كلمة الشهر: Kalimat ash-shahar (word of the month)
It’s said that the Arabic language has no word for “philanthropy.” However, there are many relevant words related to giving and compassion for humanity. Today we are highlighting صدقة. Transliterated as ‘sadaqah’, this word is rich in history, as its cultural significance has survived well over a millennium, with its origins being traced back to the early days of Islam in the seventh century. The term translates to ‘charity’ or ‘voluntary charity’ in English, but it holds a deeper meaning than just ‘charity’. Sadaqah holds high religious value, as it is an Islamic term that refers to wide spectrum of giving and compassion. It encompasses love, friendship, kindness, generosity and also religious duty.
Arabic words have a rich history and possess meanings that represent ideas and values that are very prominent in culture and deconstructing the words to analyze the roots provides a deeper, more insightful meaning. ‘Sadaqah’ is no exception, as its roots reveal a culture that emphasizes compassion, friendliness and trust in one another. The roots, ص– د – ق(s-d-q), are used in a plethora of Arabic words, all with related meanings to help emphasize this idea of trust and compassion. A couple examples include صديق (sadeeq), which is the term for friend, and the word صدق (sadaq), which is the verb for ‘to believe’.
We hope you enjoyed the first entry in our Arabic word of the month series. We will aim to study Arabic words that relate to giving and compassion and highlight the generous vocabulary of the Arabic language.