With the start of Ramzaan, “Ramadan Kareem” wishes start pouring in. We have grown up hearing the word Ramzaan for the fasting month of Muslims. However, in Arabic the name of the month is written as “رمضان”. The letter ض is pronounced as a sound that is a cross between ‘d’ and ‘z’ by native Arabic speakers. When Arabs transliterate it they write ‘d’ or ‘dh’. Same treatment is done by Arabs to the alphabets ظ , ز and ذ when transliterating into the English alphabet. However, in the Indian subcontinent, we have consistently written and pronounced all four as ‘z’.
An article in The Wire pointed out: “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 is probably already dead, it is extremely Daruri that you watch Sunny Deol’s Diddi, sing ‘Saara Damana’ from Amitabh Bachchan’s Yaarana, give Damanat if anyone gets arrested, blame General Dia-ul-Haq for Pakistan’s misery and give your address as Dila Hoshiarpur because you’re so damn clever. And if you’re already doing that, then you’re just zaft.” It adds: “Just a quick question, when lawyers in Hindi movies used to say “M’lord, mein aap ke saamne ek daleel pesh karna chahta hoon”, what did you think they were about to do?”
Another mindless aping of the Arab culture is the use of new greeting “Ramadan Kareem”, which is becoming popular in Indian Muslim society but was never heard a few years ago. It has replaced age-old greeting ‘Ramzaan Mubarak’. ‘Kareem’ is one of the 99 names of Allah, which means ‘honourable’ or ‘noble’ in Arabic. Sending a message “Ramzaan Kareem” to someone is like saying “Honourable Ramzaan”. The sentence is as incomplete as saying “Holy Christmas”. On the other hand traditional greeting “Ramzaan Mubarak” means “May this Ramzaan be beneficial for you”.
So the next time you want to send Ramzaan greetings to someone, ‘Ramzaan Mubarak’ is the good option.