Where do the Arabic names of weekdays come from? Posted by Fisal on Dec 24, 2014 in Arabic Language, Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary
Ahlan أهــْــلاً Arabic lovers! In today’s post, I am going to discuss the meaning of the Arabic names of weekdays and where they came from. The weekdays, as they are known today, took some time along history until they reached the form known in the Arab world today.
Arabs did not have separate names for each day. They used the divide the month days according to the different phases of the moon and according to the amount of light it sheds. They used a word or phrase to describe each three days or nights. The first three nights (days) of the month were called “Ghorar غــُـــرر” which is the plural of “Ghorrah غــُـــرَّة” which in turn means the “beginning” of anything.
In a second stage, the Arabs followed in the footsteps of other nations and adopted the seven-day system of the week. However, they used to have their own names of the days:
1) Sunday الأحـــد /Al-Ahad/:
Arabs named it as “Awwal أوَّل” which translates as “First” and is derived from number “One واحــِــد” and means “The One الأحــد” which is also one of the 99 attributes of Allah (God).
2) Monday الإثــنــيــن /Al-Ithnayn/:
Literally means “Two اثــنــيــن” and is derived from number two and refers to the second day of the week. Arabs used to name it as “Ahwan أهــون“.
3) Tuesday الــثــُــلاثـــاء /Al-Thulathaa/:
It refers to the third day of the week and is derived from number “Three ثــلاثــة” in Arabic. Arabs used to name it as “Jubar جــبــار“.
4) Wednesday الأربــعــاء /Al-Arbo’aa/:
It refers to the fourth day of the week and is derived from number “Four أربــعــة“. Arabs used to name it as “Dubar دُبــار“.
5) Thursday الــخــمــيــس /Al-Khamees/:
It refers to the fifth day of the week and is derived from number “Five خــمــســة“. Arabs used to name it as “Mo’nis مــُــؤنــِــس“.
6) Friday الــجــُــمــْــعــَــة /Al-Jum’ah/:
The Arabic name means “gathering or assembly” and is derived from the Arabic root verb “to gather جــمــع“. It is known that Firday is the weekend holiday all over the Arab world and Muslims gather on this day for a congregation prayer and family visits. The Arabic name for Friday (Jum’ah) can also refer to the whole week in some Arabic contexts. Friday or Al-Jum’ah was mentioned once in the Holy Qur’an and there is a whole chapter or Surah named Al-Jum’ah. Arabs used to name the day as “Aroubah عــَــروبــَــة“.
7) Saturday الــســبــت /Al-Sabt/:
The name is derived from the root verb “to rest or hibernate ســبــت“. The name and its derivative verb were mentioned six times in the Holy Qur’an. Saturday is also a weekend holiday in some Arab countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Al-Sabt is almost identical with the Hebrew words Shabbat and Sabbath. Arabs used to name it as “Shabar شــبــار“.
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Peace ســَــلام /Salam/
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