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News on our online Arabic program, studying Arabic in Egypt,
Arab culture & Islam

Spring 2014 Special Offer

 Register for an Online Arabic Course for 6 Months and Get a FREE Arabic Keyboard

For a limited time only, register for the semi-annual subscription with Arab Academy or renew your subscription and get an Arabic Keyboard FREE.

Through this offer, you will receive an English/Arabic keyboard to be delivered free to your door (including postage and packaging worldwide), so you can start typing your Arabic assignments straightaway! Arab Academy program is designed to get you reading, writing and speaking Arabic from day one.  You also get all the benefits below:
- Access to a comprehensive highly interactive online Arabic course (Learn the language with cultural insights)
- One to one Speaking Classes with native teachers
- Free Immersion in Cairo
- Upon registration and payment, we set up a private orientation session to take you on a tour of the course
- A certificate in Arabic language.

This offer is valid until March 31, 2014 only.

Ready To Learn Arabic?
Click here to register for as low as $69/month!

Do not miss this opportunity! Only Arab Academy can provide you with incredible offers ranging from online Arabic courses, one-to-one speaking classes, all the way to study abroad immersion programs at its language center in Cairo, Egypt.

You are welcome to visit us at our live chat:
http://www.arabacademy.com/live-help

Mawlid Special Offer! Register for an Online Arabic Course and Get FREE Tajweed Lessons

Register for an online Arabic language course for 6 months and get free Tajweed classes with qualified native instructors!

In honor of the upcoming birthday of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) known as, “Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawy”, Arab Academy is excited to offer 8 FREE Tajweed classes with the Semi-Annual Subscription. You also get all the benefits below:
- Access to an online Arabic course for 6 months
- 2 Private one to one Speaking Classes/Week (Value of $594)
- 2 Weeks of Free Immersion in Cairo upon renewal (Value of $325)
- Upon registration and payment, we set up a private orientation session to take you on a tour of the course
- All our teachers are qualified native speakers
- You get to select the teacher
- You set your own appointments, choosing the days and hours that suit you
- You also get a certificate in Arabic language.

This offer is valid until January 29, 2014 only.

For more information and registration, visit:
http://www.arabacademy.com/en/arabic-online/register

Do not miss this opportunity! Start speaking Arabic like you were born with it! Only Arab Academy can provide you with incredible offers ranging from online Arabic courses, one-to-one speaking classes, all the way to study abroad immersion programs at its language center in Cairo, Egypt.

You are welcome to visit us at our live chat:
http://www.arabacademy.com/live-help

 

Al-Mulid Al-Nabawi المولد النبوي

January 13th is the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). Though it’s not an official feast of Islam and not all Muslims celebrate it, Egyptian customs around Al-Mulid al-Nabawi (المولد النبوي) go back to the Fatimid caliphate, which ended in the 12th century CE. Over the centuries, the celebration has included Sufi parades with flags, banners, and tambourines, and Quranic readings and gatherings in the mosques. These days Egyptians buy bride-shaped candies (عروسة) decorated with multicolored sugar for their daughters and similar knight- and horse-shaped candies for their sons. A new groom has the special obligation of buying a large bride doll for his wife as well as special mulid candies like Turkish delight (ملبن). Study abroad students learned about this holiday at a party at which they sampled these Egyptian sweets with their Arabic instructors.

 

Arab Academy’s New Year’s Special Offer

  New Year’s Special Offer
(Save more than $1500 with the Semi-Annual Subscription and Get One FREE Registration for a Family Member or a Friend)

When you subscribe on a semi-annual subscription, your monthly fees go down from $99 per month to only $69 per month (Saving $180). You also get all the benefits below:
- Access to an online Arabic course for 6 months
- 2 Private one to one Speaking Classes/Week (Value of $594)
- 2 Weeks of Free Immersion in Cairo (Value of $325)
- Access to an online Arabic course for 6 months for a family member or a friend (value of $414)
- Upon registration and payment, we set up a private orientation session to take you on a tour of the course
- All our teachers are qualified native speakers
- You get to select the teacher
- You set your own appointments, choosing the days and hours that suit you
- You also get a certificate in Arabic language.

This offer is valid until January 9, 2014 only.

With students from over 190 countries, Arab Academy is recognized worldwide as the leading provider of online Arabic language courses.

For more information and registration, visit:
http://www.arabacademy.com/en/arabic-online/register

Do not miss this opportunity! Only Arab Academy can provide you with incredible offers ranging from online Arabic courses, one-to-one speaking classes, all the way to study abroad immersion programs at its language center in Cairo, Egypt.

You are welcome to visit us at our live chat:
http://www.arabacademy.com/live-help

The Islamic New Year 1435

The Islamic New Year

راس السنة الهجرية

With Allah the months are twelve; four of them are holy; three of these are successive and one occurs singly” between the months of Jumaada and Sha’ban.” The Prophet Mohamed in his final sermon.

