Q&A: Spelling of Ramadhaan

Q. I would like to find out what the correct spelling is for Ramadaan. I have seen Ramadaan time tables where Ramadaan is spelt “Ramadan” and others “Ramadaan”.  The noticeable difference is the one “a” or the double “a”?

A. The spelling of Ramadhaan differs in the English language due to the diversity of the English speaking communities, their pronunciations and accents. Furthermore, the phonetic spelling of Arabic words in the English language is hindered with inadequate equivalents in the latter.

The double ‘a’ reflects the Alif in the Arabic word.

‘Dh’ reflects the Arabic letter dhawd.

Whether Ramadhaan or Ramadaan or Ramadan everyone understands that it refers to the Holy Month of fasting, abstinence and gaining divine proximity. These are merely variants in spelling and quite acceptable.