Friday, November 30, 2012

Cairo Traffic is Ballet for Cars

Asalamu Alaykom,

This Thursday morning, I spent from 9:00 until 10:30 going from Al-Haram to Maadi.  On a normal day, the trip across the Nile would take 45 minutes at the most.  Yesterday?  An hour and a half.  Even a normal person would get a case of claustrophobia from such an experience.  There are no off-ramps.  You are stuck.  I truly relied on remembrance of Allah to get me through the ordeal.  

I have spent a lot of time here sitting in traffic---we all do in Egypt!  When I stare out my window I notice things.  I love to see the decorations on the cars and truck.

Do you see the carved back to the truck's cab?  It's maybe a little confusing to your depth perception with the truck behind it overloaded with cauliflower.  It's cauliflower season now.

This has the decoration in the vehicle.  Micro bus drivers live many hours behind the wheel and create a home away from home for themselves.

Many have small LCD screens playing a video right next to them as they drive (which is not the most comforting thing to see as a passenger).

I enjoy seeing the artistic choices an ordinary person makes which turns the mundane into something extraordinary.  No one forces the driver to personalize his or her vehicle but they do.  They want to stand out in the crowd.

Every truck driver wants the proclaim they've got a Mercedes or a Chevrolet.  They all want to label their truck as, "JUMBO"  but many mislabel it as "JUMPO".  One truck yesterday was writing a Swahili greeting with "JAMBA"

If the driver is a dad, you'll see ABU or ABO and then their child's name.  This is their honorary title.  I can imagine how proud they are the day they tell the detailer to paint it across the front of their truck.

I love the name of Allah on vehicles.  I love that I live in a country where that is respected; not hated or feared.  No matter how long I've been waiting in traffic, I smile when I see Allah's name.

I also smile when I see the Quran on the dashboards.

If I see Arabic then I spend time trying to read it.  This says, "Bismallah".

Mr. Boo and I have a game of spotting English.  It helps us pass the time and hopefully improves his reading abilities.
I'm forever seeing an outline of a cool dude with the word xmen on his T-shirt.  I can't find an image for it on the 'net.  I don't think it has anything to do with Wolverine.

There's  Bushee '01 which is all over the place but I can't find an example of that either. I might have to go take some more pictures.  I don't even know what or who Bushee is.  I can't figure it out!

"Cowboy Up!" is one of the most popular decals you'll see.  It's slang which means to toughen up.  What's kind of amazing is that it's appropriate for anyone trying to brave the streets.

Many of the decals are not appropriate.

You'll see many variations of Calvin peeing.  I always hate getting into a taxi with a man who thought this was a great image for his business car.

Fido Dido is another favorite.

For some reason, the Apple Computers logo is considered cool.  It's all over Egypt as if someone created an app called "the car".

There's also a hand imprint, with the pointer finger a dot of red,  I don't have the exact graphic.  It actually says in English, "Hurt Hand" underneath.  To place a bloody hand print from the blood of a slaughter is considered a blessing on the object.  Not sure if that has anything to do with it.

There are pictures of a thumbs up.  No blood on this hand!

There are footprints.

All of those are plentiful.

Every now and then I'll see a logo I recognize from my life before.  It always makes me chuckle to see some old friends.

 I've sat in taxis with "Mrs. Fields"

 and with "Lysol".

Really, a lot of the reason for a logo appearing doesn't have to do with meaning.  It has to do with the look of the writing.  Actually, the fonts are cool.

For those of you who want to laugh at those stupid Egyptians, let me remind you of all the Chinese and Japanese lettering we Americans find fascinating---yet we can't read it or make sense of it.  There is a way to appreciate lettering for the artistic value alone.  Islam teaches us to value the written word and to honor those who write.  Subhanallah, I never thought I'd look at American logos with this appreciation.

One of the amazing parts of traffic in Egypt is the variety.  It isn't just trucks laden down with produce (and a man sitting down next to it to guard it).

It's live animals zooming past you like these sheep...

or these cows.

