'Shukr': thankfulness in Arabic can underscore the virtue of gratitude or be sardonic

There are numerous religious sayings in Arabic that underscore the importance of gratitude

The National's Arabic word this week is shukr, the expression of thankfulness.
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Gratitude, or shukr, is esteemed in every culture, but in the Arab world it is a virtue that is especially highly regarded.

Islam has a part to play in that, and there are several religious sayings that underscore the importance of gratitude.

"La yashkor Allah man la yashkor al nas” is an expression that translates to “who doesn’t thank people doesn’t thank Allah”.

“Man shakara al qalil istahaqqa al jazeel” is another saying that implies that a little bit of thanks will earn the thankful much.

If you want to thank someone, you say shukran. One way to respond to that is aafwan. A colloquial Levantine response could be walaw, which is a bit like saying “don’t mention it”.

“La shukr ala wajeb” is another way to answer. While it means "welcome", the expression literally translates to “there is no need to thank me on my duty”.

If you want to emphasise your thanks, you could say "shukran min qul qalbi" or thank you from all of my heart. Another way to say this is "shukran min aamaaqi".

Shukran can also have sardonic undertones. If someone does something that doesn’t sit right with you, you could say: shukran, kattir kheirak/kheirik. Of course, make sure to say it with a scathing tone.

Now for a few positive quotes:

“Ishkur man hom daa'eman bijanibina bidooni sabbab wa bidoon shuroot wabidooni masaleh.”

“Thank those who are always beside you, without reason, unconditionally and without interests.”

Unsurprisingly, Lebanese poet Gibran Khalil Gibran also has a saying related to shukr: “Inna sadiqaka huwa haqluka allazi tazraauhu bilmahabba wa tahsuduhu bilshukr.”

“A friend is a field you sow with love and reap with thanks.”

Scroll through the gallery below to see The National's pick of Arabic words of the week

Updated: September 23, 2022, 6:02 PM