November 5, 2013 is a holiday all over Egypt and there are no classes at the academy.  It’s the Islamic new year according to the Islamic calendar.    It was interesting to know about its origins, as it is not really celebrated by partying as is usually done.

There are many stories in the Islamic faith and the beginning of the Islamic calendar is not an exception.  It began with the  Hijrah or migration of the prophet Mohamed PBUH from Mecca to Medina around 622 AD,  and therefore it has been named the hijri calendar.   This migration was an important turning point in Islamic history, as it is in Medina, then called Yathrib, that Muslims were able to establish the first real Muslim community with social, political and religious orders.  The Prophet PBUH was so welcomed by the people of Madina that they went out to greet him with stalks of palm trees singing the beautiful song of Tala’ al badru Alina, (the moon has come to us), which is still sung until today.  The Prophet PBUH has always remembered the graciousness and generosity of the Medina people and always spoke highly of their gentility, in contrast to the torture and difficulties Muslims faced in Mecca.

The calendar was first introduced by caliph Umar ibn el Khattab around 638 AD.  It has 12 lunar months which are determined by the sightings of the crescent moon and counted with Arabic months.

Opening the TV on that day, there will be many religious songs playing and movies depicting  the early history of Islam.  It is not really a time for partying as much as it is a  time of reflection on and remembrance of a faith that changed the fate of mankind.

ZAKAT – ALMS-GIVING

“Establish the prayer and pay Zakat.” (Qur’an, 2:110)

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an act of worship carried out by one’s wealth. It is the duty of every wealthy Muslim to give a percentage, at least 2.5%, of his possession to the needy persons, every year. Zakat purifies one’s wealth. It cleanses the society of greed and stinginess. Zakat also develops love, kindness, generosity and sacrifice, purifies the heart and protects from the Hellfire.

“Those who pay Zakat, their reward is with their Lord and no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they grieve.” (Qur’an, 2:277)

 

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (Charity of the Fast Breaking)

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is a compulsory charity given at the end of month Ramadan. Every Muslim who has wealth and property that exceeds his/her basic needs must give Sadaqat-ul-Fitr to the poor.

It should be given from dawn of the Eid (Holiday) to the beginning of the Eid prayer, but it can also be given before. If a person has dependants, such as wife or children, he is obliged to pay Sadaqat-ul-Fitr on their behalf as well.

The amount to be donated is 1460 g of wheat or 2920 g of barley, dry grapes, dates or equivalent value of money.

People who are entitled to receive Zakat are appropriate recipients of Sadaqat-ul-Fitr.

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr can be given to more than one needy person.

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr’s role is to serve as the atonement for behavior that may have reduced the reward for the fast during Ramadan. It purifies the fast while gives to poor Muslims the chance to celebrate Eid.

 

HUMMUS BI TAHINI

Prepared canned hummus is available worldwide, but the flavor is not like that of home-made hummus which is easy to prepare, especially using canned garbanzo beans. Another option is to soak dried garbanzo beans overnight and cook them the next day. Serve hummus with Arab flat bread, fresh vegetables or any kind of rustic bread.

INGREDIENTS – BEANS

½ cup water

1 can garbanzo beans (drained) – about 1 ¾ cups

Alternatively: 1 ¼ cups dried garbanzo beans

4 cups and 6 cups water, divided

½ teaspoon and ¼ teaspoon baking soda, divided

½ teaspoon salt

 

INGREDIENTS – HUMMUS

2 large cloves garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup tahini (mix well before using)

 

PREPARATION – BEANS

In a small saucepan place ½ cup water and the drained canned garbanzo over high heat, reserving a few beans for garnish. Bring to boil and cook uncovered for about 1 min., allowing half water to evaporate.

Alternatively: To prepare dried beans soak beans in 4 cups of water, add ½ teaspoon baking soda and leave it overnight at room temperature uncovered. The next day, drain beans, place them with ½ teaspoon of salt in a medium-sized sauce pan with 6 cups fresh water. Bring to boil over high heat. Skim the foam off the top, reduce the heat to medium-low and add ¼ teaspoon baking soda. Cover and let the beans simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.

Place 1 ¾ of the drained beans plus ½ cup of the cooking liquid in a small saucepan and boil-off half the water to prepare the hummus

 

PREPARATION – HUMMUS

Pour the boiled garbanzo beans and the remaining cooking liquid into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the garlic and salt and process for 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Add the lemon juice and tahini and process for 1 minute more.

Transfer the hummus to a container, cover with a paper towel and refrigerate. Cover with the lid once cooled. Serve at room temperature.

