Learning the Maqamat (the Arabic modal framework) is one of the challenges western musicians face when trying to play or to seriously listen to Arabic music.
It is still hard to find good structured ‘academic’ material about the theory of the Maqamat, and there is no one way to categorize or classify the dozens of different modes.
This mainly derives from the gap between theory and practice in Arabic music. Read more about it in “On Studying the Practice of an Oral Tradition” (here on google books!) from the book “Palestinian Arab Music: A Maqam Tradition in Practice” by Dalia Cohen and Ruth Katz.
I have written here before about what a great tool YouTube is, and in this case I found a few good videos for learning the Maqamat one by one (without needing to know Arabic or Hebrew!). Most of these are from a YouTube user named Nahwand Maroc, plus some others I have picked up.
Here are 11 of them, you can browse the other videos by clicking the button on the bar below the player.
UPDATE – The videos have been deleted..
There are also quite a few books for learning the Maqamat, a really good one is “The Maqam Book” by David Mualem, with musical examples from the great Qanun player Abraham Salman.