Background: this thought arose while hearing the following couplet by احمد فراز and seeing the dictionary entries for the word ظلمت : (excuse the poor translations) شکوہِ ظلمتِ شب سے تو کہیں بہتر تھا اپنی حصے کی ہوئی شمع جلاتے جاتے Rather than complain of the darkness of the night it would have been far better if you had lit a lamp/candle on your behalf as you were leaving/passing by/(before dying) On the other hand, there is this couplet by حبیب جالب : ظلم رہے اور امن بھی ہو کیا ممکن ہے؟ تم ہی کہو Evil/Oppression/Tyranny remains and Peace/Security/Tranquility also be Is this possible? You tell me! Z L M: ظ ل م : All of the following deal with wrong-doing, oppression, evil, tyranny, etc. etc.: A ظلم z̤ulm (inf. n. of ظلم 'to act wrongfully,' &c.), s.m. Wrong, wrong-doing, injustice, oppression, tyranny; exaction, extortion; violence, outrage, injury; grievance, hardship; a heavy burden, a heavy assessment A ظالم z̤ālim (act. part. of ظلم 'to act wrongfully or tyrannically'), part. adj. & s.m. Acting wrongfully, tyrannical, unjust, cruel;—a tyrant, an oppressor, a wrong-doer, a cruel person; A ظلام z̤allām (v.n. intens. fr. ظلم 'to act wrongfully,' &c.), adj. & s.m. Very unjust or tyrannical;—a great tyrant or oppressor A ظلوم z̤alūm (intens. adj. fr. ظلم; see z̤ulm), adj. & s.m. Acting wrongfully, most oppressive, tyrannical, cruel;—one who acts wrongfully, &c.; a grievous wrong-doer A مظلوم maz̤lūm (pass. part. of ظلم 'to act wrongfully,' &c.; see maz̤lama, and z̤ulm), part. Wronged, treated or used wrongfully, or unjustly, or tyrannically On the other hand, these deal with darkness and obscurity: A ظلام z̤alām (v.n. fr. ظلم; iv اظلم 'to be dark'), s.m. Darkness (=z̤ulmat). ظلمت z̤ulmat (for A. ظلمة z̤ulmat), s.f. Darkness, obscurity. A متظلم mutaz̤allim (act. part. of تظلّم 'to complain of the wrong-doing (of),' v of ظلم 'to treat or use unjustly'; also 'to become darkened or obscure,' prob. fr. z̤ulmat, 'darkness'), part. adj. Darkened, obscure;—injured, oppressed, aggrieved;—s.m. A complainer of wrongs A مظلم muz̤lim (act. part. of اظلم 'to become dark, or black' (the night, &c.), iv of ظلم;—see z̤ulmat), adj. Becoming dark; dark; black;—mysterious Questions: Are there two different roots, both with ظ ل م , that have the two separate meanings (darkness and wrong)...? If yes, then that would explain the differences above and my question was probably a silly one...! Excuse my lack of knowledge of roots, language, etc. If not, however, would zaalim actually mean "one who spreads darkness/obscurity/ جہالت".......? If this is so, then could the izaafat quoted above by Ahmad Faraaz also be read as: Shikwah-e-Zulmat-e-Shab = Complaint of Oppression of Night instead of Complaint of Darkness of Night The reason for asking this is that both poets (احمد فراز و حبیب جالب ) in addition to others, often had political undertones in their poetry. So the Night could be representing a period of oppression or an oppressor...?