Blessed Hands

hand-right-iv-darkSome things in the Arabic language are counterintuitive. In English, if someone offers you tea, “thank you” means “yes, I’ll have some, thank you for bringing it.” In Arabic,  shokrahn is a polite refusal: “thanks, but no thanks.”  The correct affirmative response in Arabic would be izlamoo idayk (masculine) or izlamoo idaykee (feminine), meaning “Allah bless your hands”. In other words, may Allah bless your hands so you can continue to offer tea with them–the ability to be generous is a gift from Allah.

While you’re sitting around drinking tea, one thing you might do is compare hands with your companions. Some people are said to have a mark of the “ninety-nine names of God” on their palms.  On one hand is written the Arabic symbols for the numbers eight and one (the sum being nine):  ۸۱ with the reverse pattern written on the other hand:۱۸. So the numbers add up to nine on each hand; reading both hands side by side gives the number ninety-nine.

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