10 Inspirational Arab Proverbs
By: Udochi Esomonu/Arab America Contributing Writer
Proverbs are a special way to gain insight into one’s culture. Proverbs, through the power of anecdotal messages and meanings, allow for various cultures and societies to share a common idea, While they showcase a universal cultural message, they also highlight the unique nature of various cultures and societies.
Proverbs are essential to Arab culture, as they represent an account for the many values which the culture upholds and practices. These sayings showcase the wisdom that has been accumulated over the centuries as they continue to remain relevant and are held near and dear to the hearts of Arabs.
There are over one hundred proverbs that are representative of the Arab culture and here is a list of 10 inspirational Arab proverbs that can ultimately change your way of life:
1.“Lack of intelligence is the greatest poverty.”
This proverb accents the power of general knowledge and intelligence. It is through knowledge and one’s awareness of such a knowledge that one is fully rich at heart. A deficiency of such an intellectual maturity is a representation of one’s poverty. To be rich in heart means to exemplify wisdom, while to be poor in heart means to exemplify a lack of wisdom.
2.”Start seeking knowledge from the cradle up to the grave.”
This proverb, like the one above, highlights the importance of not only knowledge itself, but the process through which one acquires knowledge. Knowledge is something that you don’t acquire during one specific point in your life, knowledge is something that takes a lifetime to acquire. Knowledge is a product of one’s experiences throughout the entirety of life.
3. “Every sun has to set.”
This proverb is the perfect message to exemplify life itself. The meaning behind these words is this simple thought: everything that you experience throughout your life comes to an end. The end doesn’t necessarily have to be dark and gloomy, it can be beautiful and peaceful, as compared to sunsets themselves, as they too set differently from day to day. Overall, just like the sun inevitably will set regardless of the day, whatever you are experiencing will too see an ending.
4. “Wishing does not make a poor man rich.”
This message follows the idea that actions speak louder than words. If you want something for yourself or for your own life, wishing doesn’t suffice. To live the reality that you wish to live, you must stop wishing for it and do what needs to be done to make such a fantasy become a reality. It is through creating concrete plans and enacting such plans that are the catalyst to the transition from a poor heart to that of a rich one.
5. “When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be.”
This proverb highlights the importance of love. True love is shown in one’s ability to love a person as they are or as they choose to be as opposed to being a version of themselves that is not authentically them. Love comes through seeing past the flaws of someone and appreciating them for who they are instead of making attempts to alter them to fit your desired mold.
6. “A day lasts until it’s chased away but love lasts until the grave.”
Much like the one above, this proverb highlights the power of love. Love, unlike a day, has no restrictions or timetables, making it one of the most powerful feeling that a human can experience. A day, bounded by a 24-hour mark, bounded by the sun and the moon, alters and changes as the days progress, but love itself sees no bounds as it lasts from the beginning of life up until the end of our days.
7. “Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”
This proverb highlights the main notion of family: support. A family isn’t exemplified by just blood, it is characterized by the ability to support a loved one through anything. To support means to neither turn a blind eye nor leave one behind when in most need of help. It is important that support is provided to those who you love and plan to keep in your life.
8. “My family is my strength and my weakness.”
This saying accents the power and importance of the notion of family. The family itself is the representation of one’s strength, as the family sees no end, it lasts forever. Throughout the duration of your life, it is the members of your family who provide you with love and support. In exchange for such love and support in your own life, you reciprocate such actions. Family can also be a representation of one’s weakness. As you provide love and support to your family, what they may experience can directly influence your emotions and feelings. If your family member is experiencing sadness, you, as a provider of love and support towards that person, you will eventually sympathize, thus transferring their emotions to those of your own.
9. “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”
This saying exemplifies the power of friendship. Friendship is geared by a desire to support and provide for a loved one through it all, regardless of the reality of darkness or light, or for lack of better terms, positive or negative. Friendship is a beautiful gift; it resembles a companionship that is built on a foundation of trust, love, and support, which is strong, permeates through any circumstance that may appear. One is stronger facing the negatives with a strong friend than if facing the light without one.
10. “Unity is power.”
This message focuses on the importance of unity as opposed to isolation. Power comes not through division, hatred, or separation, but only through unity, companionship, and love. One stands a stronger force when united with others rather than just alone.