our series of basic Arabic words continue! In this article we will approach the days of the week. After reading this you might notice that the name of the days in Arabic are in close relation to the number system (we posted an article here). Maybe you will want to arrange a meeting with someone on a specific day, or you want to tell someone what you did last Wednesday. Days of the week are one of the few basics learnt in any new language. By the day, day in Arabic is yoom – يوم, days is aiyaam – أيام, week is usbuu3 – أسبوع and weeks is asaabii3 – أسابيع.
In the Arab world, the week normally starts with Sunday. Starting from Sunday upwards, the rest of the days are derived from the numbers. So, technically speaking, Sunday is the “first day”, Monday is “second day” and so on. The only 2 days that are an exception from this are Friday and Saturday, as they have their own meaning. We’ll explain this later below.
Sunday in Arabic – Al-ahad – الأحد
Monday in Arabic – Al-ethnein – الإثنين
Tuesday in Arabic – Al-thulatha’- الثلاثاء
Wednesday in Arabic – Al-arbi’a’- الأربعاء
Thursday in Arabic – Al-khamees – الخميس
Friday in Arabic – Al-jum’a – الجمعة
Now, as you see, Friday in Arabic is not related to any number. It is derived from the verb “to gather” (aljuma3a). In the Arabic speaking regions, Islam has been the dominant religion historically speaking. Friday is considered the day of prayers, followed by meeting with family and friends.
Saturday in Arabic – Al-sabt – السبت
This one actually means “day of the sabbath”, and it’s actually from where we get the English word Sabbath. Technically speaking, Saturdays are the Sabbath day for Jews, where there is an abstinence from work or labor. It does not hold much meaning for the Muslim majority countries. In fact, before in the Arab world, the weekend was considered Thursday and Friday. However, due to the globalization and needing to interact with the western world for business purposes made a few countries shift the traditional Thursday – Friday weekend to Friday – Saturday.
There are still a few countries that practice the traditional weekend, like Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman. However, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, the Sudan, Syria, and the UAE use the Friday-Saturday weekend. What is interesting is that Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia actually use a Saturday-Sunday weekend. Lebanon actually used to be Christian majority at some point (now it’s a 50-50 population), so having Saturday and Sunday makes sense.
In conclusion, Kaleela not only does it provide classic Arabic language lessons, but we believe that we should also provide phrases or words that can actively help any non Arabic speaker in day-to-day life, as those are more commonly used and looked for.