When Mr. Boo and I would exit our former school's gates, sometimes we'd see these animals heading down the road.  I'd tell him it was a, "sheep taxi," or a, "cow taxi," and that we could catch a ride if we were able to baah or moo.  He didn't believe me (smart kid).

I need to get a picture of camels in a truck.  That's an amazing sight.  They are all sitting down and the only thing you see are their long necks rising out of the trucks as they look about with their inquisitive eyes.

Close your ears if you don't want to hear me but those camels are not going to be a tourist's ride at the Pyramids.  Just like the sheep and the cows, the camels are going to get slaughtered.  We eat camel meat at our house on average once a week.  It's a real mild flavor.

As an aside, the Prophet Muhamad (pbuh) told the Sahabi to make wudu again after eating camel meat.

In addition to animals, there are earth movers...

school buses...

and tour buses. 

When I see those tourists looking out their windows at the place I live, I feel sorry for them.  They don't seem to be enjoying their experience.  I rarely see anyone smile.  Mostly, they look scared or tired.  I tell Mr. Boo to wave to them.  I told my husband not to wave to them as I knew that would only worry them more.  When they snap pictures of me I have to laugh since I'm not a good example of an Egyptian.

This is what I wish the tourists could see. 

I wish they could see the smiling children of Egypt riding their horses.  It would be unheard of in America to allow these young boys to ride in the middle of traffic, yet somehow it's fine here.  It's carefree and fun.  It's a huge amount of independence.  Honestly?  Just for a moment, wouldn't you love to be one of these happy kids?

The roads are filled with these carts too.

Egypt has so many hard-working men and women who eek out a living by selling what they can.  I'm really proud of such people.  They aren't in Tahrir.  They don't have time to protest.  They simply make a life by doing what they can to earn halal risq; blessed earnings.

Here's a picture which needs some explaining.  

Do you see the donkey?  It's pulling a cart with two huge bags but they aren't heavy.  Those bags are filled with plastic bottles.  The boy on the cart is recycling and he will dig through the trash to find what he needs to help his family survive.  It's dirty work for sure yet I really respect him for saving Egypt from itself.  Without recyclers, I believe that our landfills would be double or triple in size.

There's another story in the picture as well.  Do you see the trucks waiting by the side of the road?  They are waiting in a wedding caravan.  The trucks are piled high with the goods that the fiance has been slowly stockpiling for months and even years.  It isn't easy to get married in Egypt.  The man must have purchased an apartment, the furniture, the appliances, and all the household goods.  This shows the women and children sitting amongst the goods ready to go.

Right after this picture, yelling erupted.  There was one woman who was very mad about something.  I think it was about which truck back she had to commandeer.  She wouldn't listen to anyone no matter how much they shouted at her.  Someone in the group called over the family elder and he quietly reasoned with her.  She got out of the truck and the caravan then started on its way to the new apartment.

Egypt!  Really, I find Egypt fascinating.  If people utter a sentiment like that, usually they mean Ancient Egypt.  For me, I find modern Egypt just as worthy of study.

Many visitors to Egypt lament the traffic.  It's a problem to be sure.  Yesterday, I had to deal with the traffic up close and personal.  However, I also found a way to find the beauty in the moment and to remember and praise Allah.  

There's a kind of Divine choreographing going on with so many people and plans coverging.  Thousands of people want to be in the same place at the same time.  To someone else it is a chaos.  To me, I see the artistry in the moment.  Cairo traffic is ballet for cars.  Everyone finds a way to make it work and to keep flowing through the crowded streets.  There's a kindness towards each other and an acceptance of fate because we're all in this together.    

Alhumdulillah for journeys and for returning home safely.  May all your journeys help you find your way.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Asked

Asalamu Alaykom,

Friday, November 23, 2012

Job Search and Rescue

Asalamu alaykom,

I'm very happy to report some good news.

I got a job.


