ideology, makes it even more important for India to preserve its own Islamic values, traditions and most importantly – the language.
Even Indian PM Narendra Modi while greeting the Muslim community preferred to say Ramzan Mubarak instead of Ramadan Kareem.
“Ramzan Mubarak! I pray for everyone’s safety, well-being and prosperity. May this Holy Month bring with it abundance of kindness, harmony and compassion. May we achieve a decisive victory in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and create a healthier planet”, PM Modi tweeted.
As Pasha says, “it is therefore important that we should be careful in trading the traditions of our ancestors for every shiny new imported thing that comes out of the Arab world. While the first step may be as simple as confounding our friends by wishing them Honourable Ramadan, the habit this builds has far-reaching consequences.”