1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Arabic
  4. >
  5. Creeds of Love: Proverb.


Creeds of Love: Proverb.

  • 1415

Hello everyone,
Hope you're having a nice day/evening. I've been thinking of something to post and this saying occurred to me from no where. I have to admit though, I've been neglecting some home work just to do this typing, so I hope you like this post and get some information in return. All that cleaning around here has to wait for one more day…
Anyway, without a delay, the saying or proverb for today is a line from a poem, so I provided a bit of background about it before hopping into all that grammatical and linguistic jargon. Good luck! Oh, and before I go, it might be a good idea to have a headphone to listen to the audio with this post. I think it improves the quality significantly.

للناسِ فيما يَعْشَقونَ مَذاهِبُ

Translation: People have different creeds in what they love. Transliteration (phonetic): Lin-nási fímá ya3šaqúna maðáhibu.
Transliteration (by word): Lil-Nás fímá ya3šaqún maðáhib.
Audio: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AtZbIhL2YUECgXYollB5ET_eNoiw?e=5YL3I2
Moral: A saying quoted to note that it is normal for people to like different things and have different "rituals" or ways in the way they express their love for something.


للناسِ: To the people.
فيما: In what.
يعشقون: They love.
مَذاهِبُ: Creeds, ways.


You have noticed how I've spelled the last vowel in this saying, which is usually dropped when it is not followed by something else to complete the sentence, because it is the end of the sentence. Anyway, I've spelled out the last "b" as "bu" because this line is a poetic line and people used to say it that way without any stop and keeping the last vowel in it. In poetry, in any language of course, it is important to keep the rhyme and the "musical" tone, so in such instances typically the last vowel is kept if it serves the rhyme and tone. This line of poetry had been mentioned by many poets. However, the original seems to come from a poem by Abu-Firás Al-Hamadaní أبو فراس الحمداني, a prince and a warrior who lived during the 10th century, mainly in northern Syria, and was captured and released by the Byzantines during the typical skirmishes and raids between the various Islamic states back then and the Byzantines. It is said that Abu-Firás' finest poems were composed during his captivity time.

Byzantium and Byzantine are more of a modern terminology coined by scholars to distinguish between the Eastern and the Western Roman empires. Arabs, and other nations, as well as Byzantines themselves called themselves Rúm, i.e. Romans. In fact, to my knowledge and to what I've read, up until the independence of Greece from the Ottoman empire, Greeks would call themselves Roumi, and such was their name in Ottoman times.


Worth noting that some people might start this saying or line of poetry with الناسُ instead of للناسِ, which actually does not change the position of the first word from being a subject, but the meaning or logic is a bit different between the two:

  • للناس فيما يعشقون مذاهب: People have different creeds in what they love.
  • الناس فيما يعشقون مذاهب: People are of different creeds in what they love.

However, in this instance, I will stick to the original saying which uses للناسِ.


Put simply, this "combo" of prefix and noun means (to people, for people), or in other words (people have); There are various ways in Arabic to tell that X has Y and this is one of them, where the preposition لـ comes before the noun (well, all prepositions come before nouns anyway, but I mean as a prefix here). Typically, such preposition would cause the original word to change its last vowel to (-i) and hence we have Kasrah under the last letter.
I remember seeing some people wondering about a double "L" in the beginning of some words, like here in this instance. Here, we have a case of dropping the Alif of the definite article (AL) because of the prefix attachment. This does not happen with all prepositions, except for لـ for orthographic reasons. So, instead of writing لالناس (to the people), it becomes للناسِ. Just for comparison, let's suppose we want to attach another preposition prefix, say بـ (bi: in/by), such elimination of Alif won't happen: بالناسِ (bin-nási: in the people). As you can see, we kept the Alif of (AL) here.

Worth noting, some words come with initial Alif in the beginning when indefinite, but this Alif would be dropped when (AL) is added. One example of such incident is the words امرؤ (umru') and امرأة (imra'ah), both mean (person) for masculine and feminine respectively, or (man) and (woman) so to say. When (AL) is added, the two would become المرء (al-mar') and المرأة (al-mar'ah). The word الناس, however, can be mentioned either way when indefinite, either as ناس (nás) or أُناس (unás). In fact, the two words might be of different origin but the meaning is still the same after all, "People".