What's so amazing to me is that it is better than I could have wished for.  That is the Greatness of God; when you lose something and have it replaced by better---and it isn't just better than you's better than you could have EVER imagined.  Subhanallah.

Inshahallah, I will be teaching English to high school students at an international school on this side of the Nile.  I had wanted to make a switch to teaching upper grades a year ago but was thwarted by my then principal.  She was determined to keep me where I was.

When I left my former school for a new school it was in order to please Allah.  I never would have left the school for an increase in money or status.  I left the international school where I was teaching to go to an Islamic school.  Yet, after a month it was abundantly clear that chaos was running amok in the building.  That opportunity was cut short through no fault of my own.  That was hard.  It's always hard for me to make decisions in order to get closer to Allah and then be without worldly comforts.  Yet, journeys of faith require that of us---even in modern times.  We need to feel empty before The Spirit can fill us up.

So, I searched both outwardly and inwardly for what really mattered.  I learned a lot.  It reminded me of the summer of 2001 when I searched for so much and started to find Islam.  There are similarities in those times and I should write down reminders of what I did to achieve better.

Lessons Learned from a Search

Limit the down time of confusion and asking "Why?"  Nothing lasts forever.  If something just ended for you then it was meant to end.  Alhumdulillah for the new chance at redefining what you want.

Clean up your life in terms of what's around you; in your home, in your inbox, in your finances.  If someone owes you money, ask for it.  If you owe someone money, repay it.  If you need to get forgiveness, ask for it. If you need to forgive, do it.  Wipe slates clean and be free from problems and dirtiness.

Think if you judged someone unfairly---even if you never spoke it aloud.  Maybe you once thought someone was less than you yet in this new moment they have more than you.  Use this time to ask forgiveness from Allah for putting on airs.  Remember that "But for the Grace of God go I".

Focus your life on what really matters.  This is not about what others try to tell you is important.  What they think and feel might not be true for you.  Really dig down and know who you are and what you need; not what you want.  Wants are different.  I might want a million dollars but I don't need that.  Figure out how much money you need in a month.  Figure out how much time you need with your family.  Decide if you'd be willing to move or to shift your days to nights.  Think who you are and how you can deconstruct your life to rebuild more of the life you need.

Eliminate options which are not for you.  Pray istakarah and follow whichever way seems open for you.  Don't keep the entire buffet of choices open.  If you know something will never work, then put some plastic wrap on it.  You can't be swirling around limitless ideas in your head.  You will go insane.  You must admit when something doesn't speak to you.  One way to know that something isn't right  is to feel if you have inaction.  If you can't get your body there then your soul isn't into it.  Now, it might be that later it makes sense.  So, you don't have to remove it altogether.  Just be realistic when, "the now" tells you that it doesn't feel possible.

Connect to those people who you love and trust in your family and your past workplaces.  I looked up a woman I hadn't seen in 20 years.  For real!  She became one of my references in this hiring process.

I'll tell you a story which you might not believe (but if you're a long-time reader I think you will).

I re-connected with a former co-worker.  I had never really let our relationship drop.  I would call up and check in.  A month went past and I sent an email letting her know that I was still looking and wondered if she had heard of any openings in the area.

She emailed me back that the school where I had previously worked had just hired someone in the middle school to teach English.  I was shocked.  How could that happen?  How could she not have recommend me?  That was my first response.  I was allowing my hurt and fear to control my mind.  I was letting the feeling of lack tell me that I had lost a chance---when in fact it was never mine.

So, I wrote her back a nice email and I focused on something really wonderful in her email instead.  This lady isn't Muslim yet  she had told me that she was reading a biography of The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  I decided to do a little dawah with this American teacher.  I wanted to share a hadith; saying from the Prophet about education.  I wanted to get it just right so I searched it on the internet and found it:

"Acquire knowledge. 
It enables its possessor to distinguish right from wrong; 
it lights the way to Heaven; 
it is our friend in the desert, 
our society in solitude, 
our companion when friendless, 
it guides us to happiness; 
it sustains us in misery; 
it is an ornament amongst friends;
and an armour against enemies." 

