We would like to welcome you to our latest installment in our Arabic Word of the Month blog series! Last month, we kicked off the new year by introducing the Arabic word for generosity, ‘karam’ (كرم). With Valentine’s Day coming up, we figured it would be appropriate to dedicate this month’s word to the main theme of the holiday: love. After all, philanthropy means “love of humanity.”
In Arabic, love translates to الحب (al-hub). Love is a very important theme in Arab culture, as it is often a topic of literature; many famous poems involve this central idea. Love is so prominent, that there exists numerous words to convey the feeling: الهوى (al-hawa), this is the more poetic term for love, as it is often used in literature; العشق (al-‘ushq), this is a more formal way of referring to love and is less common.
‘Al-hub’ provides the roots for other terms related to love and care. The verb ‘to love’, أحب (ahab) is derived from the root letters and is a common term of endearment not just between lovers, but between friends and families as well. Another word that shares its roots with ‘al-hub’ is the word for dear, or lover, حبيب (habib). ‘Habib’ is a term that reflects the caring nature of the Arab culture, as it is not only used romantically, rather, it used as a term of endearment between friends and family members. Often, families refer to each other as ‘habibi’ (male) or ‘habibti’ (female) depending on gender; it is even used as a general way of addressing someone.
We hope you enjoyed this month’s word! We would like to wish a happy Valentine’s Day to everyone; now you can express your love and care for one another in Arabic! We look forward to continuing our celebration of the Arabic language and Arab culture.