Is Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem the correct greeting?

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Ramadan is the most sacred month in Islam and will see observers dedicate the next 30 days to religious introspection. Healthy adult Muslims will fast between dawn and dusk during this deeply personal time, with brief breaks. When interacting with others in public, they will also exchange well wishes.

Is Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem the correct greeting?

As the most sacred Islamic month, Muslim observers will exchange pleasantries in Arabic.

The two most commonly used include Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Kareem.

But both have different meanings, and one is deemed more appropriate than the other.

The most widely accepted phrase is Ramadan Mubarak.

Mubarak translates to “blessed” in Arabic, so “Ramadan Mubarak” means “blessed Ramadan”.

Many Muslims will say “Mubarak” during a celebration to wish one another well.

Some also use the phrase to congratulate others for a special occasion or achievement.

Ramadan Kareem, on the other hand, is less used amongst the Muslim community.

The phrase doesn’t have the same use, as it has a different meaning.

One Muslim poster on the question and answer site Quora explained it is a description more than a greeting.

They said people add “Kareem” to Ramadan as a display of its sacredness.

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They said: “Ramadan Kareem is not a greeting as far as I believe.

“It’s just a statement like, ‘Ramadan Kareem has arrived’, which means the blessed month of Ramadan has arrived.

“Kareem means ‘generous’, and so Ramadan Kareem means ‘Generous Ramadan’, which is not a greeting actually.

“It’s an additional thing we add with ‘Ramadan’ to show its sacredness.”

There is also a dispute as to whether “Ramadan Kareem” truly captures the spirit of the month.

People spend their days focussing on their personal connection to Allah rather than spreading the sentiment among others.

As such, some argue Ramadan’s core focus is not generosity, as “Ramadan Kareem” suggests.

Others argue worshippers should still recognise acts of generosity during the period.

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