The whole website looked good.  I skimmed through it to make sure that the information would be understandable for her.  I sent her the email with that link.  Then I went back to look some more.

I was drawn to a list of revert stories.  There were some of the usual reverts:  Yusef Islam, Yusuf Estes, and Sheik Hamza Yusuf.  You revert bros really love Nabi Yusuf/Joseph (peace be upon him)!  I saw a woman's name I recognized.  I clicked on the link and read her story.  Was it her?  That sure would be strange if it was!

So,  I emailed that American Muslimah in Cairo who has the same name and asked her.  Sure enough, she emailed me back and told me that her revert story is on the website.  That website was one I had never visited before.  I had only found it in my attempt to help the American teacher learn more about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

I had connected with this woman before in her role as headmistress during my job search.  Though I didn't want to work at her school, we remained friendly; sisterly even, with each other.  When I emailed her, she let me know that there was a new site where some jobs were getting listed.  She gave me the link.

When I went to the site, I was stunned to see a job for a school I had toured a month ago.  At that time, there was nothing.  I had emailed my resume (or "my CV" as they say in Egypt) and had heard nothing.  There had been a dead-end.  Yet, unbelievably, this sister had shown me the way to find a job posting from them.

Most sincerely, I found my current job through the Grace of God.  If you read that story, you can't help but agree that God worked through my good intention of making dawah.  If I had been pulled inward, or grumbled at my fate, or wondered "Why her and not me?" then I never would have gotten this gift of employment.

Craft yourself into somebody special and spectacular.  When I presented myself I truly could have made myself sound like a bum.  Yet, I don't believe I'm on this earth to be lowly.  I'm here to be uniquely me.  No one can be me.  I'm the best me that can be!  That's not just positive pep-talk.  That's accurate.  No one else has what you have.  You simply have to spin it.  You have to work it into one incredible presentation.  You show it in your CV.  You show it in your profile picture (a must in Egypt).  You show it in your interview.  You know the key points which make you special and noteworthy and more qualified for the job and you hit those points like a pundit on Fox News.

Know your worth and don't sell yourself short.  I was offered 1,000 LE from one of the schools.  The principal knew me from my former school and was so excited to think of offering me a position only to hear from the owner of the school a ridiculous sum.  1,000 would be what a hall monitor gets paid at my former school.  That didn't mean the owner was trying to insult me.  He simply didn't know my worth.  I did.  Another school offered me 3,000 LE a month.  That still is barely livable in Egypt.  It certainly isn't what I feel good in taking.

It's important in Egypt to keep your salary where you need it and never accept a job much below what you are worth.  This is truer in Egypt than in America.  If I had accepted either offer as a stop-gap measure then I would have never been able to sell myself as top-notch again.  You can talk to everybody but don't believe everybody.

Keep buoyant.  "Don't let the turkeys get you down," is one of my dad's favorite sayings to me over the years.  It's true!  Things in motion stay in motion.  You must remain hopeful and patient.  If you feel yourself going down then figure out what makes you rebound.  Maybe you need a giggle on the phone with a friend.  Maybe you need a hug from the hub.  A funny movie!  Or maybe you need to go to the bookstore (which we did three times during this lull).  Doing a little retail therapy is OK if you acknowledge it for what it is.  Eating something delicious is good too as long as you have it as a special treat and not as a pig out.  Remember that life is enjoyable.

Keep it going.  Keep the flow.  Sure, you can leave the dishes in the sink for a day but not a week.  You can stay in jammies one day but shower up that night and look presentable by dinner.  If you get too far away from a schedule you will feel crazy.  One of the best ways to "keep it going" is by adhering to the five daily prayers---especially fajr prayer.  You need to structure your days and your weeks.  Searching isn't a quick fix.  It's an overhaul.  You need energy from sleeping right, eating right, getting out in the fresh air and being social.  Don't become an unwashed, unlovable hermit.

