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The Meaning of the Word Ramadan

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Imām ar-Raghib said:

رمضان هو الرمض أي شدة وقع الشمس، والرمضاء شدة حر الشمس، و رمضت الغنم: رعت في الرمضاء فقرحت أكبادها. و سمي رمضان لأنه يرمض الذنوب أي يحرقها.

Ramaḍān is taken from the word ramad which means that which is intensely or vehemently heated by the sun.  And the word ramdhaa means the intense heat of the sun. [The Arabs used to say about] the sheep that they were ‘burned (ramidat) while they were grazing under the scorching heat of the sun to the extent that their livers became damaged (by the intense heat of the sun). Ramaḍān was named such because it burns the sins of the believers. [1]

Imām al-Zamarkhshari wrote:

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لما نقلوا أسماء الشهور عن اللغة القديمة سموها بالأزمنة التي وقعت فيها فوافق هذا الشهر أيام رمض الحر فسمي رمضان

‘’When they changed the names of the months from the ancient language, they named them according to the seasons in which they fell, and this month fell in the days of intense heat and that is why it was named Ramaḍān’’. [2]

Imām Qurtubi narrates:

إنما سمي رمضان لأنه يرمض الذنوب أي يحرقها با لأعمال الصالحة

‘’It (this month) was named Ramaḍān because it burns the sins of people with righteous deeds’’. [3]

How does Allāh burn our sins?

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is reported to have said: “…Whoever draws nearer (to Allāh) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time…” [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]

Therefore one of the main ways in which Allāh eradicates and deletes our sins and wrong doings is by multiplying our deeds in the month of Ramaḍān and erases our sins because the hasanat (good deeds) eliminates the sayyi’aat (bad deeds).

May Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) destroy by the light of His raḥmah all our past sins, and may He make all of us among His servants who receive the glad tidings of forgiveness.

Please keep me in your sincere du‘ā’s and forgive any mistakes I may have committed.


[1] Mufradat al-Qur’an by Imām ar-Raghib p 203

[2] Al-Kashaf 1/171, Zad al Maseer 1/187, Majma’ al-Bayan 1/275, Qurtubi 2/171

[3] Tafseer al-Qurtubi 2/271, Fatul Bayan 1/293

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Sh. Abdullah Hasan graduated with an Imam Diploma, BA and Ijaza Aliyah in Islamic Studies [Theology & Islamic Law, taught completely in Arabic] from a European Islamic seminary. He holds a diploma in Arabic from Zarqa Private University (Jordan), studied at the faculty of fiqh wa usuluhu (Jurisprudence and its principles) at the same university while receiving training in various disciplines privately with some of the leading Scholars of Jordan and the Middle East. He studied Chaplaincy at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education (MIHE). He is a Licensed Islamic Professional Counsellor (LIPC), specialising in youth and marriage therapy. In addition, he is a specialist in Zakat and Islamic philanthropic studies. He served, as an Imam, several Muslim communities in the UK. Sh. Abdullah Hasan has enormous interest and passion in the field of community and people development. He has over 10 years of management, leadership and training experience within the third sector. He is the founder of British Imams and Scholars Contributions & Achievement Awards (BISCA), which is a national platform to celebrate, support & nurture positive leadership within the community. The Founder of British Institutes, Mosques & Association Awards (BIMA), which is national platform celebrating the achievements of mosques and Islamic institutions. He also founded Imams Against Domestic Abuse (IADA), an international coalition of leaders to end domestic abuse, and is a member of the National Council of Imams & Rabbis, UK.,

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. birkah.wordpress.com

    July 23, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Can you please comment on the authenticity of this:

    The Prophet
    is reported to have said: “…Whoever draws nearer (to Allāh) by
    performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall
    receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other
    time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall
    receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time… ”
    [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]

    JKhair.

    • Shaheed

      July 29, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      Check comments section

    • Ibrahim Panambur

      June 5, 2016 at 12:58 PM

      Ya Allah forgive any mistake I may have committed

  2. Shaheed

    July 29, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    We can leave out the guess work about the “authenticity”of and obscure hadith if we just use the Quran as our only source of guidance.

  3. fasting

    July 31, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    this article is a nice one and it help me a lot.
    islamquranhadith.com

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  6. Somnath

    June 27, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    Is Ramadan has a link with Ram incarnation of Almighty. I believe all religion is one and are interlinked

  7. Cis

    September 22, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    Ramadan is the month of mercy. and ,Successor of the Prophet Muhammad in Ramadan was killed.his name is amam Ali.

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  10. ibrahim mustapha

    May 26, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    Allah help the muslim umma

  11. Ladeed Shaji

    April 10, 2019 at 2:02 PM

    Assalam aalikum I’ve a doubt regarding the word Ramadan.
    The word ” Ramadan” comes from ramad (means intense heat) so does it necessarily mean that every time Ramadan will be in scorching sun if it’s so there were many instances Ramadan also came in winter season!?

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