What does “Ramadan” mean exactly, and why is today so important to Muslims?

After a long period of fasting, today marks Eid al-Fitr, the final day of the  month of Ramadan. Muslims around the world will mark the occasion with a day of feasting.

During Ramadan, Muslims honor the time when they believe God revealed the first verses of the Koran. It is the month in which all Muslims atone and seek nearness to Allah (the Muslim name for God)  by fasting and abstaining from sex and smoking. During this time, it is also encouraged to avoid evil thoughts and cursing. Soldiers, the sick, and the young are exempt from the fasting ritual.

Sawm is the Arabic word for fasting. The word is derived from the Syriac sawmo. In Afghanistan, India, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan the word rozeh, from Dari, is used instead of sawm. Turks call it oruç. In Malaysia and Singapore it is called puasa, which is derived from Sanskrit.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year. Because of the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan falls in different seasons over a cycle of about 33 years. Because of the origin of its name, it is believed that Ramadan was originally a summer month. Ramadan once meant “the hot month.” It comes from the Arabic ramida, which meant “to be burnt, scorched.”


  1. Ghairadhathishaukate -  September 27, 2015 - 6:25 am

    The explantation given by dictionary.com is confusing and misleading to some extent. Islam prohibits smoking and all things that are addicting and destroy human’s health like alcohol, opium and related chemicals, etc. Fornication is one of the deadliest sins. Sex is only allowed with a legally married spouse. In Ramadan, fasting is abstaining from food, drinks, and sex with spouse during daytime only, from dawn to dusk. After sunset and before dawn, there is no restriction on these activities.

    • Noushin -  June 12, 2016 - 12:47 pm


      • amber this is so stupid -  September 21, 2016 - 2:58 pm

        this so not cool please help me lol

  2. cheche -  June 28, 2015 - 7:56 am

    how important the islam word of I SWEAR TO ALLAH it is really important i hope i can get some answer

  3. Lobelt -  June 18, 2015 - 3:13 pm

    Please continue deleting my comments about RAMAYANA. Now I am going to post it EVERYWHERE where you have NO access.

  4. Lobelt -  June 18, 2015 - 3:07 pm

    The origin of the word: “ramadan” is RAMAYANA and it comes from the VEDIC CULTURE:

    • murad -  June 20, 2015 - 10:03 am

      What does “RAMAYANA” even mean
      R U even muslim

  5. Lobelt -  June 18, 2015 - 3:06 pm

    The origin of the word: “ramadan” is RAMAYANA and it comes from the VEDIC CULTURE.

    • cant say my name -  June 7, 2016 - 5:13 pm

      you need to do your research about the subject then come back and comment thanks

  6. Salma -  June 16, 2015 - 1:20 pm

    Hello Im a little child and I am very happy about the information you gave me it really helps

  7. najeeb -  June 11, 2015 - 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the information

  8. Abi -  July 12, 2013 - 6:04 am

    ramandon is the month that God reguilde and if you pay for 4 giveness from God. God will answer all the bad things that we do in the world.

  9. humeirah -  August 12, 2012 - 5:24 am

    only islam religion tels us pple how to avoid from bad things.rest of other relegions doesnt tel that also..

    • Barai -  July 9, 2014 - 6:36 am

      because in all religion people follow what u try to do in only one month. look all over rthe world who are creating turmoil.

  10. Sharron -  June 12, 2012 - 10:40 am

    Is an accuse to try and get rid of all evil done during the previous year. In other words I can do what I want for 11 months at but ramadam I try to absolve myself of past sins. If you want to be close to God do it 12 months
    of the year not just one !

    • Susu -  June 18, 2015 - 1:23 pm

      Muslims do try to be good through out the years this month is to put us back on track and a reminder for us to stop doing the things we do which are not good

    • Noushin -  June 12, 2016 - 12:49 pm

      IKR!! The whole Bangla community thinks that’s what Ramadan means which really annoys me.

