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Discovering idioms and proverbs is an essential part of mastering the Arabic language, as they offer a unique glimpse into the culture and mindset of native speakers. In this article, we will explore some captivating and widely-used Arabic idioms and proverbs related to money. Embark on this linguistic journey with us and enhance your comprehension of the rich Arabic language, while boosting your conversational skills in various financial contexts.

الصبر مفتاح الفرج (aSSabr miftaaH il-faraj)

Literal Translation: Patience is the key to relief

English Equivalent: Patience is a virtue

This proverb suggests that being patient and persistent can lead to success, including financial success. It encourages people to endure difficulties and wait for the right opportunities.

Example: An aspiring entrepreneur who patiently saves money, refines their business idea, and waits for the right market conditions to launch their startup exemplifies الصبر مفتاح الفرج.


رب ضارة نافعة (rabb Daarra naafi3a)

Literal Translation: Sometimes harm brings benefit

English Equivalent: Every cloud has a silver lining

This proverb conveys the idea that even in adverse situations, there may be hidden opportunities or benefits, including financial ones. It encourages people to stay positive and look for the good in difficult circumstances.

Example: A young person who learns the importance of saving money early in life and carries this habit into adulthood, leading to a stable financial future, exemplifies من شبّ على شيء شاب عليه.

اقطع حبل الكذب وعلق حبل الغسيل (iqta3 Habl il-kidhb wa-3allaq Habl il-ghasiil)

Literal Translation: Cut the rope of lies and hang the rope of laundry

English Equivalent: Honesty is the best policy

This proverb encourages honesty and transparency in all aspects of life, including financial matters. It suggests that being honest and straightforward leads to better outcomes than deceit or dishonesty.

Example: A business owner who maintains transparent financial records and fosters an honest relationship with their employees and clients, ultimately earning a strong reputation and loyal customers, embodies اقطع حبل الكذب وعلق حبل الغسيل.

ما خاب من استشار (maa khaaba man istashaara)

Literal Translation: He who seeks advice does not fail 

English Equivalent: Two heads are better than one

This proverb highlights the value of seeking counsel and guidance in various aspects of life, including financial matters. It suggests that making informed decisions and learning from others’ experiences can lead to better results.


Example: An investor who consults with financial experts before making significant investment decisions, and as a result, enjoys a more successful and diverse portfolio, showcases ما خاب من استشار.

القرد بعين أمه غزال (alqird bi-3ayn ummih ghazaal)

Literal Translation: The monkey is a gazelle in its mother’s eyes

English Equivalent: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

This proverb suggests that one’s judgment of value can be subjective. It implies that people may overvalue their possessions or investments simply because they belong to them.

Example: A man might think his old car is more valuable than it really is because it holds sentimental value to him, illustrating القرد بعين أمه غزال.

إذا تم العقل، نقص الكلام (idhaa tamma -l’3aql, naqasa -lkalaam)

Literal Translation: When wisdom is complete, speech becomes less

English Equivalent: Empty vessels make the most noise

This idiom highlights the idea that those who truly understand the value of money and have financial wisdom are not the ones who boast or talk excessively about it. Instead, they are more cautious and thoughtful with their words.

Example: A wise businessman does not brag about his wealth or financial achievements, demonstrating إذا تم العقل، نقص الكلام.

الجوع كافر (al-juu3 kaafir)

Literal Translation: Hunger is an infidel

English Equivalent: A hungry man is an angry man

This proverb illustrates the importance of satisfying one’s basic needs, including the need for food and financial security. When people are hungry or struggling financially, they may become irritable or act out of character.

Example: A normally kind and patient person might snap at others when they are struggling to make ends meet, exemplifying الجوع كافر.

من جد وجد، ومن زرع حصد (man jadda wajada, wa-man zara3a Hasada)

Literal Translation: He who strives will find, and he who sows will reap

English Equivalent: You reap what you sow

This proverb emphasizes the importance of hard work and perseverance in achieving financial success. It suggests that those who put in the effort and invest in themselves or their endeavors will eventually see the fruits of their labor.

Example: A person who works diligently and invests in their education and skills is more likely to achieve financial success, embodying من جد وجد، ومن زرع حصد

مصائب قوم عند قوم فوائد (masaa’ib qawm 3inda qawm fawaa’id)

Literal Translation: The misfortunes of some people are advantages to others

English Equivalent: One man’s loss is another man’s gain

This proverb highlights the idea that financial opportunities often arise from the misfortunes of others. In such cases, one person’s loss can provide an opportunity for another to benefit.

Example: A savvy investor might purchase a property at a discounted price after the previous owner has faced financial difficulties, showcasing مصائب قوم عند قوم فوائد.

مال الحرام يذهب بلا بركة (maal il-Haraam yadhhab bi-laa baraka)

Literal Translation: Illicit wealth goes without blessings

English Equivalent: Ill-gotten gains never prosper

This proverb emphasizes the importance of earning money through honest and legitimate means. It suggests that wealth obtained through unethical or illegal activities will not bring lasting success or happiness.

Example: A person who amasses wealth through dishonest means, such as fraud or embezzlement, and eventually faces legal consequences or loses their fortune, demonstrates مال الحرام يذهب بلا بركة.

Understanding and appreciating Arabic idioms and proverbs related to money can provide invaluable insights into the cultural values and beliefs surrounding finance in the Arab world. By exploring these linguistic gems, learners can deepen their comprehension of the Arabic language while also gaining a richer understanding of the importance of hard work, honesty, patience, and persistence in achieving financial success. So, the next time you engage in a conversation about money or finance in Arabic, remember these proverbs and idioms to add depth, nuance, and authenticity to your exchanges. Happy learning, and may your financial wisdom continue to grow alongside your linguistic expertise!

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