Let’s Learn Some More Arabic: 3 New Words to Know

If you’re like me, then you find yourself feeling apologetic every time your tongue slips up an Arabic word in public. Because this guilt is derived from the Islamophobia around us, your Muslim Girl army is here continuing off our Arabic lesson series. Share this with non-Muslims. Share this with new converts learning Arabic. Share this just to share this and help spread awareness through education. Here are three common Arabic words that many Muslims use:

1. As-salamu alaikum (pronounced: as-sa-lam-ou alay-koum)

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This is probably one of the better known words out there. Because this word translates into “peace be upon you,” Muslims use it for both hellos and goodbyes. Think of it similar to when you say “peace” to your homegirl before departing ways.

While many of us recognize that “peace” has become a slang/shorter version of goodbye/i wish you peace, we can also acknowledge that “salam” or “as-salamu alaikum” is a shorter version of “Asalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh” (pronounced: as-sa-lam-ou alay-koum wa rah-matul-lahi wa bara-ka-tuh). This longer version simply means “may the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah be upon you.” Try this one the next time you see a friend. It’s a tongue twister until you get used to it!

2. Astaghfirullah (pronounced: as-tagh-feerul-lah)

This word was meant for us to ask God for forgiveness. In fact, it means “I ask Allah for forgiveness.” If you hear a Muslim saying this out loud just understand that they are undergoing a personal battle to better themselves. Unfortunately, however, we too often find many sisters in the community misusing this word to judge others in the community for their mistakes. 

3. Allahu Akbar (pronounced: Allahu-ak-bar)

Relax, the only thing I’m blowing up is this Kevin Hart meme to emphasize how on edge you may feel at this point. Allahu akbar literally means “Allah is the greatest.” Muslims use this word when they witness something beautiful or experience something they are grateful for. Again, due to islamophobic ideologies in our society, this word has a negative connotation when heard by someone outside of the Muslim community. Although we know that praising the lord should not be feared although extremists use His name in vain, many find themselves weary from this phrase. Even as a Muslim myself I am very conscious when, where, and how I use it.


Let us normalize Arabic in public again. Learning and familiarizing yourself with words like these make situations more comfortable for everyone around. As much as it is my job to spread awareness and educate you on my language, it is your job to ask me questions when you are curious. Stop letting the media and hate around us influence your opinion on a beautiful language. Stop fearing the unknown. I, like many other Muslims in the world, are here and welcome the opportunity to answer any and all questions. Until the next post from this series, I leave you all with a blessing- Asalamu alaikum.