2 Traditional arabic children’s games

What are the traditional children’s games among the Arabs?

The Arabic dictionary books explain what are the games among the children of the Arab nation. The linguist, Ibn Siddah al-Andalusi (d. 458 H/1067 CE) in his language book, ‘Al-Mukhossos’, puts a separate chapter on the names of entertainment among the Arabs, and contains a section on ‘games’. He said there are 42 types of games.

Then Ibn Manzur (d. 711 H/1311 CE), in his famous mu’jam book, ‘Lisanul Arob’, detailed some of the games by adding about how to play them.

The Arab historian, Al-Faqihi (d. 272 H/885 CE) in his book, ‘Akhbar Makkah’, specifically discusses the condition of Makkah society, including the games played by children and teenagers of Makkah.

One of the chapters in the book, raises specifically about the traditional game that has been played by the people of Makkah since pre-Islamic times.

1. Traditional children’s games among the Arabs: Al Kurrok

Al-Faqihi tells the story of when Umar bin Khattab saw the game ‘Al Kurrok’ being played. Then Umar said, “If it weren’t for the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم who approved you (who played Al Kurrok), I would not have agreed to it.”

Traditional arabic children's games
Traditional arabic children’s games

Al Kurrok is an ancient game commonly played by the people of Makkah and was still played until 210 A.D./825 A.D.

Since then the game has ceased to be played until now. People who know the game of Al Kurrok from the Arabic books, will consider the game to be the same as the game ‘Al Kurroj’ in Persian and Arabic. This game is a wooden statue that is considered a pony, and then played on it.

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2. Traditional children’s game among the Arabs: Al Qirq

Ibn Manzur in his Lisanul Arab, also describes a game of intelligence often played by the ancient Arabs, called ‘Al Qirq’.

Traditional arabic children's games
Traditional arabic children’s games

The game uses a square-shaped line and inside this square line there is a square line. Then, everyone involved in the game puts a sign or inscription on each corner from the first line to the second line.

Between each of these two corners, a line is made again, so that in total there are 24 lines. How to play it with gravel or the like placed on top of those lines. Until now, this game still exists and is played.

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