August 19, 2008

Some Holiday Snaps – India & The Philippines

Filed under: Multimedia — abuaisha @ 5:57 am

Last December I was away for 4 or so months, I was invited to attend and take part in the Peace Conference in Mumbai, India which was hosted by the IRF and PeaceTV. Along with this I stayed also in the Philippines which was a beautiful place to visit.

Rather than tell you about it, I’ll let pictures do the talking for me. I’ve put a few of the photos from the Peace Conference up, for a look at all the photos click on the links below.

The stage all lit up

Salem al-Amry on stage

Ahmed Bukhatir and Zain Bhikha

Jumu’ah Prayer led by Sh. Muhammad Ayyub (Madeenah)


The Philippines


August 15, 2008

Arabic Transliteration… So many difficulties!

Filed under: Islamic Terms — abuaisha @ 8:15 am

As-Salāmu `Alaykum wa Raħmatullāhi wa Barakātuhu

or as I sometimes write:

As-Salaamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu

or maybe even

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

All of them are intelligible as being transliterations of ‘السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته’

It makes one wonder.. If there is only 1 way of spelling things in Arabic, then why are there so many ways to do so in Latin script (English)?

Well, the problem is that English is simply not the same as Arabic, Arabic has sounds that English does not have, and it has letters which have no equal in English.

Let me attempt to explain this.

When transliterating from another language, one would see that most languages contain many common sounds. For example almost every language I could think of has the sound ‘B’ and a letter (or letters) to write it. To use Russian as an example, one would write Б which when transliterated into English would simply become B. To look at Greek however there is no letter used for the sound ‘b’ rather 2 letters are placed together to represent it – M and P (M and Π in Greek) so the sound B is written as ‘ΜΠ’. When transliterating this one would simply still use ‘B’ as transliteration (as opposed to transcription) represents the sound and not the letters. If one were transcribing letter for letter they might write MP however this is obscure for the average person and requires a knowledge of Greek language to be able to comprehend it.

It is this distinction between transliterating and transcribing that causes many of the issues of Arabic transliteration which we commonly see. Many people tend to use a mix of both systems which ends up really only being intelligible to an advanced reader of Arabic, who doesn’t need to have a transliteration in the first place.

To take it further – As we mentioned Latin script lacks many of the sounds and cognate letters which Arabic has. Other languages however also contain such sounds and letters, so why is Arabic the one which causes the most hassles? Let’s use Russian again as an example to compare to. Russian contains the letter ‘Ж’ this is represented in the IPA as /ʒ/ (this is also known as the letter ‘ezh’). The sound exists in English, however there is no set letter to signify it. The d is found in the word ‘pleasure’. As there is no 1 letter available in English, what we find is that a letter H is added to a Z to act as a modifier, so we end up with ZH to transliterate Ж. The letter H is commonly used as a modifier, as in SH, CH, TH etc. This perhaps stems from its use in Classical Latin to aspirate a letter.

So what does this have to do with Arabic? Well, when we find Arabic letters with no Latin equivalent, this is what is usually done, a H is added to another letter to form a diagraph representing that sound. For example, the Arabic letter ذ is usually transliterated in the more orthodox transliterations as ‘dh’ probably stemming from the common transliteration from the similar sounding Greek letter Δ (Dhelta). So the word ذِكر would be written as ‘dhikr’. This works well and fine, until we realise that there are 2 other letters which are commonly transliterated with ‘dh’ of them are – ض and ظ. These 2 letters are both used only in Arabic, so there are no well known ways of transliterating them, so we must invent a new way to write them with Latin script.

If we follow the system of finding its common Latin equivalent and adding a H to it, we are in a mess, as the letter ظ is the pharangealised version of ذ so we cannot write now dh+h (dhh) as it becomes unnatural having so many h’s in a word, let alone if that letter were followed by a ه (h), then we would see ‘dhhh’!

So we then see that either we find an alternate way of writing ظ or we find another way of writing ذ. Some of the common alternatives are using đ, ð or δ all of which are used to write this sound in other scripts. One of the problems though is that they are not immediately recognisable, and adding a h after them seems extremely obscure (ðh ?), so one of the alternatives found being used is to underline the letter, so đ for example would be used for ذ, and đ for ظ. Following this scheme, ض then would become d.
One of the benefits of abandoning the use an added h in these cases is that its lessens the likelihood of encountering double h’s in words, for example a common sample of this seen is when transliterating the word مَذهَب, it is seen as madhhab. To make it clearer some break up the h’s with symbols such as – or ‘ (madh’hab, madh-hab) however this too causes issues especially as the ‘ symbol is used to transliterate the letter ء by almost all systems!