Avoid envy of others who have what you want.  This was hard for me.  I fought inside myself the feelings of jealousy towards the teachers who had classrooms while I didn't.  I avoided the teacher who still had a KG class back at the Islamic school.  Finally, I made the effort and chatted with her.  Actually, we had this great time and I'm so glad I could get over myself.  She was just a person.  She wasn't responsible for me losing my job.  She was stuck with being overly responsible since I left.  She and I could still connect and understand each other on many levels.  My avoidance of her was needless.

Be ready to drop everything and do what you need.  "Can you come for an interview tomorrow?" always needs to be met with "YES!  I'd love to!"  So, have the clothes you need washed and pressed the night before.  I had one awful experience of not having my skirt pressed and the electricity went out.  I was actually heating up a pan on the gas stove and then trying to heat up the iron on top of that.  It was laughable!  It didn't work.  Thankfully, the electricity came on again at the last moment.  It's also good to have the resume/CV printed out ahead of time.  Have all your work papers in a file.  Make sure that you have current phone numbers and email for references along with their knowledge and permission to use their names.

Gain information about your field.  Take every experience as a positive.  I learned so much about Egyptian schools.  I learned so much from every interview.  I'm grateful for the knowledge.

You will never regret learning.  You might not always like what you learn.  I wasn't happy, for instance, to find out how many Egyptian schools are run for profit first and foremost with little regard to education.  You can keep in mind that every place you visit (whether on the web or in person) will build upon your knowledge and help you make better decisions.

I showed up to schools and simply asked to meet with someone.  It's very hard to call around Egypt and face-to-face works better.  I took tours of schools as a mom...who, by the way, is a teacher if you need one.

In 2001, when I was looking to get into real estate back in America, I asked for "informational interviews" at a couple of offices.  I made an appointment with the managers of those offices and talked with them about what I could offer and how they saw me fitting into a real estate office.  Neither had any openings.  Yet, when the large regional office had a great job open up, one of those managers recommended me based on our time together.  It was an awesome opportunity which opened up because I had knocked.

See the big picture.  I kept seeing how my salary was only part of the equation.  Money truly isn't everything.  There was my son's tuition to think about.  Some schools were able to wave tuition if I accepted.  Some schools could only offer a 25% discount.  The school which now employs me offers 70% which is amazing (however it pays me less than the schools before).

There was transportation to think about too.  If I was traveling over the Nile every day to get to an upscale school in Maadi, I was going to add three hours to our day.  If I calculated those three hours as part of my time at work, then all of a sudden that higher wage wasn't any better than the lower wage I could get within my neighborhood.  I hate waiting needlessly.  Sitting in Cairo traffic is one of the biggest pains ever.  I made a decision not to keep looking in Maadi.

Remember the long-term even as you feel that you have to meet your daily needs.  I didn't want to simply get a seat in second grade for Mr. Boo.  I wanted to ensure a trajectory into high school as well---and even BEYOND high school.  Which school really fostered his sense of self?  Which school made getting into university easier for him?  Which prepared him for a successful life?

Let go of some preconceived notions.  I had thought that I had to honor my hijrah by moving us to an Islamic school.  This fall, when that Islamic school was so wrong for us, I interviewed at another and had another horrible experience.  I had to really look at the truth staring me in the face and whacking me upside the head.  Building up my Muslim son might have to be at a secular school.  I prayed about it and was given the chance to go back on something I had once held as crucial.

Be grateful for the time, for the chance, for the breaking down and the building up.  Don't wish away the chance to be at loose ends.  It's only through the pulling apart of our lives in times of transition that we can weave another dream of who we want to be.

Thanks to all of you who read this blog and who have been keeping us in your prayers and good thoughts.  I know I'm not alone in this world.  I know people do care.  I'm grateful for you.

Be open to God's plan.  Last week, I went to Twitter and started typing to ask for prayers.  Why not?  I needed some help.  They had narrowed the search down to two people.  I said I needed a "prayer push".  However, I stopped myself from asking for a specific outcome.  No, if God didn't want that school for me then I didn't want it either.  In the end, I tweeted how I wanted to be able to accept God's plan.

