As of late the words iftar, hijab, suhoor, eid have been making rounds with increasing frequency in my Malaysian social circles. Most of this come from undergraduates/fresh graduates who are or have studied abroad. In my opinion it would be natural to be using these vocabularies if one has been studying in a country where Arabic is the main spoken language. The crowd who made these terms a trend however, are mainly UK and US university students.

These vocabulary tid-bits are absorbed as the students mingle around with the Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, and the rest of the multi-ethnic Muslim community abroad. The non-Malaysians making up the Muslim community utilise the Arabic term to describe the various acts of worships because either they are Arabs, or that they do not have terms in their mother tongue to describe it hence the borrowing of the Arabic terms. Malaysians on the other hand, have long since had our own terms in Bahasa Malaysia to match its Arabic origins.

(click for clearer display)

The above is a quick list of common terms you might stumble on a daily basis. If anyone has any terms that should go into this or words you suspect the result of Arabification or terms you don’t know and would like to know, let me know so I can build a modest vocabulary listing of it for fun 😉

Malaysia has always been a curry pot of culture and language. It’s okay to use terms from other languages interchangeably in conversation and writing. In the case of the vocabulary listing above where we already have our own term for it which depicts accurately the teachings in the Quran, I opt to preserve bits of our own culture and wish people Selamat Berpuasa, Selamat Berbuka Puasa, Selamat Bersahur, Selamat Melilit Tudung, Selamat Hari Raya.

There is no point to using Arabic terms simply to sound pious, God knows and understands everything everybodyin the whole wide world says and whisper, even in your hearts.

If you really want to copy the culture of Muslims in the UK or abroad, have a go at dates with cream. Seriously. That was how dates were served every time I go to the mosque for buka puasa when I spent my Ramadhan last year in UK.

3 thoughts on “Terminologies

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