As you can see.. This is just a small sample of a few letters and why Arabic is just so hard to transliterate well into a well organised, sensical and aesthetic way. There are many complexities to take into account. Before I even think about diving into the deep end and tackling them, I will supply a list of commonly used ways to transliterate each Arabic letter, sorting them from most obscure to most common. This might help in demonstrating how certain letters are the reasons for all of the difficulties in transliteration.

(To be continued Inshaa’Allaah)


ب b


ثTH θ t th th

The letter Theta θ is taken from Greek as well as the IPA. Whilst it is accurate, it is also not well known and as such is too obscure to properly use.


حch x hh H h ħ

The letter ħ is used in both Maltese as well as the IPA. If one wants to avoid dots or underlining, it is an excellent choice due to its academic acceptance and precedence in Maltese. X is used in Somali, but is not well known and hence too obscure for wide use, as well as the fact that it is better known as a transliteration of the Arabic latter خ.  Ch is the common transliteration of the Hebrew letter Chet ח which is equivalent to the Arabic letter ح although it is also pronounced as Kh in modern Israeli pronunciation, so as such is not suitable, as well as obscure to most Arabic speakers who might confuse ch with the French transliteration of ش.

خKH x kh kh

The letter x is used in Chechen, Greek as well as the IPA, it is however still rather obscure. X is also used in Somali to represent the letter ح, in Oromo for t’, Latin/English for ks as well as Maltese and Catalan for sh. As such it is too ambiguous too take on any serious role in Arabic transliteration.


ذDH z dh dh ð đ

ð is used in the IPA as well as scandinavian languages and resembles the Greek letter dhelta. However it is still rather unknown and obscure looking. As such đ is a good replacement in that it resembles that letter as is only ambiguous to speakers of Vietnamese who use it for the letter d. Z should be completely avoided as it is a mispronunciation common amongst some Arabic speakers as well as most Turkish, Central Asians and Sub-continent speakers.




شSH ch š sh sh

š is common to eastern Europeans to represent sh, it is also used in the official Saudi French translation of the Qur’an, which means it is widely known, however it is still seemingly obscure and does not have any other cognate in Arabic transliteration eg. č ž

صS ş s s

s (or with a dot below) is by far the most commonly used and widely understood. ş should be avoided as it is used in Turkish to represent sh.

ضZ DH D đ dh dh d

Z should be avoided as it is a mispronunciation. dh and d are the most common and widely understood.

طT th ţ t t

ظDH DH Z Z D D TH TH th th dh dh đ

Whilst Z is perhaps the most commonly used, it is based upon a mispronunciation of the letter (as a Z). đ is perhaps the most accurate if one uses đ for ذ as the 2 are related (it is the pharyngealised version of  ذ)

عAA ^ ‘ c ³ ` ʢ ʽ ʿ ˤ ˁ `
3 is used, however it is very informal, part of a ‘chat alphabet’ more than any serious transliteration scheme. c is used in Somali however seems obscure, even though ʿ (superscript c) is used by linguists regularly for the `Ayn (reverse glottal stop). ˤ is becoming common and is good to be used, however ` being easily accesible on keyboards is perhaps the easiest and most commonly used and hence understood.

غGH ĝ ġ g gh gh


قK k q


ل l





when preceded by an Aai ay
when preceded by an Iie ē ee ii i î í ī
when preceded by a Uui uy

ى when preceded by an I ie ē ii i ĩ í î ee ī
when preceded by an AA ã â aa ā

ةH T ʰ t/h

ء – ‘

َ (fatħa)a

ِ (kasrah)i

ُ (dammah)u

July 16, 2008

Muslim Urban Legends – The Saudi Bible Ban

Filed under: Muslim Urban Legends — abuaisha @ 5:56 am

There seems to be an idea being spread, especially amongst the misguided Islam-bashers on the internet that along with the many things forbidden in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is supposedly forbidden also to bring a copy of the Bible into the country. No real reasoning is needed of course as its well-known that Saudi Arabia is a puritanical, fundamentalist, extremist society. Isn’t that justification enough?

