Nizar Qabbani: “Hamlet; The Poet”

Posted on 26. Mar, 2015 by in Arabic Language, art, Culture, Language, Literature, Vocabulary

   Ahlan أهــْــلاً , Arabic lovers! Today, I am presenting a beautiful love poem by the great Arab poet Nizar Qabbani نــِــزَار قــَــبــَّــانــِــي . The poem is entitled; “Hamlet; The Poet هــامــلــت شــاعــراً“. In the poem, the lover rushes in his love like Hamlet. He borrows some lines from Hamlet and adapts them to the theme of love. He seeks unlimited love in return to his endless love. He loves madly and asks his beloved to get mad, too. I made the English translation for the poem and I hope you will love it.

The Lovers at Gretna Green by Lapsus Kalamari via Flicker

The Lovers at Gretna Green by Lapsus Kalamari via Flicker

أنْ تـكـوني اِمـرأةً .. أو لا تـكـونـي  ..

To be a woman .. or not to be

تـلـكَ .. تـلـكَ الـمـسـألــَـهْ

This .. this is the question

أنْ تـكـوني اِمـرأتـي الـمـفـضــَّــلـهْ

To be my favorite woman

قـطــَّــتـي الـتـركــيــَّــة الـمـُــدلــَّــلــهْ  ..

My Turkish pet cat

أنْ تـكـونـي الـشـمـسَ .. يـا شـمـسَ عــُــيــونـي 

To be the sun .. O, you; sun of my eyes

و يــداً طــيــّــبــةً فــوقَ جــبــيــنــي 

To be a kind hand over my forehead

أنْ تـكــونـي فـي حــيــاتــي الــمــقــْــبــِــلــَــهْ 

To be in my future life

نــجــمــةً .. تــلــكَ الــمــشــكــِــلــَــهْ 

A star .. this is the question!

أنْ تــكــونــي كــلَّ شــيّْ  .. 

To be everything ..

أو تــُــضــيــعــي كــلَّ شــيّْ  .. 

Or to lose everything ..

إنَّ طــبــْــعــي عــنــدمــا أهــوى  

My mood when in love

كــطــبــْــعِ الــبــَــرْبــَــريّْ  ..

Is like that of a barbarian

أنْ تــكــونــي  .. 

To be ..

كــلَّ مــا يــحــمــلــُــهُ نــوَّارُ مــن عــُــشــْــبٍ نــديّْ 

Everything a bud carries of grass

أنْ تــكــونــي .. دفــتــري الأزرقَ  .. 

To be .. my blue notebook

أوراقــي .. مــِـدادي الــذهــنــيّْ  ..

My papers .. my mental ink

أنْ تــكــونــي .. كــَــلــِــمــَــةً 

To be .. a word

تــبــحــثُ عــن عــُــنــوانــِــهــا فــي شــَــفــَــتــيّْ 

That seeks its address on my lips

طــفــلــةً تــكــبــرُ مــا بــيــن يــديّْ 

A child that grows up in my hands

آهِ يــا حــوريــةً أرســَــلــهــَــا الــبــحــرُ إلــيّْ  .. 

O, you fairy that the sea has sent to me ..

و يــا قــَــرْعَ الــطــُــبــُــولِ الــهــَــمــَــجــيّْ  

O, you barbarian beat of drums

إفْــهــَــمــيــنــي  .. 

Understand me ..

أتــمــنــَّــى مــُــخــْــلــصــاً أنْ تــَــفــْــهــَــمــيــنــي 

I sincerely hope that you understand me

رُبــَّــمــا .. أخــطــأتُ فــي شــرحِ ظــنــُــونــي  

Maybe .. I have misexplained my thoughts

رُبــَّــمــا ســِــرتُ إلــى حــُــبــِّــكِ مــعــصــوبَ الــعــيــونِ 

Maybe I have walked to your love blindly

و نــَــســَــفــْــتُ الــجــســرَ مــا بــيــنَ اِتــِّــزانــي و جــُــنــونــي   

And blew up the bridge between my balance and madness

أنــا لا يــمــكــنُ أنْ أعــشــقَ إلاّ بــجــُــنــونــي 

I can never love but with madness

فــاِقــْــبــَــلــِــيــنــي هــكــذا .. أو فــارْفـــُــضــِــيــنــي  .. 

