Learning Basic Arabic
Bismillahirrahmanirrahiim. With the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate. All Praise to Allah.
“Verily we have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’ân in order that you may understand” [Surah Yusuf: 2]
Umar ibn al-Khattab, May Allah be pleased with him, said: “Learn Arabic, for it is of your Deen.”
Al-Imam Ash-Shafi’ee said: “That is because the tongue (language) which Allah has chosen is the Arabic one, so He has revealed His book by it and made it the tongue of his last prophet Mohammed – صلى الله عليه و سلم – that is why we say: Anyone who is able to learn Arabic should do so because it is the language that ought to be learned.”
The Arabic language is the Key. The key that opens all the doors leading to the vast and tremendous culture of the Muslim World and Middle East. The wisdom and the inimitability of the Qur’an, the significance of the all-encompassing Sunnah of the blessed prophet Muhammad (peace and greetings of Allah be upon him), the thousands of years of scholarship, the eloquence of pre-Islamic poetry, and the ambiguity of the Arab spring illustrate that Arabic provides a way to understand and appreciate what the Islamic intellectual and cultural heritage is about.
Shaykh Muhammed bin Saleh Al Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) said:
Some of the benefits of learning the Arabic language is the correction of the tongue with the Arabic language, the tongue through which the message of Allah was revealed. Because of this, understanding the Arabic language is extremely important but the sciences of the Arabic language are difficult in the beginning and become easy as one progresses. It can be compared to the example of a house made of cane (the likes of sugar cane), but its door is made of steel. Meaning, it is difficult for one to enter, but once one does, it is then made easy. Due to this, I encourage the student to learn the foundations of the language in order to make the rest easy for him/her.
The Arabic language is one of the oldest languages in the world and provides the foundation for many other languages . There is a theory that states, “Arabic is the origin of languages” and those who adopt this theory base this on the fact that Arabs can pronounce any sound in any language in the world with ease where on the other hand, non-Arabs encounter difficulties in pronouncing some Arabic letters that are not in their native language (eg letters dhad, shad, tha, tsa is not used in any other language in the world).
Arabic is used widely in the world and is the primary language of 22 countries. In addition, it is used by more than 250 million people in Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Sudan, and Yaman to name a few.
There are two types of Arabic: Fushah Arabic and Ammiyah Arabic. Fushah Arabic is the language of the Al-Qur’an and considered the formal/classical language; it is the language of science and other books. Ammiyah Arabic is the daily language spoken commonly. Learning Ammiyah is not as difficult as learning Fushah which requires learning the rules of grammar for the Arabic language. It may be difficult for the beginner but after a while it becomes easier.
Having the knowledge of a little bit of Arabic is a great way to talk to the locals and to converse with Arabic speakers for improved learning. It also shows that you have made an effort to become familiar with their culture which is always beneficial, especially during hajj season as a way for pilgrims to be able to read signs in the mosque, on the road, and in the market for helping themselves to communicate with people.
I will write below a few phrases that will give you the basics of the Arabic language for practicing daily:
Assalamu’alaikum – Peace be upon you – اَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ
Wa’alaikumsalam – And peace be upon you – وَعَلَيْكُمُ السَّلاَمُ
Welcome – Ahlan wa sahlan – أهلا وسهلا
Hello – Marhaba – مَرْحَبًا
Good morning – Shabahalkhair – صباح الخير
Good afternoon – Masa’alkhair –مساء الخير
See you later – illal liqo – إلى اللقاء
Thank you – shukran – شكرا
You are welcome – ‘Afwan – عفوا
Yes – Na’am – نعم
No – Laa – لا
How are you? – Keif halak? (to a male)-كيف حالك
Keif halik? (to a female) كيف حالكِ
I am fine – Ana bi khoir –أنا بخير
Right direction – Yamin – يمين
Left direction – Yasar –يسار
There – Hinaak – هناك
Here – Hinaa – هنا
Walk – Amsyi – امشي
Go – Ruuh – روح/ اذهب
Go straight – ‘Alatuul – على طول/ إلى الأمام
Sit – Ajlis – اجلس
Get up – Qum – قم
Don’t sit here – Laa tajlis hinaa – لا تجلس هنا
May I ? – Mumkin – ممكن؟
Please – Tafadhdhal – تفضل
Toilet – Hammam/daura miyah-حمام/ دورة المياه
Market – Souq – سوق
How much this…? – Bi kam hadzi – بكم هذه ؟
How much that one? – Bi kam hadza – بكم هذا
Expensive – Ghaali – غالي
Cheap – Rakhiis – رخيص
Number – Argam
(1)- واحد –Waahid – (2) – ثانية –Ithnayn – (3) – ثلاثة thalaathah – (4) – أربعة Arba’ah – (5) – خمسة Khamsah – (6)- ستة Sittah – (7) – سبعة Sab’ah – (8) – ثمانية Thamaniyah – (9) – تسعة Tis’ah – (10) – عشرة ‘Asharah
(20) عشرين ‘-Isyriin – (30) ثلاثين – Thalathin – (40) اربعين – Arba’iin – (50) خمسين – Khamsiin – (60) ستين – Sittiin – (70) سبعين – Sab’iin – (80) ثمانين – Thamaniin – (90) تسعين – Tis’iin – (100) مائة – Mi’ah – (500) خمس مائة – Khamsu mi’ah – (1000) ألف – Alf – (2000) ألفين Alfain – (3000) ثلاثة ألف – Thalaathata Alf – (4000) أربعة ألف – Arba’ata Alf – (5000) خمسة ألف – Khamsata Alf.
I hope this brief description is helpful for those who want to start learning basic Arabic.
May Allah make it easy and bless His servants who love to seek knowledge by learning the Arabic language.