Well.. I guess for those who don’t mind the truth getting in the way of a story and who wants to have a few easy cracks at the Saudis that its very easy to take this ‘report’ as fact. However for anybody like myself who has been to Saudi Arabia and plans to go there again, it would be a decent thing to do to check up on this. For even us Muslims are likely to be carrying a Bible for whatever reason, I myself on my last trip overseas carried with me not 1, but 2 Bibles, along with about 10 or so other Christian books. So, lets try to ascertain the facts behind this tale:

The Saudi Bible Ban

Before searching through any government or travel websites, I remembered a video I had watched some time ago, it was of Ahmad Deedat giving a public talk in the city of Ta’if, Saudi Arabia. As part of his talk he was holding a copy of the Bible, as can be seen in the following video from YouTube:

So before any real research has been done, we can see that at least at some time in the past that Bibles have been allowed into Saudi Arabia, or at least Ahmad Deedat was allowed to do so.

Of course Ahmad Deedat would surely not have brought the Bible because he was a Christian, so let us then investigate further if just anybody is allowed to bring Bibles into the country.

Upon browsing Smartraveller, which is a website run by the Australian government, I easily found the following on its section regarding Saudi Arabia:

Preaching religions other than Islam may result in imprisonment and corporal punishment. The importation and use of alcohol, pork products, pornography (including images of scantily clad people, particularly women), religious books and materials (other than those reflecting orthodox Islam) is forbidden. Generally, individuals are able to bring one bible for private use.

What of course is not allowed is open proselytising to Muslims, as is widely known.

It seems that the only reports I could find of Bibles being confiscated were not by Saudis, but rather by non-Saudi non-Muslims!

The following report from the UK Telegraph details:

Stewardess ‘banned from taking bible on plane’

An air stewardess is claiming religious discrimination against an airline which she says banned her from taking the Bible to Saudi Arabia.

The stewardess has been told by BMI that it is against the law of the insular Middle Eastern country to bring in religious books other than the Koran.

The woman, who is understood to be a committed Christian, takes her bible everywhere she goes and is now set to take the airline to an industrial tribunal claiming discrimination on religious grounds.

BMI, formerly British Midland Airways, said today it was merely following the Foreign Office advice that no non-Islamic materials or artefacts are allowed into the country.

“A number of items are not allowed to be brought into the kingdom due to religious reasons and local regulations,” declares the Web site of Saudi Arabian Airlines, the country’s national carrier.

After informing would-be visitors that items such as narcotics, firearms and pornography may not be transported into the country, the Web site adds: “Items and articles belonging to religions other than Islam are also prohibited. These may include Bibles, crucifixes, statues, carvings, items with religious symbols such as the Star of David, and others.”

Those who were banning Bibles in the Kingdom in this case claimed to be doing so as per Saudi law, but later in the article it becomes clear that this understanding of Saudi law is only an ‘advice’ from the Foreign Office.

Another article from the Jerusalem Post quotes:

“A number of items are not allowed to be brought into the kingdom due to religious reasons and local regulations,” declares the Web site of Saudi Arabian Airlines, the country’s national carrier.

After informing would-be visitors that items such as narcotics, firearms and pornography may not be transported into the country, the Web site adds: “Items and articles belonging to religions other than Islam are also prohibited. These may include Bibles, crucifixes, statues, carvings, items with religious symbols such as the Star of David, and others.”

This time at least it is Saudis making the claim, but again it is not the Saudi government, but rather Saudi Airlines making the claim.

Perhaps these warnings are based upon the fear that anyone carrying a Bible might possibly be mistaken for a missionary, or maybe the rumour has become so well established that even these airlines are protecting their staff and passengers from its consequences?

Whatever the case may be, the law of Saudi Arabia stands in contrast to what others are saying. Bibles may be brought into the country as long as they are for personal use and not for proselytising (attempting to convert people).

