A Collection of Beautiful Arabic Proverbs

The Arabic language and culture is rich with history and tradition. Stories that are passed down from father to son are often passed down for generations and some of them have become beautiful proverbs over the centuries. At Salaam Apparel, we are proud of our heritage and we feel that the Arabic language and its teachings are an important reminder that teaches us many of life’s lessons. Some of these lessons are included in the Arabic proverbs below.
     We have included the proverb in its interpretation as well as a practical explanation of each one and how it can apply to your life.
التكرار يعلّم الحمار (it-tikraar yi3allim il-Humaar.)
Repetition teaches (even) a donkey. (Practice makes perfect.)
 

يا أخذ القرد على ماله, راح المال وبقي القرد على حاله. (ya waaxod il-'ird 3ala maalu yiruuH il-maal wa yi'3od il-'ird 3ala Haalu)

If you marry a monkey (i.e. someone ugly) for his money, the money will go away and the monkey will stay the same (as ugly as ever). (Don't marry for money.)

 

القرد فى عين امه غزال. (il-'ird fi 3ein ummu ġazaal.)

In his mother’s eye, the monkey is (as beautiful as) a gazelle. (Comment about mothers' bias or partiality to their children.)
 
الطيور على اشكالها تقع.(iT-Tuyuur 3ala aškaaliha taqa3u.)
Birds of a feather flock together.
 

اليد في الميّة مش زي اليد في النار. (il-iid fil-mayya miš zayy il-iid fin-naar.)

The hand in water isn’t like the hand in fire. (Easier said than done; used to criticize someone removed from the situation at hand who is telling those involved how to deal with it.)
 
ابن الوزّ عوّام. (ibn il-wazz 3awwam.)
The son of a goose is a swimmer. (Like father, like son.)
 
دوام الحال من المحال. (dawaam il-Haal min il-muHaal.)
Continuing the same state is impossible. (Nothing stays the same.)
 
اللى يشوف بلوة غيره تهون عليه بلوته. (illi yišuuf belwit ġeiru tihuun 3aleih belwitu.)
Seeing someone else’s problems makes your own problems seem smaller. (Considering others' problems will give you perspective.)
 
احنا في الهوا سوا. (eHna fil hawa sawa.)
We are in the same boat (lit. same air).
 
اللى مكتوب عالجبين لازم تشوفه العين. (illi maktuub 3al-gibiin laazim tšuufu l-3ein.)
What is written on the brow will inevitably be seen by the eye. (One will inevitably meet one’s destiny.)
 
يا مآمن للرجال يا مآمن الميّة في الغربال. (ya me'aammin lir-ragaal ya me'aammin il-mayya fil-ġurbaal.)
Trusting men is like trusting water in a sieve.
 
الحلو حلو لو قام من النوم، والوحش وحش لو غسل وشّه كل يوم. (il-Helw Helw law 'aam min in-noom, wal-weHš weHš law ġasal wiššu kull yoom.)
The beautiful is beautiful (even right after) rising from sleep, and the ugly is ugly (even) if they wash their face every day. (You can't hide beauty or make the ugly beautiful.)
 
على قد لحافك مد رجليك. (3ala 'add liHaafak midd regleik.)
Stretch your legs as far as your blanket extends. (Don’t live beyond your means.)
 
انت تريد وهو يريد والله يفعل ما يريد. (anta turiid wa-howa yuriid wallaah yaf3al ma yuriid.)
You want what you want and he wants what he wants, but God does what He wants. (Man proposes, God disposes.)
 
طبّاخ السمّ بيدوقه. (Tabbaax is-simm biyduu'u.)
One who cooks poison tastes it. (What goes around comes around.)
 
اتغدّى بيه قبل ما يتعشّى بيك. (itġadda biih 'abl ma yit3ašša biik.)
Eat him for lunch before he eats you for dinner. (Kill him before he kills you; get your blow in first.)
 
الحركة بركة. (il-Haraka baraka.)
Movement is a blessing. (Exercise is good.)
 
تضرب القدرة على فمها تطلع البنت لأمها. (tiDrab il-'idra 3ala fummaha, tiTla3 il-bint li-ummaha.)
Like mother, like daughter.
 
خسارة قريبة أحسن من مكسب بعيد. (xosaara qariiba aHsan min maksab ba3iid.)
A loss soon is better than a victory much later. (It's better to cut your losses and admit defeat quickly rather than stick it out and eventually win a victory that cost you a lot.)
 
الجايات أحسن من الرايحات. (ig-gayyaat aHsan min ir-rayHHaat.)
What is coming is better than what is gone. (The future is better than what's past; used to cheer people up.)
 
الغالي تمنه فيه (il-ġaali tamanu fiih)
You get what you pay for. (Expensive things are worth the price for their quality.)
 
إن سرقت، اسرق جمل، وإن عشقت، اعشق قمر (in sara't, isra' gamal, wa'in 3eše't, i3ša' 'amar)
If you steal, steal a camel, and if you love, love (someone as beautiful as) the moon. (If you're going to do something, go all out.)