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Creativity (Part 3)

The human-societal life is a spirited communal action…[it is] trial and error…and a transcendence of the past…[it is] stimuli and reactions as a product of this effectiveness and bears a historical consciousness that is the reserves of the cultural society just as it bears a future goal, since this is undoubtedly what gives life’s action a social or humanistic meaning.

If an animal reacts to its surrounding stimulants in a repeated, conventional way which we describe as instinct, then the human-societal reaction is not likewise, rather, it is an adaptation to novelty, that is, it is a critical, rational action in order to harmonise with novelty and transcend convention and a departure on a path of fashioning life founded on a methodology and principles that are [both] recognised in the interim by the name of principles of logic and scientific research methodology.

The human-societal existence, according to this conception, is the historical effectiveness for this activity. A person, because they are governed by objective rules of activity for their existence, yet by virtue of the consciousness and intellect that they own, [which] are the harvest of their accomplishments and activity, they are in a state that makes them fit to make new circumstances for the activity of the laws and indeed up until forming a new existence that has its new rules.

Pre-Islamic Poetry 3

ألم أك جاركم ويكون بيني     وبينكم المودة والإخاء

Was I not your neighbour whilst there was between me and you love and brotherliness?

Meaning: [The poet,] Al-Hutay’ah, reprimands the Al-Zibriqan family with this verse and says to them: I was an adherent of yours living under your protection and there was familiarity and brotherhood between me and you, then I turned away from you towards others; there must be a reason on your part for this as you are unfit for neighbourly association and love.

Creativity (Part 2)

Creativity is the renewal of life, so today’s day is unlike yesterday, and let [us have] the future of tomorrow be even more beautiful, enjoyable, radiant and perfect by virtue of active communal action. Therefore, human life is distinguished from that of animals in that [the former] is not a typical continuum nor a spontaneous regularity. In order for society life to really be humane in impression and nature it is necessary that it constantly be renewing, that is to say, [that it be] a regular creative life.

The society which does not know creative life is a society destitute of the essential human characteristic that distinguishes it from the animal and destitute of the joy of renewal, construction and change…that is, destitute of the craft of existence and society’s responsibility of existence.

Creativity…Is it a personal contribution?

Creativity is the renewal of life and a communal effort that has its conditions; it is not merely a personal contribution. Undoubtedly, it a part of the art of existence.

It is said that Shahrazad’s secret was that she renewed life with the course of days: the listener would wait at night longingly and passionately for the new day in order to relish visions of a new life that brings joy and happiness to them. So if the [course of] days of our social life is monotonous – that is, today, yesterday and tomorrow are much the same – it would certainly be a life of sheer boredom. But the beauty and joy of life lies in its renewal and diversity…in its fresh creativity. It is unsurprising that we always describe something that renews as vital, that is to say, throbbing with life…novelty and change are what ‘to throb with life’ is…so life is constant renewed action, forever diverse. Hence we long for it…we cherish it…it is all the more beautiful to our eyes, we cultivate it under our [watchful] eyes with our minds, thoughts and hands…it is undoubtedly from us and for us, it is not unfamiliar nor are we alien to it…On the contrary, between us and life is a unity of existence. When we sacrifice for its sake, we say we are sacrificing with our lives, that is, with our existence…because it is the life or because it is us in [the form of] our renewed active communal existence…

Pre-Islamic Poetry 2

لعمرك ما أدري وإني لأوجل       على أينا تعدو المنية أول

By your life, I do not know – though certainly I assuredly dread – on which of us will the fate [of death] strike first

Meaning: He is saying to his companion: I swear to you by your life I certainly do not know – though I am afraid – whom amongst us will death befall before it befalls his companion.

What the poet means is that this life is short and a person is prone to death at every moment, so it is unbefitting that we spend our lives in abandonment and severance.

شرح قطر الندى

Pre-Islamic Poetry 1


Time will reveal to you that which you were unaware of; 

and the one whom you had not dispatched* will bring you news 

Meaning: Time will certainly expose to you what was concealed from you; and news will come to you [spontaneously] without you having to exert yourself [take the trouble] to seek it out.