July 15, 2008

Excerpts from ‘Don’t be Sad’

Filed under: Points of Benefit — abuaisha @ 7:37 am

Don't Be Sad - Dr. Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni

During the time when Sudan was a colony under the British Empire, a desert nomad came to the capital city, Khartoum. When he saw a British policeman walking in the centre of the city, he asked a passerby, “Who is that?” He was told that the man was a foreign policeman and that he was a disbeliever. The nomad asked, “A disbeliever in what?”, “A disbeliever in Allah”, was the reply. Living in the desert for so long, this man’s inborn nature – unspoiled by evil ideas – had remained intact, and so, when he heard something so absurd, it made him astonished and sick. He said, “And does anyone disbelieve in Allah!” He then grabbed hold of his stomach and vomited from sheer disgust at what he heard.

فَمَا لَهُمْ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ
What is the matter with them, that they believe not? [84:20]

In al-Qaseem, a newspaper printed in Syria, an article was written about a young man who booked a flight to travel abroad. He informed his mother of the flight time and asked her to wake him up a short time before departure. After he fell asleep, his mother heard on the radio that the weather conditions were awful and that the wind was blowing violently. The compassion that she felt for her only child caused her to not wake him up in the hope that he would miss the flight. When she was sure that the flight had taken off, she went to wake up her son. Upon entering his room, she found that he was lying dead on his bed.

قُلْ إِنَّ الْمَوْتَالَّذِي تَفِرُّونَ مِنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مُلَاقِيكُمْ ثُمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَالِمِالْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
Say (to them): ‘Verily, the death from which you flee will surely meet you, then you will be sent back to (Allah), the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will tell you what you used to do. [62:8]

Ibn Taymiyyah… was speaking to a member of a deviant Sufi sect. The man said to Ibn Taymiyyah, “Why is it that when we come to you (the people of the Sunnah), our miracles lose their effect and become useless? But, when we go to the Mongolian disbelieving Tatars, our miracles work?” Ibn Taymiyyah said,
“Do you know what the example of you, the Tatars, and us is? As for us, we are white horses. You are spotted horses, and the Tatars are black ones. When the spotted one enters upon a throng of black, he appears to be white. And when he enters upon a crowd of white, he appears to be black. Now, you have some remnants of light, and when you mix with the people of disbelief, that light becomes visible. But when you come to us, the people of the Sunnah who have greater light, your blackness and darkness is all that is left for you. And this is the example of you, The Tatars and us.”

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ ابْيَضَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ فَفِي رَحْمَةِ اللّهِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
And for those whose faces will become white, they will be in Allah’s Mercy (Paradise), therein they shall dwell forever. [3:107]

July 14, 2008

The Linguistic Meaning of the Word Qur’ān

Filed under: Islamic Terms — abuaisha @ 2:14 pm

The following is taken from the book ‘An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan‘ by Sh. Yasir Qadhi. It is published by Al-Hidaayah Publishing.

From Chapter 2 – The Qur’ān

The Linguistic Meaning of the Word Qur’ān

There are a number of different opinions concerning the linguistic meaning of the word Qur’ān.

The most popular opinion, and the opinion held by atTabarī (d. 310 AH), is that the word qur’ān is derived from qara’a, which means, ‘to read, to recite.’ Qur’ān then would be the verbal noun (masdar) of qara’a, and thus translates as ‘The Recitation’ or ‘The Reading.’ Allah says in reference to the Qur’ān

وَقُرْآناً فَرَقْنَاهُ
And it is a Qur’ān which We have divided into parts… [17:106]

and He says,

إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ فَإِذَاقَرَأْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ
It is for Us to collect it and to Recite it. When we have recited it, then follow its Recitation. [75:17-18]

On the other hand, Imam ash-Shafi’ī (d. 204 AH) held the view that the word Qur’ān was a proper noun that was not derived from any word, just like ‘Torah’ or ‘Injīl’. He recited the word without a hamza, such that ‘Qur’ān’ would rhyme with the English word ‘lawn’. One of the qira’at also pronounced it this way.

Another opinion states that the word Qur’ān is from the root qarana, which means ‘to join, to associate’. For example, the pilgrimage in which ‘Umrah and Hajj are combined is called Hajj Qiran from the same root word. Therefore the meaning of the word Qur’ān would be, ‘That which is joined together’, because its verses and sūrahs are combined to form this book. In this case, the word would be pronounced the same way as Imam Shafi’ī pronounced it, without the hamza.

