Adults on Campus English Lessons

Embracing the holy month: 15 Ramadan related vocabulary in English

Welcome, learners!

The holy month of Ramadan is finally here!

For those of you who doesn’t know, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. 

It is a sacred time when Muslims worldwide fast from sunrise to sunset, abstain from immoral acts, and engage in acts of worship and charity. 

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the core beliefs and practices that every Muslim should follow.

In this blog post, we invite you on a journey to explore the key Ramadan-related vocabulary that will help you better understand and appreciate this special time for Muslims around the world

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Fasting 

Fasting, or “sawm” in Arabic, is the practice of refraining from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in other physical needs during daylight hours.

Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory for adult Muslims, with some exceptions such as pregnant or nursing women, the elderly, and those who are ill.

2. Suhoor

Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal consumed by Muslims before they begin fasting for the day. This meal is important because it helps to sustain the body during the long hours of fasting.

3. Iftar/breaking a fast 

Iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast at sunset, holds a special significance during Ramadan. It is a time for Muslims to come together with their families and communities to enjoy a meal and give thanks for the strength and patience they’ve demonstrated during the day’s fasting. 

Iftar often begins with the consumption of dates and water, following the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad. After this initial breaking of the fast, Muslims typically engage in Maghrib, the evening prayer, before returning to the iftar table for a larger meal.

Iftar is not only a time to satisfy physical hunger, but it also serves as an opportunity for spiritual reflection, social bonding, and sharing the blessings of Ramadan with others.

4. Taraweeh

Taraweeh refers to the extra prayers performed by Muslims during Ramadan after the evening prayer (Isha). These prayers are most often held in congregation at the mosque, but you can also perform it at home. They can vary in length from eight to twenty rak’ahs (units of prayer). The entire Quran is often recited over the course of Ramadan during Tarawih prayers.

5. Laylat Al-Qadr

Laylat al-Qadr, also known as the “Night of Power” or “Night of Destiny,” is considered the holiest night of the year. It commemorates the night when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is believed to occur on one of the odd-numbered nights during the last ten days of Ramadan, with the 27th night being the most widely observed.

6. Obligatory charity (zakat)

Zakat is the obligatory act of giving a portion of one’s wealth to those in need. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is especially emphasized during Ramadan. Muslims calculate and distribute their annual zakat contributions during this holy month to purify their wealth and help those who are less fortunate.

7. Dawn prayer 

The dawn prayer (sholat subuh), is the first of the five daily prayers performed by Muslims. It takes place before sunrise and is considered an essential part of a Muslim’s daily routine. Fajr is an opportunity for Muslims to begin their day by connecting with Allah and seeking guidance and blessings for the day ahead.

8. Dusk prayer 

The dusk prayer, or Maghrib, is the fourth of the five daily prayers and is performed immediately after sunset. This prayer also marks the end of the daily fast during Ramadan. After completing the Maghrib prayer, Muslims break their fast with the Iftar meal, replenishing their bodies with much-needed nourishment and engaging in communal gatherings with family and friends.

9. Five pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam are the fundamental beliefs and practices that every Muslim is expected to follow. These pillars are the foundation of a Muslim’s faith and actions. They include:

  • Shahada: The declaration of faith, bearing witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger.
  • Salah: The performance of the five daily prayers, offered at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and night.
  • Zakat: The giving of alms or charity to the poor and needy, which purifies one’s wealth and promotes social welfare.
  • Sawm: Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, observed from sunrise to sunset.
  • Hajj: The pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, which every Muslim should undertake at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able.

10. Reciting the Qur’an

During the month of Ramadan, the importance of reciting the Qur’an is highly emphasized. Muslims are encouraged to read and reflect on the holy book as much as possible, with many aiming to complete the entire Qur’an within the month. It is believed that the rewards for reciting the Qur’an during Ramadan are multiplied, making it an ideal time to strengthen one’s relationship with the sacred text.

11. Voluntary charity (Sadaqah)

Sadaqah can take various forms, such as giving money, food, clothing, or even sharing one’s time and skills to help others. Sadaqah is considered an expression of a Muslim’s faith and compassion, demonstrating their commitment to helping those in need and contributing to the betterment of society.

While Muslims are encouraged to engage in acts of sadaqah throughout the year, the practice holds particular significance during Ramadan. The holy month is a time for increased spiritual reflection and self-improvement, and engaging in acts of charity is an essential part of this process

12. Eid Al Fitr

Eid al-Fitr is a significant religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide, marking the end of Ramadan.

The day of Eid al-Fitr commences with a special prayer service, known as the “Eid prayer,” held at mosques or large open spaces. Muslims dress in their finest attire, often purchasing new clothes for the occasion, and join their fellow believers in prayer and thanksgiving.

After the Eid prayer, families and friends come together to enjoy a delicious feast, filled with mouth-watering dishes. These gatherings are a perfect opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and indulge in delightful culinary treats. The sense of community is strong during Eid al-Fitr, as people often open their homes to families, friends, and neigbours. 

Eid al-Fitr is also a time for forgiveness, introspection, and the opportunity to start afresh. Muslims are encouraged to mend relationships, seek forgiveness from others, and forgive themselves for any shortcomings during Ramadan. This focus on reconciliation and renewal underscores the message of unity, love, and compassion that permeates the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.

13. Call to prayer (Adhan)

The call to prayer, or Adhan, is the announcement made by a muezzin (prayer caller) from a mosque to invite Muslims to perform their obligatory prayers. The Adhan is recited five times a day, corresponding to the five daily prayers, and serves as a reminder for Muslims to submit themselves to Allah in worship.

14. Lebaran homecoming

In Indonesia, Lebaran homecoming, or “mudik,” is an annual tradition where millions of people travel from cities to their hometowns to celebrate the festive occasion with their families and loved ones. This mass exodus is a time of joy, forgiveness, and rekindling familial bonds. It is not uncommon for entire neighborhoods to come together, sharing meals and participating in communal prayers, further emphasizing the spirit of unity and togetherness during this special time.

15. Lebaran / religious holiday allowance

Another unique Indonesian tradition during Lebaran is the giving of a Lebaran allowance, or “THR” (Tunjangan Hari Raya), which is a monetary gift distributed by employers to their employees. This bonus is considered a form of appreciation for the hard work and dedication shown by employees throughout the year. 

The Lebaran allowance is typically given before the holiday to help employees with their preparations for the festivities, including purchasing new clothes, food, and gifts for family members. In addition to the employer-employee relationship, the tradition of giving small sums of money is also extended to children. Parents, aunts, and uncles often give their children, nieces, and nephews money during Lebaran.


Thank you for joining us on this enriching adventure! We hope you’ll continue to explore and learn about the diverse customs and traditions that make our world such an incredible and vibrant place. Remember, language is a powerful tool that bridges cultures and fosters understanding, so keep learning, stay curious, and embrace the beauty of our global community. Until next time, happy learning and warmest wishes to you all!

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