So, accept me like this .. or reject me

إنــْــصــتــي لــي .. 

Listen to me ..

أتــمــنــَّــى مــُــخــْــلــصــاً أنْ تــُــنــْــصــِــتــي لــي .. 

I do sincerely hope that you listen

مــا هــُــنــاكَ اِمــرأةٌ دُونَ بــديــلِ 

There is no woman with no alternate

فــاتــنٌ وجــهــُــكِ .. لــكــنْ فــي الــهــوى 

Charming is your face .. but in love

لــيــس تــكــفــي فــتــنــةُ الــوجــه الــجــمــيــلِ 

It is not enough to have a charming face

إفْــعــَــلــي مــا شــِــئــتِ .. لــكــنْ حــاذِري .. 

Do whatever you want .. but beware

حــاذِري أنْ تــقــتــلــي فــيَّ فــُــضــُـــولــي .. 

Beware of killing curiosity in me

تــَــعــِــبــَــتْ كــفــَّـــايَ .. يــا ســيــِّـــدتــي 

My hands got tired .. O, Mistress

و أنــا أطـــرُقُ بــابَ الــمــُــســْــتــَــحــيــلِ .. 

While I was knocking the door of the impossible

فــاِعــشــقــي كــالــنــَّــاس .. أو لا تــعــشــقــي 

So, love like people .. or do not love

إنــَّــنــِـي أرفــُــضُ أَنــْــصــَــافَ الــحــُــلــُــولِ .. 

I do refuse half-solutions.


* More poems of Nizar Babbani on our Arabic Blog:


Check us back soon 

Peace  ســَــلام /Salam/

Egyptian Proverbs (9)

Posted on 25. Mar, 2015 by in Arabic Language, Culture, Language, Literature, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

   Arabic proverbs الأمــْــثــَــال الــعــَــرَبــِــيــَّـــة reflect the beauty جــَــمــَــال of the Arabic Language and the wisdom حــِــكــْــمــَــة of the Arabs and their culture. In Egypt, these proverbs are part of everyone’s daily routine. There is no one single situation مــَــوْقــِــف that would not have the perfect proverb tailored for it. Just for the sake of fun الــمــُــتــْــعــَــة , I am going to share some of these famous proverbs. If you are living in Egypt, you will probably recognize them right away, but if you live outside Egypt, most likely you will have a smile إبــْــتــِــســَــامــَـــة on your face. These proverbs are in the Egyptian dialect الـلــَّــهــْــجــَـــة .

Egyptian Proverbs

تــمــوت الــرقــَّــاصــة و وســطــهــا بــيــلــعــب   

/ temoot el-raqqasa wi wistaha bi’yel’ab /

  • Literal Translation: The belly dancer dies, and her waist is still moving.
  • Hidden meaning: Habits stick to the person all his life.
  • Applicability: To criticize somebody for his bad habits.

يــا واخــده الــقــرد عــلــى مــالــه ، يــروح الــمــال و يــفــضــل الــقــرد عــلــى حــالــه  

/ ya wakhda el-ird ala kotr maloh, yerooh el-mal wi yefdal el-ird ala haloh /

  • Literal translation: If you “marry” a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains.
  • Hidden meaning: Don’t get deceived by money.
  • Applicability: To criticize a person who wants to marry anyone only for their money.

جــيـتــلــك يــا عــبــد الــمــعــيــن تــعــيــنــنــى ، لــقــيــتــك يــا عــبــد الــمــعــيــن عــاوز تــنــعــان

/ geetlak ya abdel-mo’een ti’inni, laqeetak ya abdel-mo’een awiz tin’an /

  • Literal translation: I came to you to help me, but I found that YOU need help.
  • Hidden Meaning: If you seek help from someone, he might indeed be in need of help.
  • Applicability: Ironic remark; don’t seek help from helpless people.

حــبـيــبــك يــبــلــع لــك الــزلــط ، و عــدوك يــتــمــنــى لــك الــغــلــط

/ habibak yebla’lak el-zalat wi adow’ak yetmana lak el-ghalat /

  • Literal translation: He, who loves you, swallows stones for you, while your enemy waits for your mistakes.
  • Hidden Meaning: The secrets of today will, in time, be common knowledge.
  • Applicability: To comment on the weird actions of friends/enemies.