A fourth opinion is that Qur’ān comes from the word qara’in, which means ‘to resemble, to be similar to’. Hence, the Qur’ān is composed of verses that aid one another in comprehension, and sūrahs that resemble each other in beauty and prose.

Yet another opinion is that Qur’ān is from qar’, which means ‘to combine’. It is called such since it combines stories, commands, promises and punishments.

However the opinion that is strongest, and the one that the majority of scholars hold, is the first one, namely that the word Qur’ān is the verbal noun of qara’a and therefore means ‘The Recitation’. The proof for that is that it is named such in the Qur’ān (and most of the qira’āt pronounce the word with a hamza), and the word conforms with Arabic grammar is the verbal noun of qara’a.

It may be asked: how does one explain the fact that some qira’āt pronounce the word Qur’ān without a hamza, as it is well known that all the qira’āt are equally authentic? The response to this question is that this particular pronunciation is due to the peculiar rules of recitation (tajwīd) of those qira’āt and affects many words. In other words, the qira’āt that pronounce the word Qur’ān without a hamza do not intend to change the pronunciation of the word Qur’ān itself, but rather this occurs due to a particular rule of recitation (tajwīd) that effects many words in the Qur’ān, including the pronunciation of the word Qur’ān. Therefore, even though the pronunciation of the word Qur’ān is different in the qira’āt, the actual word is still the same.

July 13, 2008

The Muzlim Fallacy

Filed under: Islamic Terms,Muslim Urban Legends — abuaisha @ 3:46 am

Some time ago I sat through a Jumu’ah Khutbah which while for the most part was good and beneficial, one thing that I heard from the Khateeb sounded a bit odd. This Masjid (or university musalla rather) was known to on occasion produce some weird khateebs however what this one said struck me as amazingly odd, for it was not true what he had said and was rather irresponsible, or at least that’s how I felt when I heard it. Usually Jumu’ah khutbas are known for ‘playing it safe’, its when the khateeb will address general issues and will not stray away from the generally expected themes of every other Jumu’ah.
On that certain Friday, the Khateeb was talking about dealings with non-Muslims and the need to inform them of our beautiful religion of Islām. All was well until he began to mention that whilst we must be polite with non-Muslims, if they were to offend us, we should not take their offence with simply a smile but rather we should correct them. All good and well, still no problems with what he was saying. Then he said – If a non-Muslim by chance refers to you as a ‘Muzlim’ as most non-Muslims tend to do, rather than a ‘Muslim’ you should immediately correct him, for even though he may not know it, he has actually offended you oh dear brother! I then began to wonder… Is this khateeb as pedantic as I when it comes to proper pronunciation of Arabic words? So much so that he would reprimand a non-native speaker for such a small error as this?! No.. Rather he explained to us, that this way of pronouncing Muslim as Muzlim changes the meaning of the word drastically. As we know a ‘Muslim’ is somebody who follows Islam, which translates approximately as ‘Submission unto God’. A ‘Muzlim’ however is somebody who is an oppressor. For you see he said, the word Muzlim comes from the word ظلم (Dhulm) which is commonly mispronounced as ‘Zulm‘. This word of course is not a not a nice word at all, it roughly translates as ‘Oppression’. Therefore the Khateeb was suggesting that we should not allow a non-Muslim to call refer to us as Muzlims, we should correct them and let them know they have offended us, then get on with the conversation once he has realised his error and fixed his dastardly ways.

What struck me almost immediately was that this person was telling us to correct the way that non-Muslims were pronouncing an Arabic word (ie. Muslim) yet he himself was doing the exact same thing before us! The word ‘Zulm‘ in Arabic doesn’t have any meaning, for the word which he meant to refer to is Dhulm. The verb z-l-m itself does hold certain meanings, most of which are rather positive, and as for مزلم (muzlim) it translates as ‘binding’. So our imaginary non-Muslim friend has actually not referred to us as oppressors, at worst he has called us ‘binding’, and to be honest I’d be confused rather than offended.

As for the word ‘oppressor’, in Arabic we take the word ظلم (oppression) and then make it into ظالم (Dhālim) to mean oppressor. And hey, to be honest, even if somebody not knowingly called me that I wouldn’t chastise him and ask him to apologise for it.