Alhumdulillah, acceptance is our everything.  You might want a thing which is bad for you but God knows better.  God knows the seen AND the unseen.  Do what you can and then trust that God knows best.

God is The Greatest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Egyptian Teaches English

Asalamu Alaykom,

This very short cartoon captures pretty effectively how ineffective Egyptian teachers are at teaching English.  Though it's funny, it's very accurate.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Learning Arabic Numbers

Asalamu Alaykom,

Let's be productive and learn some Arabic.

Granted, I'm not The World's Best Arabic Teacher.

Sometimes, however, not being good at something means that you've found a lot of techniques to cope with your inability.  These coping mechanisms for memorizing Arabic numbers I can pass on to you.

Lots of times we don't tackle new things because we assume it will be too hard; like those times when we read a news article with a tricky name.  We gloss over that strange set of letters because it's not familiar.  We ignore what could make us smarter.  We limit ourselves---not because it actually is too hard but because jumping over the chance to learn is too easy.


Arabic numbers really aren't that difficult.  Afterall, like our Western version of numbers (which we call "Arabic"), there are only 10 possibilites.  It's a limited scope.

This is from a phone app in which you can learn Arabic numbers.  Here is the link if you're interested.

If you take a look at the numbers listed above on the chart you'll recognize a few.  However, only two of them stand for the same numbers used in the West.

This looks like one and has the same value as one.

This looks like nine and has the same value as nine.

So, actually you don't have to learn 10 numbers.  You already know two numbers in Arabic!  Yaay for you!

There is another number which LOOKS like a number you know but it's not.  That's something that has taken me a while to get used to as I shop in Egypt.

That circle

is NOT a zero.  Think of it as a fist.

How many fingers are in that fist?



Okay, we can't see all five of his fingers but we are going to hope that he's not had any chainsaw accidents.

So, that circle stands for five.

If that big circle stands for five, then what stands for zero?

I want you to imagine something very small----smaller than a zero.  Imagine a little dot.

THAT is zero; just a little dot!

On the set of numbers I showed you above, they didn't show the zero and that's too bad.  The numbers we need to teach are 0-9.  That's true in both number systems.  When you realize that those are the numbers (and not 1-10) it makes everything easier.  I'm constantly amazed as an elementary teacher how many number displays eliminate the zero.  ZERO is key to understanding how the number one can become a ten.

Here's the number ten in Arabic.

That's what you see on the chart above.

I could also display it like this:

Time for a little test!

What's this number?

Remember that even though the Arabic letters are read from right to left, Arabic numbers are read just like our Western numbers.  So...this is...


Good!  (You did get that right, didn't you?)

Last one...

Come on!  If you can't tell me this number...

Psst!  It's the same number in the West...

Yes!  It's nineteen!

If your brain hurts, stop here and come back another day.

If you feel brave, like a kilted Scottish warrior, carry on!


You can see that number and know it's a number two, right?

This is how the number two looks when it's lying down.

What if it stood up so it was more vertical than horizontal?

Can you still see that it's a number two?

The same is true for the number three.

This is how it looks when it lies down.

But this is how it looks when it stands up

Yes, you can see see the number three...if you...kind of tilt your head to the right.  Go ahead and try that.  No one's looking. Do it fast though, because you're supposed to look like you're busy writing that report.

Now you can see that the number three is little.  It's not big.  You know who is bigger?

Four!  Four is bigger than three.  Okay, I know that it looks like a backwards three but that's because it's a little on the immature side (like most 4-year-olds).  It is, I insist, a four.  It's big!  It's a four.  It's just might seem like a three...but it's not.  


are little.  They like to lie down and take naps


Can you also plainly see what number this is?  It's the number 23

Hey, Two and Three!  WAKE-UP!  I'M TRYING TO TEACH HERE!

Thank you.  Now that they are standing straight up, can you still see that it's the number 23?

What's this number?