It is typical in Arabic to merge articles together, and this is one of them here, where the preposition في (fí: in) is merged with the conjugation ما (má: what), to form فيما. Other merging processes between such articles might cause some cluster merging as well but let's not get out of the scope of this post right now. The article ما (má) can be problematic somewhat for new comers because it is used in various places and for various purposes; It can be used to ask a question (equivalent to ماذا, máðá: what) or it might come before a verb to negate it in specific conditions (along with other negating articles). Thus, I can say the only clue (for new comers) about the work of such article is by the context. We as natives would understand it that way without thinking about it.
On the other hand, the combo of فيما here, is a conjugation or an article that links between two sentences; Just like in English we would use in what to link the two sentences before (as in a cause before the article and an effect after it), this is exactly what فيما does here. However, just how you can use in what to ask questions in questions in English as well, it is also possible to do that in Arabic - But there is a little change that must be done when bringing this article in the beginning of the sentence to ask a question: فيما would become فيمَ; The last Alif is removed and replaced with a short vowel (a), or fatHa. This is when it is used to ask a question as in in what?.


Before delving into the grammar of verbs and their conjugations, let me first introduce something about "Love" in Arabic. The word "Love" in Arabic do translate into various words. However, there is one simple direct translation for this word, which is حُبْ (ħub). Without going deeper into eloquence and literature, Arabs named various levels of love with specific names that signify the degree or the psyche of the lover. One of these degrees and probably the highest of them all is العِشْق (al-3išq).

Side note: In Turkish, the words aşk and âşık ("love" and "lover" respectively) are derived from the Arabic words عٍِشْق (3išq) and عاشِق (3ášiq).

As for the verb here, we need a bit for analysis because it is typical for Arabic to press things into single words:

  • First, the verb is derived from عشق (love).
  • The verb starts with يـ (ya-) which signifies it is a present tense.
  • The verb ends with ـون (-ún) which signifies it refers to 3rd-masculine-plural.

So, the final result is for the analysis is (they love). Or maybe I'd rather say (they are deeply in love). One important thing to note here, and that is: Signs or marks for conjugations in verbs for dual and plural do not show on the last letter as in a typical singular verb, or like it is the case with various noun-cases. The conjugations for such verbs are marked by the last 2 letters, which are typically the ـان in the dual case and ـون for the plural (3rd masculine plural). Detailing this would take pages and I think I've posted about such details in previous posts. So, what I'm trying to say here, is that the last fatHa in ـونَ (-úna) is inherit and it is what it is. It might be muted at the end of the sentence as usual, but in case of any article coming before the verb and changing its conjugations, then last fatHa has no effect.

An example: The verb here is يعشقون (they love). If I want to negate this for the future tense, I would use the article لَن (lan) with the present tense to get the meaning of (they will not love) - This would be لَن يَعْشَقوا (lan ya3šaqú). As you can see, the ن had been omitted and replaced with a mute Alif. This Alif is added for orthographic reasons. The combination of ـوا is called واو الجماعة (wáw al-jamá3ah: Waw of plural). The Alif is said to be there just to distinguish this Waw and not to be spelled out, because some verbs do end with an original Waw in their stems.


A plural noun, whose singular is مَذْهَب (maðhab). The word itself is a derivation from the verb ذَهَبَ (ðahaba: to go). It is used in various contexts and probably the most famous usage is when people talk about the creeds or the Islamic schools of Islam, like the Sunni school المذهب السُّنّي (al-maðhab as-sunní) or the Shiite school المذهب الشيعي (al-maðhab aš-ší3í).

Side Note: The Shiite school of thought is also known as The Jafarite school المذهب الجعفري (al-maðhab al-ja3farí), in reference to Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq جعفر الصادق (circa 700-765) who is considered to be the 6th Imam by the Twelver Shiite sect. The Sunni school is a general name for majorly 4 schools or families of thoughts that evolved along the Islamic history, namely: Maliki المالكي, Hanifi حنيفي, Shafi'i الشافعي, and Hanbali الحنبلي; Each named after its initiator and developer.

