Arabic and its many loves

We often associate Arabic with the language of terrorism, its calligraphy with the flags of extremists hell-bent on usurping power and leaving a path of carnage behind them.

But anyone familiar with the Arabic language will attest to its true beauty. A treasure’s chest of homonyms and homographs – a mere shaddah or fathah can change “sugar” to “drunk”, “mourn” to “sharp”, “love” to “seed”.

Its poetry is embedded deep into our every day language and greetings. “حياتي”  (“Hayeti” – my life), “حبيبي” (“habibi” – my love), ” قلبي” (“qalbi” – my heart) ring our homes and streets. Turn on a light and you will hear someone say “ينوّر عليك” (“yanawwir ‘alayk” – May God light up your path). Be beloved by me, and I will say “تقبرني ” (“toqborni” –  I  hope I die before you because I cannot live without you).

It saddens me that Arabic has become the language of fear, when so many of its words are dedicated to ‘love’ and its states, some of which are captured beautifully below:


I wish someday that those who speak Arabic fall back in love with its many loves. Maybe then it will be celebrated once more for the beauty rather than the fear it currently brings to this world.




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