 

TO SERVE

Place room-temperature hummus in the center of a flat serving dish. Use the back of a spoon to spread the hummus over the dish so there is an outer raised lip around the perimeter, with a central ‘canal’ around the raised mound in the center. Place a radish star on a raised mound surrounded by three garbanzo beans. Garnish with a few springs of parsley and sprinkle the center and around the perimeter with paprika. Pour extra-virgin olive oil in the central canal formed with the back of the spoon. Offer with warm flat Arab bread.

(The recipe is taken from the book “Classic Lebanese Cuisine: 170 Fresh and Healthy Mediterranean Favorites” by Kamal Al-Faqih)

 

HUMMUS – AN ARAB DELIGHT


Hummus is one of the most famous Middle Eastern and Mediterranean delights. It is healthy and nourishing, believed to keep illness away. Hummus is the Arabic word for chickpea which is known today as the garbanzo bean. Garbanzo is the Spanish translation of the word meaning chickpea.

Hummus is one of the oldest foods known, dating back to Egypt over 7,000 years ago. We know that throughout history, chickpeas have been a staple of the Egyptian diet. It is thought that chickpeas have been around since prehistoric times. Chickpeas were growing in the hanging gardens of Babylon. As long ago as about 400 B.C., both Socrates and Plato were writing about the benefits of hummus in their diets. By 1200 A.D. many countries in the Mediterranean basin list Hummus as one of their staple foods. Also, hummus is one of the most widely eaten and the most popular foods of the Middle East. It is also popular food in Greek and Syrian cultures, as well as Lebanon and Holy Land of Palestine, but it is known and eaten in every Arab country, from Morocco in the West to Oman in the East.

The ingredients are pretty much standard, but the distinctive flavors are the ones that change. Because Hummus is legume, it is a healthy alternative dish and it can be very filling.

It is believed that the chickpea is native to the area around Persia and the Caucasus Mountains. Legends say that hummus was first made in the 12th century by the Sultan of Egypt, Saladin.

The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus bi tahina are recorded in cookbooks published in Cairo in the 13th century.

Between nutty-tasting tahini and the buttery texture of the garbanzo beans, the dish is not only flavorful, but a very good source of vitamins and minerals.

 

AISH – EGYPTIAN BREAD

Bread stands out as the most important component of the Egyptian diet. Vendors, flat wicker baskets with aish and perched precariously on their heads, find their way through the crowded streets of Cairo to their selling spot. Aish is the flat brad of Egypt made with a combination of plain and whole-meal flour with sufficient leavening to form a pocket and a soft crust. Its basic character has stayed unchanged by the passage of millenniums, and survived as the constant reminder of the achievements of  Ancient Egyptian culture and civilization.

The Ancient Egyptians developed a strain of wheat which could be threshed without the preliminary heating, taking a giant step towards the improvement of bread. They also found the means to leaven bread made from this wheat. Centuries passed before other civilizations were introduced to leavened bread.

The Ancient Egyptians who, according to Herodotus did everything in a different fashion from ordinary mortals made an enormous contribution to civilization by using the grains in different way: they set aside the dough until it decayed and observed with pleasure the process of fermentation.

This new product could not be baked in the fire coals so the Egyptians invented the oven.  The oven had a cylindrical structure of bricks made of Nile clay, the top narrowing to a cone, the flat partition divided interior and the lower part had a firebox opening while the upper section had a larger opening for the breads and drawing of gasses.

LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA

The great library of Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It was founded by the Ptolemy dynasty around 290 BC, in a palace district known as the Brucheion. The library was opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II (283–246 BC).  It functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. Alexandria was the largest city in the western world at the time, the home of the papyrus industry and the center of the book trade

We don’t know the actual size and content of the library at Alexandria. Some estimate 600,000 scrolls, although that’s probably an overstatement. The daughter library is thought to have contained about 40,000 scrolls. Demetrius Phalereus is said to have reported that the number of papyrus rolls was 200,000, but that he hoped to increase it soon to 500,000.

The library of Alexandria was a part of the Museum of Alexandria, which functioned as a sort of research institute. In addition to the library, the Museum included rooms for the study of astronomy, anatomy, and even a zoo of exotic animals. The classical thinkers who studied, wrote, and experimented at the museum include the fathers of mathematics, engineering, physiology, geography, and medicine.

The library consisted of a group of buildings, including lecture halls, study rooms, dining rooms, gardens, and an astronomical observatory. The buildings were connected by a series of covered walkways, with statues, plantings, and pools, so that scholars could study in the shade.

During the 1980s, Egypt and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization resolved to build the Bibliotheca Alexandrina with the same universal goals as the ancient one: a focal point for research, the advancement of knowledge and the open exchange of ideas.

The ancient library dominated the ancient world of learning from approximately the third century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. The new one sits on the Eastern Harbor on or near the site of the original.

The building, in the shape of a massive disc inclined toward the Mediterranean, evokes the image of the Egyptian sun illuminating the world.