Pasha, Mister, and Baksheesh – etymology of words in Arabic (part 3)

Let’s continue our journey into the etymology of Arabic words. The word بَقْشِيش This word is very famous in Egypt. It means gratuity, tip or simply baksheesh. It is mainly used to bribe or tip a person to speed up services. It may be derived from Turkish bahşiş, from Persian بخشیش ‎(bakhšīš, “an honorary or[…]

Prison, ice cream, and shoes – etymology of words in Arabic (part 2)

Let’s continue with our journey into the etymology of Arabic words.   The word: لِيمان  (Līmān) or لُومان (Lūmān) This term is used in Egypt for prison. The word is found in Turkish as well but means something very different: harbor (مِيناء). The origin is perhaps from Byzantine Greek liménion (λιμένιον), from Ancient Greek limḗn (λιμήν). Some[…]

What does it mean when a Muslim raises the index-fing­er?

Answer: Expressing the unity of Allah. In Arabic, the index or fore finger is called Musabbiha (مُسَبِّحة), mostly used with the definite article: al-Musabbiha (الْمُسَبِّحة). Some­times also this word is used: al-Sabbāha (السَّبّاحة). This finger, when a Muslim makes a sign with it (by raising it), symbol­ises the unity of[…]