Three.  Four.

Thirty-four!  34 is the correct answer.

Do you remember this number?

It's a five.

Let's review


One, Two, Three (though in Arabic they'd be lined up coming from the right to the left)

Four, Five


Okay, now six is going to be another one of those numbers which LOOKS familiar.

I know it looks like a seven but it's NOT.  It's a six.  

It's a six!  Really.  It is.  It's trying to fool you into thinking it's a seven but it's a six.   

THIS is a seven. 

Two fingers up like victory.  Try it yourself.  Yaay!  It's a seven.  It's cool.  You know how people feel good about lucky number seven?  They feel so good about it that they want to raise their fingers up.

  Miley loves seven.

Will Smith loves seven.

President Obama loves seven.

Okay, basically everybody loves seven.


Put your two fingers down.

It's an eight.

Up is seven...

And eight is down.  If you know the alphabet for ASL (American Sign Language), you'll remember how"G" is up and the same fingers going downward is "Q".  It works that wasy for  "K" being up and later "P" is the same fingers but going downward.  Whatever comes beforehand is up and whatever comes afterwards is down.  

And you already know nine.


It's a good idea to play around with the numbers.  Have fun with them!  Write them out.

Answer some questions on a pad of paper.  Refer to the lesons above. 

1.  How old are you?

2.  How long have you lived at your current address?

3.  If there's a big pizza in front of you, how many pieces can you eat without feeling too full?

Playing around with the numbers is key.  If you don't play then they don't stick.

Up until now, I haven't told you the names of the numbers.  So, with no further ado, here they are:

Can you read that?  The print is a little small.  

Here's another list of numbers.  This one goes all the way up to 20.

See how they left out sifr?  Sifr is zero.  Always forgotten!

You'll see that there are going to be different ways of spelling these number names phonetically.  Basically, you say it like you see it.

Here are the numbers on this book cover with the written Arabic and the transliterated Arabic.  Visuals help.  

I'm also going to post this video.  Yes, it's for kids but you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it.  I like how the numbers wahed and etneen are praying!

Go ahead and sing out the names of the numbers.  Moving your mouth helps your brain to remember.  Even if the song goes quickly, you can catch those moments to say the number names.


What's great is that if you know the number then you basically know the days of the week too.

The Word Collector did a post on it.

The days of the week in Arabic-speaking countries start with Sunday.  It's important to know this and commit this to memory.  The week ends on Saturday and the new week begins on Sunday.  So, the first day is Sunday.

  1. Sunday            Al-Aḥad
  2. Monday          Al-Ithnayn
  3. Tuesday          Ath-Thulaathaaʼ
  4. Wednesday    Al-Arba’aa’
  5. Thursday        Al-Khamīs
  6. Friday            Al-Jumu’ah
  7. Saturday        As-Sabt

Do you get it?  Most days of the week is only ever so slightly different than the numbers.  Friday would be the exception.  It means, "gathering" because that's when the Muslims gather together for communal prayer.

To speak very formally, you would say Yaom Al-Ahad, Yaom Al-Ithnayn  and so on.

Here's a video to help you with pronunciation.

Catchy tune, eh?  I bet you will never forget the number seven in Arabic now!

Time to review!

Please use the list of days to answer some simple questions.

1.  What day is it?
2.  What day is it tomorrow?
3.  Where you live, what is the first day of the work week?
4.  Which day do Jews have their sabbath or day of rest?
5.  Which day do Christians go to church?

I hope you were able to answer those questions.

Have you liked learning?  I feel so alive when I learn something new.  Alhumdulillah for the ability to absorb and remember information.  Truly, our brains are miraculous creations.  We might as well use them!

If you would like more, then check out There are free Arabic downloads available including number cards.  Mashahallah they are well done.  One thing I like with Studio Arabia is that I had trouble downloading the files, wrote to them and got an immediate email reply with the files.  That's very nice and appreciated.  

May Allah reward you for all the time you've taken to learn the language of The Holy Quran.

Light and Love!