  11. Amail -  May 14, 2012 - 1:06 pm


  12. a carter -  February 9, 2012 - 8:18 am

    Can u eat in thst month

  13. Xs -  October 26, 2011 - 12:19 am

    The abstinence from fornication, evil thoughts and cursing is explicitly prohibited for the entire lifetime.

    To simplistically think of the actual purpose behind Ramadan, you can think of it as an annual detoxification and an annual refresher that brings order to the otherwise rampantly chaotic human lifestyle.

    • Tara -  July 1, 2016 - 7:25 pm

      I do not appreciate being called simplistic when all I am doing to learn more about Islam. I am very interested because what I have heard from others confuses me. I want to learn the truth. Name calling does no good when trying to get others to understand and possibly start to practice Islam.

  14. sona -  August 19, 2011 - 4:21 pm

    Abstaining from sex and smoking, avoiding evil thoughts and cursing..during zat time.. wat about the rest of the days???????????

    • Noushin -  June 12, 2016 - 12:51 pm

      Don’t worry. That’s not the real definition. It’s a deadly sin to do any of those.

  15. shams -  August 15, 2011 - 3:18 am

    Allah almighty have once again blessed us with the holy month Ramadan so we should try to gain as much as Allah’s blessings and showers and ask forgiveness from Allah for our mistakes .

  16. simpa ahmed anavami -  July 31, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    Ramadan is here again,i give thanks to allmighty allah,the most merciful,the lord of the universe, none has the right to be worshiped except you.you alone i worship and you alone i seek for help.oh Allah pls grant all my request in this month of ramadan.the king of all month.

  17. jomama -  February 4, 2011 - 1:20 pm

    whats are muslimbs?

  18. AvidReader -  September 27, 2010 - 12:23 pm

    Hmmm… one of those things you know, but will never really use

  19. David E. -  September 12, 2010 - 3:34 pm

    Sawm is closely related to the Hebrew ṣōm (pronounced ‘tzohm’), which means “fast”.

  20. Nirmal Kumar Mishra -  September 11, 2010 - 7:36 am

    The word could be split into RAM(A) AND DAAN.
    DAAN means giving or charity. It could be said that eating one time means saving food for another time to be given to the poor.

  21. Shay -  September 11, 2010 - 5:08 am

    Thank you! I was just wondering what Eid al-Fitr meant. Very informative article.

  22. WanE -  September 10, 2010 - 10:27 pm

    That’s great information, now I know more about my dorm mate who can finally join us for dinner after so long

  23. bhavya mehta -  September 10, 2010 - 8:09 pm

    nice..will love to see more of such type where one reaches core and the crux of accepted and established facts. i always support the “digging”. and as a suggestion, i will also exhort you to post with scientific info(where one comes up with the reasoning of phenomena around us)

  24. I got promoted! for sure -  September 10, 2010 - 2:13 pm

    Breakfast is to break a fast, some eat more than usual in daytime during Ramadan. That is pitty.

  25. ABEER -  September 10, 2010 - 1:41 pm

    SAWM is a word written in Muslim’s bible book “Quran” so it is Arabic word originally

  26. Acey -  September 10, 2010 - 1:35 pm

    now i know…

  27. junessa meiji -  September 10, 2010 - 12:51 pm

    now I know. thanks for the info.

  28. Kanzhe Liu -  September 10, 2010 - 10:23 am

    A concise and well-written article. I’ve always been curious about what the solemnity entails. I especially enjoy all the etymologies of the names of the same word across various languages.

  29. Zic -  September 10, 2010 - 10:10 am

    Abstaining from sex and smoking, avoiding evil thoughts and cursing should be an everyday ritual. It seems very hypocritical to still partake in these things for the rest of the year! Fasting on the other hand i do agree with.

  30. Greg -  September 10, 2010 - 9:36 am



Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required):

Related articles

Back to Top