x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Wisdom through words: some Emirati proverbs

Here is a selection of Emirati proverbs

* Doun Al Halwa maash, wa doun Al zawali farash: You don't need that particular sweet to live or enjoy life, and you don't need that particular carpet or rug to rest upon. Stated to remind someone about contentment and not seek that one particular object that could be hard to get.

* Man Amarak? Man Nahanee?: Who ordered you to do this? Who stopped me from doing this? Story behind this is that there was a man stationed at a cemetery's gate who would ask to be paid a few rupees each time someone brought over a body to be buried. Families of the deceased would be too upset to question him over the fee. Then one day, someone told the sheikh of the tribe about this man, and he was brought over to him. The sheikh asked him who had ordered him to be stationed there and take the money, and that is when he replied, "no one stopped me". The sheikh then ordered him to stop, and he did.

* Al Darahim Marahim: Money is like an ointment, takes pain and problems away. It is said that this proverb goes back to the fourth Caliphate, Ali ibn Abi Talib. (656 -661 CE)

* Al Duniya Jafela, had yarouh, had yadwi: A bedu proverb, where life is compared to a caravan, someone leaves in the afternoon, and someone comes at sunset. Also refers to birth and death in life's cycle.

* Dana Taleaa min Kharaba: a coastal proverb, where a beautiful pearl had emerged from a bad oyster. Said to when there is a beautiful woman with great manners and poise that came from a bad home with a bad reputation.

* Al Zain moutalaa al ghoul min al sarb: a proverb from the mountains, where a wiseman was able to get the snake out of its hole, and kill it. Applied to when someone with good manners and kindness was so good that was able to gain the trust of a snake or someone bad and reform or convince them.

* Courtesy Dr Rashid Al Mazrouei