So I guess the first lesson in this is that especially when giving a Jumu’ah Khutbah or a public talk on Islām, we should always check our facts before saying anything lest we are wrong in what we say! How often do we hear something or read in an e-mail some amazing little fact such as this, yet we at times make no attempts to verify it. We should make further effort to perfect our Tajweed and pronunciation of Arabic words and also improve our Arabic language so that we might be able to access the wealth of knowledge lying hidden away in the libraries of the world. We can also learn that in giving Da’wah we must have wisdom. As Allāh says in the Qur’ān –

ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ
Call unto the way of your Lord with wisdom (16:125)

I hope that this might help in contributing to rectifying this Muslim urban legend, and that it will serve to benefit us and others in a good way. May Allāh bless you and and may we be thankful that he has made us of those who submit unto him (Muslims)!

July 8, 2008

The Taliban in Afghanistan (2001) Pt. 1 & Pt.2

Filed under: Multimedia — abuaisha @ 1:09 pm

July 6, 2008

The Months of the Islamic Calendar

Filed under: Islamic Terms — abuaisha @ 12:57 pm

The Islamic calendar is the calendar of Islam and is used by us Muslims. Its importance is that it is the calendar mandated for us by our Lord and even though it is used alongside the Gregorian calendar, we all use the Hijri calendar to mark events such as the 2 Eids, Ramadān and the other important dates in the Islamic year. The Islamic calendar is known also as the Hijri calendar. The reasoning for this is that the calendar begins at the date of the hijrah, when the Muslims who were being persecuted migrated to Madīnah under the command of God. This happened some 1,429 years ago, hence we are currently in the year 1429 Hijri, or 1429 AH (AH stands for anno hegiræ, the Latin term for ‘Year of the Hijrah’).

Allah commanded in the Qur’ān that the Islamic year be made up of 12 months, as we read in the following verse from Sūrat at-Tawbah (9:36):

Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred, (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein, and fight against the Mushrikūn together, as they fight against you together. But know that Allah is with those who are Al-Muttaqūn.

The calendar that we use was also used by the Arabs before they embraced Islām. This is not something strange, for the Arabs even though they strayed from the true religion of God by worshipping idols alongside God, still kept many things intact of what Islam teaches. The Hajj (pilgrimage) for example, was mandated by God through the prophet Ibrāhīm (Abraham) and the Arab idolaters too would still perform the Hajj, however they would add to it that which God had not commanded them to do, invoking their idols alongside God. Similarly with the calendar the Arabs added to it that which God had not commanded them to. As Allāh says in the Qur’ān in the next ayah from the verse above (9:37) –

The postponing of a Sacred Month is indeed an addition to disbelief: thereby the disbelievers are led astray, for they make it lawful one year and forbid it another year in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allah, and make such forbidden ones lawful. The evil of their deeds seems pleasing to them. And Allah guides not the people, who disbelieve.

What the Arabs used to do was add an extra month in certain years in effect creating a leap year much like we have in the Gregorian calendar whereby we add an extra day in February every 4 years. This month is known as an intercalary month. Intercalation was completely forbidden by God in the above verse of the Qur’ān and therefore the month which the Arabs used was eradicated. The month still exists in name in the Coptic calendar, it was known as Nasī’ (نسيء).
The following is the list of the 12 Islamic months. Those highlighted in red are the sacred months.
1) Muharram
2) Safar
3) Rabī` al-‘Awwal
4) Rabī` athThānī
5) Jumāda al-‘Awwal
6) Jumāda athThānī
7) Rajab
8 ) Sha`bān
9) Ramadān
10) Shawwāl
11) Dhūl-Qa`dah
12) Dhūl-Hijjah


Muharram is the first month of the Hijrī calendar. It comes from the verb harama meaning ‘to be forbidden’, as the month of Muharram is one of the 4 months in when fighting was forbidden in it.


There are 3 theories of what the name Safar means. One is that it means ‘void’ as the Arabs at this time would leave their houses going on expiditions hence leaving them void. Another theory states that it comes from sufr which means yellow, as during the time that the calendar was established it was autumn time and the leaves were urning yellow. The last is thatit means ‘whistle’ as at that time of year it was very windy, and the sounds of the wind made a whistling noise.

