Arabic Language Blog

Times of Day in Arabic Posted by on Apr 17, 2019 in Arabic Language, Culture, Vocabulary

In Arabic, you have your basic vocabulary words for morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night. Yet, people in Arabic speaking countries tend to use a few more. In Islam, there are five prayer times in a day. Each prayer has a name according to the time of day it is prayed. For Muslims who pray, their daily schedules revolve around these prayer times which in turn can influence everyone else’s schedules. Therefore, you’ll find that referring to the times of these five prayers in the Arab world is the norm.

Let’s first review the basic ones:

morning: صَباح    noon: ظُّهْر     afternoon: بَعْد الظُّهْر    evening: مَساء    night: لَيْل

Here are the five prayers and the times of day they are prayed. The word for prayer in Arabic is صلاة therefore, each name has the word صلاة with the time of day after it. But, when we’re just referring to the time of day, we can take out the word صلاة.

Salat al-fajr: صلاة الفجر  (dawn, before sunrise) فَجْر

Salat al-dhuhr: صلاة الظهر  (midday, after the sun passes its highest)  ظُّهْر

Salat al-‘asr: صلاة العصر  (the late part of the afternoon) عَصر

Salat al-maghrib: صلاة المغرب  just after sunset) مَغرِب

Salat al-‘isha: صلاة العشاء  between sunset and midnight) عِشَاءِ

Times of day in Arabic

Image provided by Yasmine K.

Here are some examples using times of day in Arabic:

I will see you tomorrow morning.   .سأراك صباح الغد

I’ll meet you at the restaurant just after sunset.   .سأقابلك بالمطعم بعد المغرب

I take a nap everyday between noon and late afternoon.   .أخذ قيلولة كل يوم بين الظهر والعصر

I wake up to study an hour before dawn.   .أستيقظ لأدرس ساعة قبل الفجر

I eat dinner after ‘isha prayer.   .آكل العَشاء بعد صلاة العِشاء

Note: the words “العَشاء” meaning dinner or supper and “العِشاء” look similar but one has a fetHa on the ع and the other a kesra.

Good evening!   !مساء الخير

The market stays open until night.  .السوق يبقى فاتحاً حتى اليل

Sometimes, you don’t know the exact time you’ll be able to visit someone or finish something, so using these words can give you a bit of leeway. For example,

I’ll do my homework between maghrib and ‘isha.   .سوف أعمل واجبي بين المغرب والعشاء  

I’ll visit you between dhur and ‘asr.  .سوف أزورك بين الظهر والعصر

I hope you found this interesting and useful. It’s always good to know words that people use on a daily basis. 😊

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About the Author: yasmine

MarHaba! I am half Jordanian of Circassian descent and half American. I have a Master's in Second Language Teaching and I teach Arabic as a foreign language here in the US, both MSA and Levantine Arabic. I hope to help you become more familiar and interested in the Arabic language and culture.


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