Islamic Months & Their Meanings

  • Ramadān is named after ramdā. Ramdā are stones heated by the sun during summer.
  • Shawāl is derived from the lifting (Ar. shayl) of a camel’s tail to ward off flies (because of the extreme heat).
  • Dhūl Q`adah because it was the first sacred month that prohibited fighting. Thus, people sat (refrained from fighting) during that time.
  • Dhūl al-Hijja because the Hajj coincides with it.
  • Muharram because fighting is prohibited during it.
  • Safar takes its name from sifir, which means to be empty, because the trails that the Arabs used for travel and business were empty because the sacred months had ended and fighting returned.
  • Rab`i al-Awwal and Rab`i al-Thani took their names from rab`i al-‘ashab (dense grass), because it grew during these two months.
  • Jumād al-Ulā and Jumād al-Thānī from Jumād al-mā (Eng. Frozen ice), because these two months occurred during winter.
  • Rajab because it is a sacred month.
  • Sha`bān means to divide. It is named this because the Arabs would return to fighting at its onset.

Translated by Suhaib Webb from Al-Dhakhīra by Imām al-Qarāfī al-Mālikī, vol. 2 pg. 486

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