Part of a new series – Short episodes full of Arabic literature and wisdom. These are things I enjoy a lot, and I hope you will too! The first episodes talks about the Hikmah (wisdom) of dealing with powerful people.
After a long break, we are joined again by sheikh Abdurrahman to explain some great poetry of the famous Majnun Layla. Qais ibn Mulawwah lost his mind out of despair for Layla, whom he could not marry. Listen to his story and his mesmerizing poetry!
Arabic numbers can be intimidating for a lot of people. In this series we are going to really simplify things by breaking down the rules into different groups. This episode deals with just 1 and 2.
الأرقَامُ في اللغةِ العربيةِ
Feeling overwhelmed about all the rules around Arabic Numerals? This is a simple, yet comprehensive breakdown of all the rules you need to know.
Here are the numbers from 1 to 10 in Arabic. The numbers are are in words next to the symbol for each:
Arabic has certain rules to deal with numbers. These are based on the number itself, and also the gender of the subject.
The Grammar of Numbers in Arabic:
We can divide these rules into four sets:
Rules pertaining to:
1 – العَدَدُ المُفرَد – singular numbers
The numbers from 3 to 10 also 100-1000-1000…. etc.
العَدَد المُرَكَب – 2 – compound numbers
Numbers from 11 to 19
Which are 20-30-40….90
i.e The numbers from 1 to 9 with one of the numbers of العُقُود
That means it has the letter waw (21 to 99).
Rules for numbers 1 and 2
The numbers 1 and 2 always match the gender of the noun they qualify. That is, their form is masculine with masculine nouns and feminine with feminine nouns. These are اِثْنَان/ وَاحِد with masculine nouns and وَاحِدَة / اِثْنَتَان with feminine nouns, as in these examples:
يومٌ وَاحِدٌ | one day
ُحُجرَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ | one room
جَاءَ عَالِمَان اِثْنَان | Two scientists came
قَرَأتُ رِسَالَتَينِ اِثْنَتَين | I read two letters
Rules for numbers 3-9
For numbers 3-9, we use plural nouns, disagreeing with the gender of the noun, Nouns that follow these numbers should be indefinite genitive plural, as in these examples:
سَبْعَةُ كُتُبٍ| seven books
تِسْعُ سَيَّارَاتٍ | nine cars
Just remember, the number has the opposite gender of the singular noun.
Rules of number 10:
When 10 is used alone (not compounded with 1 to 9), it follows the reverse agreement rule. If it is compounded with 1 to 9, it must agree with the noun it precedes.
Note that for عشرة the masculine form not only drops the ة but requires putting a sukuun ْ over the ش, so you get عَشْرٌ
عَشَرَةُ أَهْدَافٍ | ten goals
عَشْرُ لَاعِبَاتٍ | Ten female players
Rules for numbers 11 and 12
When the number 11 modifies a masculine word both the unit number َأحَد and the tens number عَشر are masculine. However, they are both in the accusative without nunation (تنوين). The counted noun will follow the number and will be singular and in the accusative case with nuntation .
For example, “eleven books” is أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كِتَابًا.
If the counted noun is feminine then both parts of the number 11 are converted to the feminine. The feminine of أَحَدَ is إِحْدَى and since إحْدَى ends in an alif
For example, “Eleven novels” is إِحْدَى عَشْرَة روايًة. Since رواية is feminine, both words used in the number are also feminine.
Essentially, 12 works just like 11 but with a small twist. First, the similarities: The counted noun is always singular and accusative with nunation. The two elements of the number twelve both agree with the noun in gender. The second term of the number, عشر or عشرة , is always accusative without nunation.
The difference between 11 and 12 lies in the first element of the number. The first element in 12 is إثْنَا for masculine
في المسجد اِثْنَا عَشَرَ رَجُلًا واِثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ سَيْدةً.
There are twelve men and twelve women in the mosque.
Rules for number 13 to 19
For numbers, 13-19 the rules are as follows:
1. The second element (عَشر or عَشرة) agrees with the counted noun in gender.
2. The first element (ثلاثة, اربعة… etc.) shows the reverse agreement that we saw for the numbers 3-10.
3. Both elements of the number are always accusative without nunation.
4. The counted noun is singular, accusative, and has nunation.
ثَلاثَةَ عَشَرَ دَرْسًا | thirteen lessons
ًخَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ تفاحَة | fifteen apples
note that the harakah of the letter ش in number عشرة will be as the following:
- If عشر comes as masculine, then if it is singular the ش will be with sukoon (ساكنة ) while if عشر comes as compound number then the ش will be with fatha as in these Ayat :
- If عشرة came as feminine ,then if it is singular then ش will be with fatha ,while if it comes as compound number then ش will be with sukoon as in these Ayat:
Rules for number 20 to 99
Below are the numbers in Arabic for the tens.
|Cardinal Number||Nominative||Arabic symbols|
These numbers are easy to memorize as they are essentially the numbers 3 through 10 made plural. These numbers decline for case, just as masculine sound plurals do. The nouns they modify are singular, accusative and have nunation. These numbers have no feminine versions. Thus “50 boys” is خَمْسُونَ ولدًا and 50 girls
In order to produce numbers such as 21, 22, 23….99, you use the numbers 1 to 9 along with the tens number. وَ is used to connect the unit number with the tens number. Notice also that the number for 1 can either be وَاحِد or its feminine counterpart وَاحِدَة, or أحد and its feminine counterpart إحْدَى.
The unit numbers for one and two agree with the noun just as they do on their own.
For example, “twenty-one books” is و وَاحِدٌ و عِشرُونَ كتابًا or أحَدٌ وعشرون كتابًا. “Twenty-one letters” is وَاحِدَةُ وعِشْرُونَ رسالةً or إحْدَى وعِشرونَ رسالة.