يــدى الــحــلــق لــلــى بــلا ودان ، و الــفــســتــق لــلــى بــلا ســنــان    

/ yeddi el-hala’ lilli bila widan wi el-fustu’ lilli bila snaan /

  • Literal translation: Gives earrings to someone with no ears, and pistachio to someone with no teeth.
  • Hidden meaning: Some people get what they don’t deserve or can’t use.
  • Applicability: To comment on somebody getting what they can’t use.

اكــفــى الــقــدرة عــلــى فــُــمــَّــهــا ، تــطــلــع الــبــنــت لأمــهــا

/ ikfi el-qidrah ala fum’maha, titla’ el-bent li um’maha /

  • Literal translation: Place the pot upside down, and the girl will take after her mother.
  • Hidden meaning: A daughter will grow to be very similar to her mom.
  • Applicability: To comment on the physical or character resemblance of mother and daughter.

 اِخــطــُــب لــبــنــتــك ، و مــا تــخــطــبــش لابــنــك   

/ ekh’tob libentak wi matikh’tobsh libnak /

  • Literal translation: Don’t play matchmaker for your son but rather for your daughter.
  • Hidden Meaning: It is not shameful for parents to talk about their daughters and offer them as brides to trustworthy people.
  • Applicability: It is customary for men to propose, so this is a saying advocating that marriage (betrothal) proposals could come from either party. Applied when parents find a good match for their daughter

مــا يــعــجــبــوش الــعــجــب ، و لا الــصــيــام فــى رجــب

/ ma ye’giboush el-‘agab, wala el-siyaam fi Ragab /  

  • Literal translation:  Wonders don’t please him, nor does fasting in the month of Ragab.
  • Hidden Meaning: Criticism of someone who’s impossible to please.
  • Applicability: To comment on someone who is “blasé” or who puts down everything or everyone.

بــعــد مــا شــاب ، ودوه الــكــُــتــَّــاب

/ ba’d ma shab, waddouh el-kut’tab /

  • Literal translation: After he grew old, they sent him to school.
  • Hidden Meaning: You can’t teach old dogs new tricks!
  • Applicability: when an old person starts to learn a new thing.

أســمــع كــلامــك أصــدقــك ، أشــوف أُمــورك أســتــعــجــب    

/ asma’ kala’mak asada’ak, ashouf umou’rak asta’gib /

  • Literal translation: I believe when you say, but I wonder when you act.
  • Hidden Meaning: Your words contradict your actions.
  • Applicability: When someone’s actions contradict his speech, i.e. doesn’t practice what he preaches.


Egyptian Proverbs (1)               Egyptian Proverbs (2)

Egyptian Proverbs (3)               Egyptian Proverbs (4)

Egyptian Proverbs (5)               Egyptian Proverbs (6)

Egyptian Proverbs (7)              Egyptian Proverbs (8)


Check us back soon 

Peace  ســَــلام /Salam/

Practice Negation

Posted on 23. Mar, 2015 by in Arabic Language, Grammar, Language

In this post, we revise the different ways of negation (النفي) in Arabic.

In Arabic, we usually use special particles to negate different constructions. Below is a list of the common ways of negation.

Present tense verbs are negated by (لا)

Past tense verbs are negated by (ما) or by (لم + present tense)

Future is negated by (لن + present tense)

Nominal sentences are negated by (ليس)

Adjectives and nouns are negated by (غير)

Now try to negate the following constructions:

 في غرفة صفنا شبابيك كثيرة

حصل خالد على تقدير “ممتاز″

يأخذ السفر من بيروت إلى دمشق وقتاً طويلاً

ستبقى جدتي معنا إلى آخر هذا الأسبوع

من المسلمين


Now check the answer below:

ليس في غرفة صفنا شبابيك كثيرة

ما حصل خالد على تقدير “ممتاز″

لا يأخذ السفر من بيروت إلى دمشق وقتاً طويلاً

لن تبقى جدتي معنا إلى آخر هذا الأسبوع

من غير المسلمين

غير متعاون

You can find more examples in the video below:

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