Thus, while it has a religious sense, but the word itself is used in literature for the meaning of "way," "method," or even "rituals" that one would follow or adapt. This word here is our predicative of the whole saying, and we know that because it tells the status of the people mentioned in the very beginning. This plural is an irregular (or broken) plural, thus when its status change, the last vowel changes accordingly as if it was a singular noun. Or, in other words, in accusative it would be مذاهبَ (maðáhiba) or when a preposition comes before it, it would be مذاهبِ (maðáhibi).


I would stop here and I hope all this analysis is good enough to learn something new. I didn't like the idea of going further about specifying the subject (or Mubtada') and the predictive (or Xabar) of this sentence because matters here are a bit entwined and compositional as a LEGO game. However, one of the things that I've realized after, unfortunately, after graduation from high school, is the fact that grammar in Arabic (and probably most of the languages out there) is to be taken by logic in the first place and not by words' order alone. Time to wish you a nice day/evening! وداعاً.

November 2, 2019



Thank you I am a native Arabic speaker and I have enjoyed reading this. By the way, I am avoiding doing homework by reading your post.

Thank you for sharing!

  • 1415

Most welcome :)


I love your passion for teaching others and of course how you love your language too. Thanks for your dedication. But why this language is so difficult??!! :D I'm already learning it on DL for 3 months and i read your posts and still I can't get the structure of this language. :D Still thanks. شكراً

  • 1415


Well, maybe you should do like Juliet does... keep notes to get back to and read all over again :)
Each language is hard on its own actually. Believe it or not, Arabic classes in high school were pretty hard for me back then and I really get bad grades. English was much easier. I didn't get that "self worth" feeling until later in life, around my 30s.
We have to keep in mind though that a language, any language, is the result of the environment surrounding it, and it is the result of the civilization that advanced through it. Probably the hardship of Arabic comes from the many features that are not quite obvious or available for speakers in other languages, which results in longer translations. For example, a word like بُشْرى (bušrá) means (good tidings), and a verb like استبشر (istabšara) means "to take as good omen". All that is a result of a typical "roots" system which Arabic follows, where a speaker would take 3 or 4 letters to form a root and then develop words from these 3 consonants by adding and remove vowels according to specific modulation to yield different meanings. Maybe the second hardship comes from the sounds that are a bit strange to Westerners, who learn such a language. Needless to say, many of the books out there, and in order to make things closer to the understanding of the Western language hierarchy, they would give names for some specific grammatical cases which eventually would turn out as misnomers. I've talked about that in previous posts.
All in all, good luck with it. I have to say though that Duolingo Arabic course is not the best. If you are serious about the language, then you must take off away from here at some point when you think you are ready. Good luck!


I get it. But I think the environment point in my place would be the hardest thing to do. Because to learn only from books and online lessons is hard by not hearing natural speaking people around or as we say in my country ''living language"

  • 1415

True. The environment to live into the language is the first hardship for every language learner. Anyway, this effect can be smoothed a bit (just a bit) by checking media, resources, anything you can get your hands on to learn a language. This is how I did/do it with Irish.

Well, I will check all replies tomorrow hopefully - it's already past midnight here :) Good Night from here تصبحون بخير


Are you Arabian??! Now, I am, but I just read to "Fima" .. and wow you know a lot, I can't explain how much you know specific details! (Even if you are Arabian that's a lot) ما شاء الله:)

  • 1415

نعم، أنا عربي.


Let's hope that this time my Wifi will work when I am going to post it. :-))

You choosed a very good one. I like the story behind it. And it shows from whom Ali Ibn Abi Talib learned to use the language and to observe people. Thank you so much. This is definitely saved too.

  • 1415

hmm but this post is not about ali bin Abi Talib. I think this reply is repeated from my last post?


Oh S..... . Sorry, I mixed it up. Yes this was the Syrian story. I now it is not really correct. ;-) I guess I am too busy with my website project right now and being too distracted. Sorry, sorry. But please, keep writing these beautiful posts. When I will have learned to use the program in a really good way then I will be back here completely again. ;-)

  • 1415

Best of luck with it!

Learn Arabic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.