ربيع الأوّل
Rabī` al-‘Awwal

ربيع الثاني
Rabī` athThānī

Rabī` means ‘spring/springtime’ so Rabī` al-‘Awwal means ‘The first spring’, and Rabī` ath-Thānī means ‘The second spring’. These months would have fallen around the time of spring originally. Rabī` ath-Thānī is also referred to as Rabī` al-‘Akhir – ‘The last spring’.

جمادى الأوّل
Jumāda al-‘Awwal

جمادى الثاني
Jumāda athThānī

Jumāda comes from the word jumda which means ‘dry land’ and as such it refers to the time when there was little rain, possibly during the hotter months.


Rajab comes from the verb rajaba which means ‘to be respected’.


Sha’ban comes from the word shu`ba meaning ‘to branch out’ as during this time the Arabs would go out in seperate areas to search for water.


Ramadān comes from the word ramd which means ‘to become hot’ and refers especially to stones which become hot from the sunlight. It is suggested that this time of year was very hot when the calendar was first established.


Shawwal means ‘to carry’ and refers to the camels who would become pregnant at this time of year. Pregnancy in Arabic is usually refered to as ‘carrying (a baby)’.

ذو القعدة

ذو الحجّة

July 5, 2008

Phrases for Muslim Travellers – Shāmi Arabic (Lebanese)

Filed under: Phrases for Muslim Travellers — abuaisha @ 1:01 pm
May I pray here?
Fīni solli hōn?
In which direction is the Qiblah?
Wayn il-‘ibleh?
What time is Fajr?
be-‘esh saʿa solēt is-subeh?
Where is the nearest Masjid?
wayn ij-jēmiʿ el-a’reb?
Where can I make wudhu’?
wayn fīni it·wade’?
Where is the toilet?
wayn il-ḥammāmāt?
Is there a section for women?
Fī ‘is·m / makēn lel-mar’ōt?
What is the name of this Masjid?

sh’ismu haydi jēmiʿ?

Who is the Imaam of this Masjid?
mīn l-imēm hōn?
May I take photos of the Masjid?
Fīni sawwir ij-jēmiʿ?


Are you married?
ente mutezawwej?
enti mutezawjeh?

I am (not) married
Ane (mish) mutezawwej
Ane (mish) mutezawjeh

How many wives do you have?
Kam zawjēt ma’ak?
I have 1 wife
ʿEndi bas waḥde
I have 2/3/4 wives
ʿEndi itnēn/tlati/arbāʿ zawjēt
I am looking to get married
biddu atazawwaj
I am (not) interested in getting married right now
ma biddu atazawwaj ḥalla
Do you serve Halaal food here?
Fī l-akal ḥalēl hōn?

Where may I buy Halaal meat?
wayn fīni shtari l-laḥme ḥalēl?
Is this Halaal?
hayde ḥalēl?
No thanks, I’m fasting
lā shukran, eni sō’im
Where may I buy dates from?
min wayn fini shtare it-tamr?


Where can I buy Islamic clothing?
min wayn fini shtare il-mlēbis il-islēmī?

How much is this?
kam haydi? / addīsh ha”u?

Where can I find an Abayah/Thawb
wayn l-ʿabeyēt?

If I buy two can you give me a discount?
Iza bashteri itnēn, yumkin taʿtīnē bel-khasm?

Is there an Islamic Bookstore here?
Fī maktabe islēmi hōn?

Do you have a copy of the Qur’an (in Arabic/English/)?
Fī qur’ēn (mus-ḥaf) bil-ʿAraba/Inglīza?


Naʿam / Ēh


Excuse me

I’m sorry
‘Āsif (m)
‘Āsfe (f)

Do you speak English/Arabic?
btaḥkī l-inglize?

I understand

I don’t understand
mā fahemet

I’m sorry, this is against my religion
ʿAfwan, bas haydi arām bi dīni

I’m sorry, I am not accustomed to this
ʿAfwan, bas ene mish mu’tēdeh ʿā hayde

I prefer not to mingle with the opposite sex
Aḥsen lī en lā akhelit bej-jins el-ēkhir

I do not make any physical contact with the opposite sex
Lā batnawel bej-jins el-ēkhir

What is your religion?
Shu dīnek? (m)
Shu dīnik? (f)

I am Muslim
Ana Muslim (m)
Ana Muslimeh (f)

This is forbidden in Islam
Haydi ḥarām / mamnūʿ bel-Islēm

There is a difference of opinion about this
Fī khtilēf bi-haydi

I do not follow that opinion
Ma b·tfekir en haydi yajūz

This is kufr!
haydi kuf·r!

