Arab Times – Telling The Time In Arabic


Arab Times – Telling The Time In Arabic


When making plans, appointments, and travel arrangements in Arabic speaking countries, you need to be able to state days and tell the time in Arabic. We’ve already posted an article about days in Arabic, so let’s cover the time words as well. 
First, however, let’s get familiar with some vocabulary on the subject of time.

Clock in Arabic /Saa’at haa’it / ساعة حائط

Time in Arabic /Waqt/ وقت

Minute in Arabic /Daqeeqah/ دقيقة

Nighttime in Arabic /Waqt illayl/ وقت الليل

Daytime in Arabic /Annahaar/ النهار

Morning in Arabic /Sabaah/صباح

Noon in Arabic /Waqt adhaheera/ وقت الظهيرة

Afternoon in Arabic /Ba’d adhuhur/ بعد الظهر

Sunset /Al maghrib/ المغرب

Sunrise /Shurooq a’shams/ شروق الشمس

Day /Yaum/ يوم

Night /Layl/ ليل

Evening in Arabic /Masaa’/ مساء

Half in Arabic /Nisf/ نصف

Quarter in Arabic /Rub’/ ربع

Also, depending on which Arab country you’re in or planning to visit, you may see either the 12-hour clock being used or the 24-hour clock, or sometimes both. Anyway, what you should know is that:

AM in Arabic is translated as sabaahan. صباحا

PM in Arabic is translated as masaa’n.  مساءً

If you would like to ask someone What time is it in Arabic, you should either say:

kam assaa’ah? / كم الساعة / What time is it?

kam assaa’ah al’aan? / كم الساعة الآن / What time is it now?

We recommend the second version for the following reason: the word kam (كم) in Arabic is often used in interrogative phrases to ask about the price of something. In this case, kami as-sa’ah? might easily be understood as if you were asking about the price of the watch itself (“How much is the watch?”). The additional word al’aan ( الآن), which means “now” in English, makes it clear to the person you are referring to the current time and not the price of his or her watch.

Telling the time in Arabic is very easy as Arabs use ordinal numbers with hours, except one o’clock, as follows:

English version Transliteration Arabic version
One O’clock in
assaa’ah alwaahidah الساعة الواحدة
Two O’clock in 
assaa’ah athaaniyah الساعة الثانية
Three O’clock in 
assaas’ah athaalithah الساعة الثالثة
Four O’clock in 
assaa’ah arraabi’ah الساعة الرابعة
Five O’clock in 
assaa’ah alkhaamisah الساعة الخامسة
Six O’clock in 
assaa’ah assaadisah الساعة السادسة
Seven O’clock in 
assaa’ah assaabi’ah الساعة السابعة
Eight O’clock in 
assaa’ah athaaminah الساعة الثامنة
Nine O’clock in 
assaa’ah attaasi’ah الساعة التاسعة
Ten O’clock in
assaa’ah al’aashirah الساعة العاشرة
Eleven O’clock in
assaa’ah alhaadiyah ‘ashra الساعة الحادية عشرة
Twelve O’clock in
assaa’ah athaaniyah ‘ashra الساعة الثانية عشرة

To say “past” in Arabic, natives use و /wa/ “and” which comes after the hour, so “half past two” in Arabic would literally be “two o’clock and a half” / الساعة الثانية والنصف

Past Transliteration و / wa
Five past in Arabic wa khamsa daqaa’iq وخمس دقائق
Ten past in Arabic wa ‘ashr daqaa’iq وعشر دقائق
Quarter past in Arabic wa arrub’ والربع
Twenty past in Arabic wa athulth والثلث
Half past in Arabic wa annisf والنصف

To say “to”, Arabs use إلا / illa which comes after the hour, so “quarter to three” in Arabic would literally be “three o’clock less a quarter” / الساعة الثالثة إلا الربع

To Transliteration إلا / ella
Five to in Arabic illa khams daqaa’iq إلا خمس دقائق
Ten to in Arabic illa ‘ashr daqaa’iq إلا عشر دقائق
Quarter to in Arabic illa arrub’ إلا الربع
Twenty to in Arabic illa athulth إلا الثلث


Gary Greer

Gary Greer was born and raised in the United States.  After an eight year stint in the U.S. Army in 1992, he attended Delaware State University to pursue his B.A. in English Communications to become a writer. Since then he has traveled the globe, living in the Europe and the Middle East, working for such prestigious organizations as the U.S. Army, NAPA Auto Parts, and AMIDEAST, and other well-known organizations, as well.  Gary came to Jordan in 2005, bringing with him a wealth of experience in the fields of Business and Education, and has since implemented and taught specialized English and Business training courses in the Business, Hospitality, Medical and Legal sectors throughout Jordan for TE Data, The Nuqul Group, The Ministry of Justice, The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, UNRWA, and the Mövenpick and Kempinski Hotels, among others. Along with teaching, he has also pursued his dream of becoming a writer and has written and done the voice-over narration of two travel documentaries about Jordan for Seven Stars television worked as an editor for Family Flavours magazine and acted in television advertisements for USAID. He now works as a content writer for

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