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Whenever you are out of patience…

  • 1360

Today, or rather tonight actually, I would love to post about a very classical proverb. In fact, I don't understand why I didn't write about it until now. This proverb is so common in the Arab world that it might be graded as an idiom or a saying. It is short and quite easy to digest, hopefully. AND, it is my first trial to provide an audio with it! Hope it works well for all!

الصّبْرُ مِفْتاحُ الفَرَجِ

Translation: Patience is the key to (of) relief.

Transliteration: ac-cabru miftáħul-faraj(i).

Moral: Said to someone as an encouragement to have patience and wait for the outcome of some matter, and also as a form of condolences.

Audio: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AtZbIhL2YUECgWxQZJrLX4ELk2gg?e=jiB2fl


الصّبْرُ: The patience.
مِفْتاحُ: Key.
الفَرَج: The Relief.


We have a classical nominal sentence which contains not a single verb. You can see how the English translation is "forced" to have the verb (to be) or is to connect the elements of the sentence, but in Arabic this is not required.
Another point here, is how the difference in generalizing concepts work in both Arabic and English. In the Arabic version, we see الصّبْر (ac-cabr) which translates literally to (the patience). However, in the English translation it did sound a bit awkward (for me) to use "the patience" at the beginning of the sentence. Another example for such contrast between the two concept: One might say in English I like nature (or love nature), which I think does not need "the" before "nature" because it is a general concept. However, in Arabic, the noun comes defined anyway: أنا أحب الطبيعة (aná uħibbuŧ-ŧabí3ah), where (الطبيعة: aŧ-ŧabí3ah) is "the nature". I've seen some users here who are surprised that some words in English are not mentioned in the Arabic translation, and vice versa. If there is one thing you need to learn before learning any language, not only Arabic, is to prepare your brain to accept and receive a new culture, and a new system and even a new look at life as a whole (the language is the container of the culture). This way, such tiny obstacles in translations would not put you down and would not sound too weird!

Note: In the example above, أنا أحب الطبيعة, the word أنا (aná: I) can be dropped because the pronoun is already merged as a prefix in the verb أحب in the form of (u-). In case you are wondering how and why I merged two words here, recall the presence of AL and the concept of solar letters (ط "ŧ" is a solar letter which doubles when AL is attached).

The next two words here are related in a genitive case and this is another point in my translation. This is why I did put "of" in parentheses beside "to" because I think in English, the proper translation would use "to" instead of "of". However, I wanted to show the genitive relation that exists between the two nouns here, so I've put it in parentheses. Also, the second term, الفرج is supposed to get (-i) at its end and this is why I've placed "i" in parentheses in the transliteration section. The last vowel in the sentence can be dropped since the sentence is over, and if you heard the audio already, you will notice that I do not spell out the (-i) at the end. But it's good to add it in parentheses to emphasize the grammatical role at play in such genitive case.

Now, usually I do not go deep into the grammar but this one here is for beginners and this is probably one of the first things we learn at school. The structure and elements of the nominal sentence; A sentence which starts with a noun. First, the two pillars for such sentences are: مُبْتَدَأ (mubtada') which translates to "starter". In Western terms, you can call it the subject of the sentence. The second term is خَبَر (xabar), which translates to "predicative"; It is the word that tells the status or the bit of information we need about the "mubtada'".
In the case of our proverb here we have an interesting case (well, we've seen it a lot but at this place it would be interesting), and it is that the "xabar" (i.e. the predicative of the sentence) is a composite, in the form of a genitive relation between two words. In other words, the two, مفتاح and الفرج are acting as one entity to form the predicative. Also, this composite of two words, is sometimes called semi-sentence (شبه جملة: šibhu jumlah). In fact, this term is a category on its own. But never mind for now. Sometimes, it helps to think about it mathematically (if you are a math fan for example): Imagine the words are X, Y and Z respectively (from right to left of course), then the sentence is composed in the form of X+(Y·Z), where (Y·Z) are the predicative altogether. If you think this is complicated or have some math anxiety, please leave it and let's stick to the language talk! But what I want to get to is that: Having a semi-sentence (e.g. words in genitive or preposition+noun) or even a sentence (mostly being a verbal sentence) in the place of a predicative or an object in a sentence is quite common in Arabic. I'm just stating this for the future, and for those who want to go deeper, if they like.

Note: I don't like the website which I've uploaded the audio to and you might find other audio files playing automatically after mine but this is just a trial for the time being until I find a proper website, other than Dropbox, to drop my files in. Unfortunately, this website also does not have any privacy as my file is actually searchable by others while I want it to be available only for people viewing this forum post. Anyway, I hope the recording quality is good and the sounds of the letters are clear.

Update: I've changed the link location to the audio file. This time I've uploaded it to my Hotmail OneCloud. I think this one should be safe.

August 7, 2019



Yes, Thank you so much. You are making it in such a high quality. And yes, this website is not clean. My anti-virus blocket it immediately.

  • 1360

that's weird ... why my anti-virus didn't say anything! (it's paid for!).

hmm time to search again


Yes, this one is a classic! I also like this one "العلم في الصغر كالنقش على الحجر " and "تجري الرياح بما لا تشتهي السفن" :)

  • 1360

yep .. i need to think of those (and get some time to do about them :) )

  • 1360

OK friends, I've updated the link. I've uploaded the file to my OneCloud under Hotmail (my old email :) ) I think this one should be safe


Thanks, yes this works.

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