* That is: to seek out news. Literally: ‘and the one whom you had not supplied with travelling provisions will bring you news’

ستبدي لك الأيام ما كنت جاهلا

ويأتيك بالأخبار من لم تزود

المعنى: إن الأيام ستكشف لك ما كان مستترا عنك، وستأتيك الأخبار [عفوا] من غير أن تكلف نفسك [أن تتجشم] البحث عنها.

Sharh Qatr al-nada  شرح قطر الندى

CIE O-level Arabic 2009 Text 1

     Last night, I was sitting beside the fire, reading a novel, when suddenly someone knocked on the door. My mother looked at the clock and said to me,
     ‘I wonder who it could be – it certainly isn’t your father, as he doesn’t come home until 6, whereas the time now is half past four. Go and see who it is; I’m busy and you’re doing nothing.’
     ‘But Mum, I’m reading a fascinating chapter of my book and you can go too.’
     ‘My dear, when I ask you to do something for me, I want you to do it immediately.’
     As she finished her sentence, there was a second knock. So I got up and ran to open the door. Oh, how surprising! It was Zaynab! So I said to her,
     ‘I’m so sorry I kept you waiting. If I had known you were at the door, I would no doubt have opened it straight away. I was reading a novel and I didn’t want to leave it.’

في الليلة الماضية كنت جالسا بجانب النار أقرأ رواية، إذ طرق شخص على الباب. نظرت أمي إلى الساعة وقالت لي: “أتعجب من يمكن أن يكون – إنه ليس والدك؛ فهو لا يرجع إلى البيت إلا في الساعة السادسة. والساعة الآن الرابعة والنصف. اذهب وانظر من هو؛ أنا مشغولة وأنت لا تفعل شيئا. “

– “ولكن يا أمي، أقرأ فصلا ممتعا من روايتي وتستطيعين أن تذهبي أنت كذلك.”

– “يا ولدي، عندما أطلب منك أن تفعل شيئا لي أريدك أن تفعله مباشرة.”

وعندما أنهت جملتها كانت هناك طرقة ثانية. فقمت وجريت لأفتح الباب. ويا للعجب! كانت زينب! فقلت لها: “أنا آسف جدا، جعلتك تنتظرين. لو عرفت أنك بالباب لفتحته مباشرة. كنت أقرأ رواية ولم أرد أن أتركها.”

CIE O-level Arabic 2009 text 1

CIE O-level Arabic 2009 Text 1

Yes, Islam is the solution… but how? (Part 1 of 4)

Islam is a system for human life which is based on making God’s law alone govern in all situations of life. Furthermore, Islam – which takes charge of organising all human life – didn’t deal with life’s different aspects haphazardly nor did it treat it as various parts. That is to say, it has an integrated, complete conception about divinity, existence, life and the human being.

Those preachers of Islam who want to adopt Western methods of thinking accept defeat when they try to renew their lives by adopting Western ways of thinking, living and conduct. This leads them to bury alive the life which they are working to revive because, from the very first moment, they depart from their unique natural way: thinking that is based on Islamic fundamentals that make the moral element deep-rooted in building life and that look at the moral goals of society, but that [also] don’t make benefit the supreme goal for morals. That is to say, Islam actualises all good goals of life while preserving the moral element in it. Its greatest dynamic value lies in that it doesn’t compartmentalise life, nor does it separate the means from the goals. Likewise, it doesn’t prescribe conflict between the material and the spiritual in the entity of life, nor in the nature of the cosmos and the human being; rather, it prescribes that life is a whole unit which travels in its entirety towards the goals compatibly and harmoniously.

Consultation is the Islamic philosophy of governance in the Muslim state, and it is likewise the Islamic philosophy of the Muslim society and of the Muslim family. Islam’s stance towards consultation didn’t stop at the point of considering it [to be] one of the human rights, rather it went to the point of making consultation an obligatory religious ordinance on the entire Muslim community – rulers and subjects – in the state, in society, in the family and in various modes of human conduct. As for the method of consultation, Islam didn’t set a specific system for it, but [rather] left the complete right and full freedom for the Muslim community in devising and inventing systems, organisations, ways and means that bring the goals and objectives of consultation close to action and offering when they are applied and put into practice.