This is Shirk!
Haydi shirk!

This is (not) Haraam
Haydi (mish) Ḥarām

(el-hadīs il-islēmi)

Jazākum ‘Allāhu Khayran
īkum ‘Allah bi-kheyr

Wa Iyyaakum
U entum kamēn

Bārak ‘Allāhu Fīkum
Bērak ‘Allah Fīkum

Phrases for Muslim Travellers – Italian

Filed under: Phrases for Muslim Travellers — abuaisha @ 11:10 am


May I pray here?
Posso pregare qui?

In which direction is the Qiblah?
In quale direzione è la Qiblah?
What time is Fajr?
A che ora è Fajr?
(Alla Moschea)

Where is the nearest Masjid?
Dov’è la moschea più vicina?

Where can I make wudhu’?
Dove posso fare il wudhu?

Where is the toilet?
Dove si trova il gabinetto?

Is there a section for women?
C’è una sezione per le donne?

What is the name of this Masjid?
Come si chiama questa moschea?

Who is the Imām of this Masjid?
Chi è l’imam della moschea?

May I take photos of the Masjid?
Posso prendere le foto della moschea?


Are you married?
Sei sposato? (m)
Sei sposata? (f)

I am (not) married
Non sono sposato (m)
Non sono sposata (f)

How many wives do you have?
Quante mogli hai?

I have 1/2/3/4 wives
Ho uno/due/tre/quattro mogli

I am looking to get married
Sto cercando di sposarsi

I am (not) interested in getting married right now
Non sono interessato a sposarsi subito


Do you serve Halaal food here?
Avete cibo halal qui?

Where can I find a place which serves Halaal food?
Dove posso trovare un posto che serve cibo halal?

Where may I buy Halaal meat?
Dove posso comprare carne halal?

Is this Halaal?
Questo è halal?

No thanks, I’m fasting
No grazie, sto digiunando

Where may I buy dates from?
Dove posso comprare i datteri?


Where can I buy Islamic clothing?
Dove posso comprare capi di abbigliamento islamico?

How much is this?
Quanto costa?

Where can I find an Abayah/Thawb
Dove posso trovare un’abaya/una gialabia?

If I buy two can you give me a discount?
Se compro due, mi puoi dare uno sconto?

Is there an Islamic Bookstore here?
C’è un negozio di libri islamici qui?

Do you have a copy of the Qur’an (in Arabic/English/Italian)?
C’è una copia del Corano (in arabo/inglese/italiano)?




Excuse me
Mi scusi

I’m sorry
Mi dispiace

Do you speak English/Arabic?
Lei parla l’inglese/l’arabo?

I understand
Ho capito

I don’t understand
Non ho capito

I’m sorry, this is against my religion
Mi dispiace, questo è contro la mia religione

I’m sorry, I am not accustomed to this
Mi dispiace, non sono abituato a questo

I prefer not to mingle with the opposite sex
Preferisco di non mescolare con il sesso opposto

I do not make any physical contact with the opposite sex
Non posso fare qualsiasi contatto fisico con il sesso opposto

What is your religion?
Qual è la tua religione?

I am Muslim
Sono Musulmano (m)
Sono Musulmana (f)

This is forbidden in Islam
Questo è proibito nell’Islam

There is a difference of opinion about this
C’è una differenza di opinione su questo

I do not follow that opinion
Non seguo questo parere

This is kufr!
Questo è bestemmia!

This is Shirk!
Si tratta di politeismo!

This is (not) Haraam
Questo (non) è Haram

(Frasi Islamici)

Jazākum ‘Allāhu Khayran
Che Dio ti ricompensi con buona (singular)
Che Dio vi ricompensi con buona (plural)

Wa Iyyākum
E anche a te (singular)
E anche a voi (plural)

Bārak ‘Allāhu Fīkum
Che Dio ti benedica (singular)
Che Dio vi benedica (plural)

Sallallāhu `Alayhi wa Sallam
Che la pace e benedizioni di Dio su di lui

Inshā’ Allāh
Se Dio vuole

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