‘Hath’: The Arabic word for luck is connected to destiny

In the Arab world there are no symbols to bring good luck, only to ward off bad energy

Hath translates to the English word luck
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Luck is an intangible force, a universal concept that exists around the world.

This week’s Arabic word of the week is hath, a word that simply means luck. Unlike other Arabic words it’s not an overcomplicated term with several meanings. Despite the elusive concept of luck, it is rather straightforward as Arabic words go.

Hath is a noun made up of the two Arabic letters, haa and thaa. It’s derived from the verb hatha, which means a person whose luck is getting better. There are two plurals for hath, houthouth and ahthin, which are both used depending on the grammatical context.

The concept of hath in Arabic is similar to the way luck is defined in the western world, a force that can bring good or bad fortune as a result of complete chance or fate.

Officially in Arabic, hath is defined as naseeb, the Arabic word for destiny. Naseeb has its definition more rooted in the idea of a predetermined future or fate, which is believed to be influenced by a higher power or force. Interestingly, while naseeb is the belief that everything happens according to a higher purpose, hath is more connected to chance.

All other meanings of hath are linked to luck in various ways. For example, trying something at random or having no knowledge in a subject but seeing if you find success in it, is one of the definitions of hath.

Hath can also mean, and is connected to concepts of, chance, success or good fortune. However, hath is not only connected to good luck.

Sou’u al hath is a phrase which means that luck wasn’t on someone’s side and housn al hath or as'afahou is considered a positive coincidence where matters worked out in spite of the odds, while tharbat al hath means a surprising stroke of luck.

From the word hath we have the word mahthouth, which refers to someone who is lucky. There is also the verb hathiya which refers to someone in the act of getting very lucky or someone who is favoured.

This can refer to being favoured by people, gaining their love or respect, or favoured by fate, meaning experiencing continuous luck in life. Houthwa is also a word derived from the word hath which refers to someone who has a high status in society or is known for their good reputation.

While many cultures in the West have symbols that represent or attract good luck, such as the four-leaf clover, a rabbit’s foot, or a horseshoe, the Arab world instead has symbols to ward off bad luck, such as the evil eye.

The 1945 film Al Hath Al Saeed (The Good Luck) directed by Fouad El Gazairely and starring legendary actors Hussein Sidqi and Nagat Ali takes the theme of good luck and fortune into its storyline.

The film follows the character Saeed, who wants to marry Somaya but must face challenges and depend on luck to get the girl of his dreams.

Updated: December 15, 2023, 6:02 PM