Pumpkins, Arabic and Halloween Words

Halloween and Arabic Words (!?) While many Muslims refrain from celebrating Halloween due to its Pagan origins and its focus on the occult and the macabre, there are some interesting words often used in the Halloween season that actually have Arabic origins. The first of these is  ghoul - from the Arabic word ghul (demon or spirit.)  It's...
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"Here I am, O Allah..."

We are in the blessed  season of Hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, and the season of talbiyah - that special prayer on every pilgrim’s lips when they are nearing the Sacred House:     A sea of millions upon millions of hujjaj (pilgrims), from all walks of life and ends of the earth, respond to God's call and invitation to His Sacred House, repeat...
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Advice From the Grave (!)

Advice Written on a Grave

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Cookies & Gratitude

This week I'll be sharing two lovely tidbits I've come across relating to Arab culture and its generous spirit.   The first is a quote from Susan Abulhawa's novel Mornings in Jenin , as one character struggles with expressing in English what is commonly said in Arabic: I've experienced this many times in my time in the Arab world; even when giving ...
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Arabic Graffiti - Calligraphy's Newest Form

Arabic calligraphy has always been an esteemed art form in Islamic civilization, adorning the walls of mosques and centers of learning throughout the Muslim world historically, as well as gracing the covers of books, glassware and even bowls and plates with verses from the Quran prophetic traditions, and lines of poetry. Verses from the Quran adorn...
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Five Arabic Quotes: On Fate

"If God has written happiness for you,   No one can steal it from your heart.   And if He has written for your heart to break,   No one can heal it but Him..."     "Hearts desire, but the Lord decrees."   -   لا ينفع حذر من قدر   "No precaution can help against fate."  -   المكتوب على الجبين لا بد أن تراه العين   "What is written will be fulfilled....
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Five Arabic Quotes: On Fate

"If God has written happiness for you,   No one can steal it from your heart.   And if He has written for your heart to break,   No one can heal it but Him..."     "Hearts desire, but the Lord decrees."   -   لا ينفع حذر من قدر   "No precaution can help against fate."  -   المكتوب على الجبين لا بد أن تراه العين   "What is written will be fulfilled....
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Cool Arabic Typographic Decor

An awesome trend we’ve started to see more of these days is lovely decor items with Arabic lettering, typography or calligraphy.  (Note that this is different from Arab decor itself, which is broader and reflects various elements of Arab culture.) Here are a few of the most interesting, eye-catching things we’ve seen around lately. Gorgeous Decorat...
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Salah - A Means of Humility, A Connection

As we discussed in an earlier post , Arabic words often have a family of related and root words that give an amazing breadth and fullness to their meanings.  One such word is salah (the word used for the ritual prayer performed daily by Muslims.)     One of the words related to salah refers to burning, and especially to heating a twig or branch to ...
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Between Praise and Gratitude: The Meanings of Hamd & Shukr

Between Praise and Gratitude: The Meanings of Hamd & Shukr Hamd vs. Thana and Madh There are three words that have the general meaning of ‘praise’ in the Arabic language: madh [مدح], thana [ثناء], and hamd [حمد], but we find the term hamd constantly used in the Quran and the Prophetic Tradition for praising Allah, such as in  ‘Alhamdulillah’. B...
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Supplications for the Oppressed

In honor of the global qiyam (night prayer and supplication) being held tonight in many Muslims communities in the United States and worldwide for the people of Syria, I thought to share some of the following supplications.  These are prayers for the oppressed that can be used tonight and at all times for our brothers and sisters in the deepest of ...
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Cute Arabic Memes to Share with Your Spouse

Here are a few cute Arabic related memes that you can share with your spouse.   They're a surefire way to earn some extra points for your thoughtfulness, as well as for your spouse to encourage your Arabic studies!  You can thank us later... :)   "You (fem.) are for me."     Sweet and simple with a lovely design.   ___________     A classic 'I love...
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Five Arabic Quotes: On Speaking Ill of Others

لسانك لا تذكر به عورة امرئ * فكلّـك عورات وللناس ألسـن   وعينك إن أبدت إليك معايباً * فدعها وقل : يا عين للناس أعينُ       "Do not use your tongue to mention the faults of others, for you are full of faults and other people have tongues, too. And if your eye reveals to you others’ defects, tell it, 'O eye of mine, they have eyes too.'" -Imam Shafi’...
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The Top 4 YouTube Lectures/Videos in Fus'ha (Classical Arabic) for Beginners

While there are tons of Arabic videos, lectures, programs and TV shows available online, it’s often hard for students to find things to watch that are in clear and easy to understand classical Arabic, and that are also enjoyable and beneficial.  For this reason, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite YouTube recommendations. ...
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Five Arabic Quotes: On Ignorance & Learning

This is the first post in a new series on the Studio Arabiya blog, in which I hope to share with you some interesting and inspiring Arabic quotes on different themes. Reading these types of quotes, excerpts and aphorisms can help us put our Arabic studies into practice, and also appreciate how far we've come in our understanding of the language.  I...
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Lost in Translation

A few weeks ago, I read an article  called "15 Wonderful Words with No English Equivalent" that describes cool words and phrases found in other languages that are hard to render into English.   There are many, many words like this in the Arabic language , as anyone who has studied both Arabic and English can tell you!  Here are some of my favorite ...
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Arabic Stuff for Kids: Fun Arabic Décor

by Shazia Ahmad Outside of formal studies, there are lots of creative ways we can help our children develop a love and attachment to the Arabic language .  One of them is to surround them with fun, imaginative décor that includes Arabic letters and words.  Helping them to think about Arabic creatively, and making it something fun and interesting is...
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Finding the Beauty Placed in Difficulty

by Shazia Ahmad The famous poet Ahmad Shawqi said in a well-known line from one of his works:  إنَّ الذي مَلأَ اللُّغاتِ مَحاسِنا جَعَلَ الجَمالَ وَسِرَّهُ في الضَّاد Verily, the One who filled all languages with beauty Put beauty itself, and its secret, in ad-Dhaad. In these lines, Shawqi refers to the Arabic language as  'ad-Dhaad' .&nb...
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