Islam’s policy of governance exists after acceptance of the necessity of consultation between the ruler and the subject; [it exists] on the basis of justice from the rulers and obedience from the subjects. [The notion of] justice in Islamic law, therefore, is an obligatory ordinance and isn’t merely one of the rights that the person holding them is able to waive whenever they want or neglect without bearing the responsibility and [incurring] sin. As for obedience of the subjects, it means to determine [judiciously] when and when not to hear, and likewise to give obedience, together with establishing the Book of God the Exalted; thus, obedience to the ruler’s commands is not unconditional and absolute, nor should [one] persist in obedience even if the ruler was to forsake the law of God and His Messenger.


Arabic text 1.1


Arabic text 1.2

Text 2: Cat cafes…a Chinese recipe (for cure) for the One-Child Generation

Cat Cafes

Cat Cafes (Image courtesy of

Arabic vowelized text coming soon.

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Cat cafes…a Chinese recipe (for cure) for the One-Child Generation

Shen Zi Wei is a first year university student at the Faculty of Media 1 in one of the universities of the Chinese capital Beijing and has just turned twenty 2. She had grown up alone like the rest of her generation 3, having no brother sharing her joys and griefs and no sister to disclose her secrets to as the “Law of One-Child”, which the Chinese government has been imposing for three decades, forbids having more than one child per family.

Shen renounced reality for the virtual world of the internet spending hours of her time in front of the computer screen. We found her doing just this when we visited her at her university hall of residence. However, her imagination led her, through an online games’ website, to the south pole whence she returns with a penguin whom she brings up and takes care of. She uses her money in her credit card balance to buy food and bath soap for him and also exchanges love and affection with him till he has with time become her bosom buddy 4.

Shen tells us that she prefers penguins over many of her friends as all of them have their concerns and things that keep them busy. They are unable to visit her nor can she visit them whenever [any of them would like]; whereas she can call her preferred penguin 5, whenever she wants, with just one mouse click.

Breaking out of Isolation

However, Shen has come considerably out (of loneliness) and has decided to break the barrier of her isolation, to bid farewell to her virtual world and respond to the call of reality, as she has realised that she is in need of a living being that she can touch and feel; [a being] that she can play with, call, and talk softly and tenderly to who would respond or whom she can chide and would (promptly) obey.

Shen found the object of her quest at one of the (several) cafes that have started to spread in Chinese cities and are hugely popular 6 with the “one-child generation” segment of the youth that are suffering from boredom and loneliness, as they go to those places to play with the pets, to have them for company and to remove their loneliness.

In this regard, a recently published study has revealed that 60% of Chinese youth have grown up without brothers or sisters due to the one-child law and are considered the “young playboys” or the “sun of the family” as the Chinese say, that is, the entire family revolves around them. In spite of all this pampering they continue to feel lonely about their childhood.  Moreover, around seven million of them suffer from loneliness 7.

Yuan Kong, the owner of one such cafe, says to Al Jazeera Arabic’s website: “Everyone who frequents the cafe here is from among the youth 8. The young women 9 usually spend more time playing with the cats whereas the young men spend more time chatting or trying to find a girlfriend and having some cups of coffee or tea. (All in all,) they all feel happy and at (their) ease 10.”

Healthy Cats

One girl, playing with a cat that was leaping in front of her, comments: “Some of my male and female friends go to volunteer at centres that take care of pets 11 like stray cats and dogs or pets 12 that have been abandoned by their owners; these are gathered in dedicated centres.” She adds: “However, I believe that the cats here are cleaner and free of disease. Moreover, I can’t stand dogs as their barking is annoying.”

That is the story of Shen Zi Wei, or rather the story of an entire generation that is the product of the one-child policy, as this generation grew up without brothers or sisters and suffers from boredom and loneliness. It is natural, therefore, that cafes like this (one) have become the best place for it and that their best companion to sit together with and close friend is a cat.

Didn’t one of the Abbasid poets, who used to suffer 13 from boredom and loneliness, say centuries ago:

When the chest gets packed with its worries, we say: perhaps one day they will have relief;
my drinking mate is my cat, the friend intimately close to me is my notebooks and my beloved is the lamp.

Translator’s Notes: