‘Idraak’: Arabic word for realisation has meanings connected to knowledge

To close off 2023, we present an Arabic word of the year that reflects on the past 365 days

The Arabic word idraak translates to realisation
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As 2023 comes to a close, it is natural to reflect on things that have changed in our lives and around the world. Often, hindsight provides plenty of realisations.

This year has been marked with more than a few social, cultural, political and economic changes. Many of these were witnessed live as they were unfolding in real time online, with the public interacting, commenting and in dialogue with each other.

This week we present an Arabic Word of the Year, idraak, which translates to realisation.

From a local to a global level, particularly through online movements, the public has consciously found itself questioning, realising and becoming aware that they can’t always depend on how their environment and the world in general is being presented to them.

Idraak in all its facets is the perfect word to describe this state of being. The word, which is often pronounced adraka, is a verb made of the four Arabic letters, alif, dal, rah and kaf.

As a verb, adraka is the action of grasping, understanding, or comprehending a reality either after a period of reflection or in a single moment. It is the act of realising.

To be specific, it can mean when any one thing becomes mature or realised, either physically, mentally, spiritually, or even financially.

For example, it can refer to when fruit ripens, when a child matures, or when someone gains complete knowledge or understanding in their area of study and research.

Within this space adraka has significant connections to comprehension, to be in sync with one's surroundings, and gaining insight on a mental, spiritual and cultural level.

But mostly, in all its variations, adraka is strongly linked to the idea of knowledge and the result of seeking knowledge. In this context, adraka is when someone reaches a point of being wholly aware or fully realised.

Moudrik is the word used for someone who has gained awareness or realisation and moudrak is the thing or subject to be understood.

There are other words derived from adraka, connected to the idea of realisation and awareness. Daraka, and its plural adraak, means to arrive at a destination after following in the path of something or the footsteps of someone.

Darak is the noun form of daraka which refers to a group of people, often in a military or state capacity whose purpose is to search and find people based on a briefing or mission. Here the word darak is derived from adraka, which describes a group of people have the knowledge or awareness of how to find people who are in hiding.

Tadaaraka is another word derived from adraka with a meaning that changes depending on the context in which it is used. It can mean to avoid danger and distraction as one works towards a goal, it can also mean to be cautious and take precautions or it can mean to compensate for something.

The title of the 1936 comedy drama film Ghafir el Darak, which loosely translates as The Night Watchmen, includes the idea of adraka in the search for awareness and realisation.

The film follows the story of Othman, played by the famous actor Ali Al-Kassar, who on the insistence of his demanding wife, gets a job as a security guard at a shop.

However, when the shop is robbed, Othman and the shop’s owner realise that the thief bears an uncanny resemblance to Othman himself. The two devise a plan to capture the thief with Othman impersonating the thief as bait.

Updated: December 29, 2023, 10:02 AM