Days of the Week in Arabic (& How to Memorize Them)

Whether you’d like to schedule an appointment, make plans with friends, or talk about the past, the Arabic days of the week are among the basic words for anyone learning Arabic.

While some aspects of the Arabic language can be challenging to learn, the Arabic days of the week will be an easy one. That’s because Arabic days follow a pattern, and once you understand that pattern, memorizing them will be a walk in the park.

In this article, I’m going to tell you all you need to know about the days of the week in Arabic and how to write and pronounce them correctly. As usual, I’m also including some examples and interesting cultural information for you.

Arabic Days of the Week Translation

5 Things to Know on the Arabic Week

Before we look at the days of the week in Arabic, let me introduce you to a few cultural aspects that you should know when learning the Arabic days. Many of them don’t only apply to the Middle East, but you’ll also encounter them in some other Islamic countries.

1. The Arabic Week Starts on Sunday

In many parts of the world, the week starts on Monday. Whether you’re in the US or in Europe, open up your agenda, and you’ll most likely see Monday as the first day of the week. Many offices operate from Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday being the weekend.

In the Middle East, things look a little different. Unlike most Western countries, the Arabic week starts on Sunday, not Monday. When you open up an Arabic agenda, you’ll see Sunday as the first day of the week. If you’ve ever wondered why many online agendas ask whether your week starts on Sunday or Monday, it’s because that’s how it’s done in all Arab countries and many other Islamic countries.

2. Islamic Lunar Calendar

Events such as Ramadan are based on the Islamic lunar calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is used in large parts of the world and runs from January to December, consisting of 365 days a year. The Islamic calendar on the other hand is slightly shorter (355 days).

While the names of the months and the number of days in a year differ in the Islamic lunar calendar, the number of days in a week remains the same. The Arabic week also consists of 7 days. The seven-day week originated as early as the 4th century A.D.

3. No Uppercases for Arabic Days

In many languages (such as English), days of the week start with a capital letter (e.g. on Sunday…). However, the Arabic alphabet doesn’t differentiate between uppercase and lowercase letters. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about capitalization in Arabic.

4. Friday is the Holy Day

While we say “happy Friday” in the US and still have to spend the entire day at the office, Fridays are truly a day of happiness in the Arabic week.

In the Middle East, Friday is considered the holy day of the week, equivalent to Sunday in Western countries. However, Fridays in the Middle East don’t mean you can’t do anything!

In countries like Germany, there are strict laws regarding shop opening hours. Almost all shops are closed on Sundays, the holy day of the week, and the streets are very empty. You can’t even think about washing your car or doing groceries on a Sunday because everything is closed. Other Western countries don’t have such strict laws regarding opening hours or Sundays.

In the Middle East, Fridays are (almost) like any other day of the week. Governmental institutions, schools, and banks are closed on Fridays (and Saturdays), but shops remain open as usual.

What’s special about Arabic Fridays is that the so-called Friday prayer holds great significance in Islam, the predominant religion in the Middle East. Many Muslims attend the Friday prayer at the mosque in the early afternoon. Fridays are also popular days for important events such as weddings.

5. The Arabic Weekend is on Friday and Saturday

As mentioned above, the Arabic week starts on Sunday, not Monday. Fortunately, the weekend also begins a day earlier, with Friday and Saturday being the weekend.

Friday is the first day of the weekend. Most people start their weekend by enjoying a lavish breakfast or running errands, going to barber shops, or catching up on tasks they couldn’t do during the week. Many people also attend the Friday prayer at the mosque.

Saturday is the second day of the weekend. Similar to Fridays, Saturdays in the Middle East feel like any other day of the week. In most Arab countries, grocery stores, shops, museums, and tourist attractions are open 7 days a week. However, governmental institutions, embassies, and banks are closed on Fridays and Saturdays, which are part of the Islamic weekend.

With Friday and Saturday being the weekend, Sunday marks the beginning of the Arabic week and is a regular working day.

Days of the Week in Arabic

Below is an overview of the days of the week in Arabic. The Arabic days of the week follow a pattern and have meaningful names. As mentioned earlier, Sunday is the first day of the week in the Middle East. The Arabic equivalent for Sunday is “el ahad,” which means “the first.” Monday, the second day of the week, is called “el ethneen,” meaning “the second.” The other days follow the same pattern, with Friday being the only exception to this pattern.

The Latin script can help you with the pronunciation if you can’t read Arabic. Learning the Arabic alphabet will greatly help you with the correct pronunciation of Arabic words.

Note that the transcription of the words reflects the pronunciation in Levantine Arabic. This is the dialect that people in countries like Lebanon, Syria and Jordan use on a daily basis. Check out my article on Arabic dialects to learn more on the differences between the different varieties of Arabic.

English EquivalentArabic (Latin Script)Arabic (Arabic Script)
Sundayel ahadالأحد
Mondayel ethneenالأثنين
Tuesdayel thulathaالثلاثاء
Wednesdayel arbe’aالأربعاء
Thursdayel khameesالخميس
Fridayel jouma’aالجمعة
Saturdayel sabetالسبت

Examples

The rules regarding prepositions and plurals for the days of the week are much simpler in Arabic compared to English. Below are a few examples showcasing the Arabic days of the week in complete sentences.

English EquivalentArabic (Latin Script)Arabic (Arabic Script)
The Arabic week starts on Sundayel osbou’ el arabi bebalish youm el ahadالأسبوع العربي ببلش يوم الأح
I go to the gym on Tuesdays (every Tuesday)ana barouh a’al nadi kol thulathaانا بروح عل نادي كل ثلاثاء
Wednesday is my favorite day of the weekyoum el arbe’a howa youmi el mufadalيوم الأربعاء هو يومي المفضل

Learn Arabic with me!

Looking for more expressions in Arabic, or are you interested in Arab culture? You’ve come to the right place! This blog is about all things Middle Eastern. You’ll find plenty of useful articles here to immerse yourself in the Arabic language, culture and cuisine.

Be sure to check out my guide on what Arabic dialect to learn, my handy Arabic alphabet chart or just browse my Arabic language learning resources.

Any questions or feedback? Leave me a comment in the comment section down the page. I’d love to hear from you!

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