أصحر

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madelung

Member
Persian
Could you translate the following sentence to English please? Thanks ...

لما أصحر إذا هو برجل حسن الوجه فقال له خالد: ساءك ما خاطبك به هذا؟ قال: نعم، قال: أما علمت أن العبد إذا لم يكن لله فيه حاجة نبذه إليهم
 
  • Tilmeedh

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    I recently began to wonder about the origin of the word

    (صحراء)

    because it sounds like a plural noun but, at least today, has a singular meaning.

    During my research, I came across the statement here that

    1610s, from Arabic çahra "desert" (plural çahara), according to Klein, noun use of fem. of the adjective asharu "yellowish red."
    I did a search for

    (أصحر)

    in WordReference and discovered this thread.

    Does 'aS7ar' mean 'yellowish-red' in the OP? What does the whole quotation mean?
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    أَصْحَرَ is a verb of the form أَفْعَلَ from الإفعال. It means "to go forth to the desert".
    صَحْراء, of course, means "desert".
     

    Tilmeedh

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    Thanks for clarifying the issue.

    Now how to translate the whole passage? For this Arabic learner, all these particles are very daunting.

    'When he went into the desert, and thus accompanied by a man handsome in appearance, Khalid would say to him, "----?" He would answer, "Yes." And he would say, "Is it not the case that what I learned/heard is that, when it comes to the servant who is not for Allah, it behooves us to send him away to them/drive him out to them?"'

    The above paragraph really makes no sense.
     
    Last edited:

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Apparently the subject of the verb أصحر is خالد, so the sentence
    لما أصحر إذا هو برجل حسن الوجه فقال له خالد: ساءك ما خاطبك به هذا؟ قال: نعم، قال: أما علمت أن العبد إذا لم يكن لله فيه حاجة نبذه إليهم means:

    when he (Khaled) went to the desert he saw a good looking man and he asked him: were you hurt by what that person told you? The man said: yes. Khaled said: Didn't you know that when a slave (i.e. man) is of no use/need to God, He leaves him to them.

    Of course we don't know who "them" are, nor what that third person was or what he told the good looking man, with the very limited context we're given.
     

    Tilmeedh

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    Thanks for explaining this quotation so well, Cherine.

    Some follow-up questions:

    1) What does

    "إذا"

    mean in

    "إذا هو برجل"?

    2) Can

    "هو ب"

    mean

    'he saw'

    in other contexts?

    3) According to WordReference,

    (ساء)

    means

    'to worsen/to deteriorate' and 'to be bad'.

    Is this verb both intransitive and transitive?

    4) Is there a way to know if

    (هذا)

    without a following noun refers to a person, object, idea, or comment? Or do we just have to rely on the context to determine the referent?

    5) Your translation leads me to conclude that

    (العبد إذا لم يكن لله فيه حاجة)

    could be rewritten more clearly as

    (إذا لم يكن الله بحاجة للعبد).

    Does my new version work? Are there rules for how to interpret phrases in such an unexpected order?
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Thanks for explaining this quotation so well, Cherine.
    You're welcome.
    1) What does "إذا" mean in "إذا هو برجل"?
    2) Can "هو ب" mean 'he saw' in other contexts?
    (please don't split a sentence into lines; it makes reading less easy).
    We have a whole thread about the structure إذا بـ (here). In short, you can say that إذا هو برجل means he suddenly saw a man, or "lo and behold, there was a man".
    3) According to WordReference, (ساء) means 'to worsen/to deteriorate' and 'to be bad'.

    Is this verb both intransitive and transitive?
    Yes, it means to worsen when it's intransitive, and "to grieve, sadden, afflict, hurt, vex, trouble, offend..." when it's transitive ساءني كلامُك، ساءني ما رأيته منك من معاملة فظة، ساءني تَدَخُّلُك في شؤوني الخاصة...
    4) Is there a way to know if (هذا) without a following noun refers to a person, object, idea, or comment? Or do we just have to rely on the context to determine the referent?
    I believe we need context.
    5) Your translation leads me to conclude that (العبد إذا لم يكن لله فيه حاجة)

    could be rewritten more clearly as

    (إذا لم يكن الله بحاجة للعبد).

    Does my new version work? Are there rules for how to interpret phrases in such an unexpected order?
    It can be rewritten as إذا لم يكن لله حاجة في العبد.
     

    Tilmeedh

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    Thanks again, Cherine, for your comments and the link.

    I've heard that mixing English and Arabic words/phrases on one line can make the text unreadable because the first is left-to-right and the second is right-to-left. I use a screenreader and this issue does not affect me. But I decided to begin putting English and Arabic material on separate lines to avoid causing problems for the reader. It is useful to know now that this issue is not as likely to arise as I thought.
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    4) Is there a way to know if (هذا) without a following noun refers to a person, object, idea, or comment? Or do we just have to rely on the context to determine the referent?
    I read it immediately here as meaning 'that person', as did Cherine by the looks of things. I think it has to be the subject here. But without context, how would you be able to tell?

    5) Your translation leads me to conclude that (العبد إذا لم يكن لله فيه حاجة) could be rewritten more clearly as (إذا لم يكن الله بحاجة للعبد).

    Does my new version work? Are there rules for how to interpret phrases in such an unexpected order?
    It isn't in a particularly unexpected order, it's just that there are two different structures going on here. The one you've learnt is بحاجة إلى which literally means 'in need of'. The one used in this construction is حاجة بـ 'need of', which combines with لـ 'have' straightforwardly. The only slightly difficult thing is the topic-comment construction, where العبد, because it's the 'topic' of a series of clauses, appears first. You can do this in English as well, though: 'A slave, when God has no need of him...'
     
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