The same agreement takes place whenever two is combined with one of the tens.
For the numbers 3-9, when used in combination with the tens, the principal of reverse agreement applies just as it does when these numbers are used by themselves. For example:
“forty-three male teachers” is ثَلَاثَةٌ وَأَرْبَعُونَ مُعَلمًا
“forty-three female teachers” is ثَلَاثٌ وَأَرْبَعُونَ مُعَلِمَةً
Summary of Numbers 1-99
- 1 and 2 always follow the gender of the word: وَاحِد/وَاحِدَة، اِثْنَان/اِثْنَتَان . And this happens whether they’re “independent” (1, 2) or compounded (11, 12, 21, 22, 31, 32….)
- 2 is treated like any dual word: اِثْنَان in nominative case, and اِثْنَتَين in (genitive), and it loses its nun when in an idaafa structure with 3ashra: اِثْنَا عَشَرَ رجلاً and اِثْنَتَا عَشْرَة امرأة .
- 10 takes the opposite gender of the word: عَشْرُ نساء ٍ وعَشَرَةَ رجالٍ
- 3 – 9 also takes the opposite. As in the Quranic verse:ٍ في سِتَةِ أيام (Allah created the world in six days).
- 11-12: follow the gender – أَحَدَ عَشَرَ رَجُلاً وإحْدَى عَشْرَةَ اِمْرَأَةٍ، اِثْنَا عَشَرَ رَجُلاً واِثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ اِمْرَأَة
- 13-19: the ten follows the gender and the unit number doesn’t – ثَلَاثُ عَشْرَةَ يَومًا وخَمْسَةَ عَشَرَ لَيْلَة
- 20, 30, 40….90 : are same for both genders.
- 23, 24, 25… 33, 34,…93, 94… : (3-9) takes the opposite gender of the word, while the 30, 40….90 (10’s place digit) remains constant ثَلَاثَةٌ وعِشْرُونَ رَجُلاً وثَلَاثٌ وعشرُونَ اِمرَأَة
Rules for number 100:
مِئَة will always remain the same whether the counted noun is masculine or feminine.
The word for “one hundred” is مِئة . Sometimes it is spelt differently – مائة. However, both spellings are pronounced “
“one hundred men” is مِئَةَ رَجُلٍ.
Since مِئَة is a noun we don’t have to worry about the reverse agreement. It will always be feminine even when followed by a feminine noun. Thus “one hundred women” is مِئَةُ امرأةٍ,
To say “one hundred and one” we use مِئَةٌ وَ وَاحِد (or واحدة for feminine). The same is true for “one hundred two” مِئَةٌ وَ إثْنَان (or إثْنتان for feminine).
For all numbers from 103 to 999, the case and number of the counted noun depend upon the last word in the number. Thus “one hundred and four boys” is مِئَةٌ وَ أَرْبَعَة اولاد but “one hundred and fifty-three boys” is مِئةٌ وَ ثَلَاثَةٌ وَ خَمْسُونَ وَلَدًا. In the first example, اربعة was the last word. Since 3-9 are always in an
In the second example, the word “fifty” is the last numeral. Since خَمْسُون is always followed by a singular, indefinite and accusative noun, ولد is written ولدًا
For four hundred sixty-seven boys, we can say,
أَرْبَعُمَائَة ٌ وَ سَبْعَةٌ وَ سِتُونَ ولَدَاً
And for feminine : سَبْع (following the same rules we have mentioned).
The rest of the hundreds are themselves
Rules for 1000
The word for “thousand” is ألْفٌ. Like
A thousand adventures: أَلْفُ مغامرةٍ /F
Unlike مئة it is masculine; so when it is preceded by the numbers 3-9, the number is feminine and the plural of ألْف is used. Four thousand pens: ثَلَاثَةُ ألآف قلم
When ألْف is preceded by a number greater than ten, it remains singular and is changed to accusative, just like any noun. Thus “twenty thousand” is عِشرُونَ ألْفاً
Note that when ألْف is singular or dual, it works just like مئة. “One thousand ways” is ألفُ طريقةٍ. “One thousand and one ways” is ألْفُ طَرِيقةٍ وَ طَريقة. “One thousand and two ways” is ألْفُ طريقةٍ وطريقتان. “Two thousand ways: ألْفَا طَرِيقةٍ
Using the Numbers in Dates:
َسنَةَ ألْفٍ وَ تٌسْعُمَائَةٍ وَ خَمْسٍ وَ ثَمَانِين
ألْف وأرْبَعُمَائَةٍ وَ أرْبَعُون
And finally, the word for “million” is مِلْيُون It works exactly as does
Bonus: Numbers in Quran
- قُلْ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّنِي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ ﴿١٩﴾ الانعام
- وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُمْ وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُمْ شُهَدَاءُ إِلَّا أَنفُسُهُمْ فَشَهَادَةُ أَحَدِهِمْ أَرْبَعُ شَهَادَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ ۙ إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ (6) النور
- إِذْ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ ﴿٤﴾يوسف
- حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً 15 الاحقاف
- فَأَمَاتَهُ اللَّهُ مِائَةَ عَامٍ (259) سورة البقرة
- يَوَدُّ أَحَدُهُمْ لَوْ يُعَمَّرُ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ(96)سورة البقرة
- عَلَيْهَا تِسْعَةَ عَشَرَ ﴿٣٠﴾المدثر
- فَكَفَّارَتُهُ إِطْعَامُ عَشَرَةِ مَسَاكِينَ(89) المائدة
Have you tried to understand the meaning of the beautiful Surah al Fathiha in Arabic? Listen to this short episode to uncover at a few gems from Surah al Fathiha!