He’s my brother.

This post is dedicated to my brother. May Allaah protect you and have mercy upon you always habibee…ameen.

al-Salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaah,

One of the first concepts encountered by those who decide to submit themselves to their Creator and accept Islam as their creed and way of life, is that a Muslim is the brother of his fellow Muslim, and that the bonds of faith are stronger than the bonds of blood. Thus one of the first words learnt by the new Muslim are akhee أخي (‘my brother’) and ukhtee أختي (‘my sister’), and in some cases these become the very words most frequented by the tongue of the Muslim.

Oftentimes though, a Muslim may feel disappointed or let down by his brother, the very feeling of which is a contradiction of what a brother represents to the Muslim and the Arabs, as told in part by the etymology of the word itself.

Some linguists believe that the word akh is derived from the word aakhiyyah آخيّة, which refers to a piece of rope the two ends of which are buried in the ground and attached to a small stone or stick, used to tie a horse or other animal in place so that it does not wander off. In this way should one be attached to their brother, so that they do not wander off from one another. Similarly, the brother should be like an aakhiyyah and ensure that his companion is kept close to the mark and does not wander too far away from it, but if it should happen, his brother shall draw him back to it.

Another group of linguists believe that the word akh is derived from the word wakhaa وخى, which refers to an aim, endeavour, or desire. This is because the two would share these same aims such that they are as one.

There is an Arabic proverb that states rubba akhin laka lam talid-hu ummuka رُبَّ أَخٍ لَكَ لَمْ تَلِدْهُ أُمُّكَ ‘There is many a brother for you to whom your mother has not given birth,’ referring to the full meaning of the word, as explained above. And indeed many can attest to the truth of this proverb.

al-Hamdu lillaah, Allah has blessed me with two such brothers to whom my mother has given birth, may Allaah have mercy upon them all and rain down His mercy and blessings upon them such that were each a mere raindrop from the sky, the world would be flooded many times over. Ameen.

37 Responses to He’s my brother.

  1. Assalam alaikum, lovely post. Glad to see that you posted again, though after a long time..

  2. Salaam,

    Was waiting some time for you to post, it was very nive thank you. May I ask if you could include teh bowels on the proverb for a beginner such as myself… it would be very helpful, as its easier to understand than the tranliteration?



  3. Sorry I meant ” include the vowels on the proverb”!

  4. asalaamu alaikum

    JazakAllahu khair for posting. Your posts are awesome, please do post often.

    asalaamu alaikum

  5. Wa ‘alaykum al-salaam wa rahmat Allaah wa barakaatuhu,

    mummyjan, thank you.

    Syme, done. You are welcome.

    Faiez, wa iyyaakum. I will try bi idhnillaah.

  6. Finally! Great post again! Jazakillah ahsanu jazaa`.

    Wa ‘alaykum Assalam

  7. Once again, great post Masha’llah!

    “There is many a brother for you to whom your mother has not given birth,”

    Al-Hamdulillah, I am one of them.

    Your Brother,


  8. Alhamdulillah. Great to hear from you again.

  9. Assalamu alaikum,

    its been a long time but a very nice post mashaALLAH, worth the wait.

    Keep on your good work.

    Jazaki ALLAHu Khayran

  10. Assalamu Alaikum,

    That was a very nice, moving post.
    May Allah protect and preserve your family, and grant them Jannah when it is time to meet our Lord. Ameen.

    Wassalamu Alaikum

    Your Brother In Islam


  11. Raa’e3! Jazakillahu khayran ukhti wa ahsanallahu ilayki :-D

    may Allaah have mercy upon them all and rain down His mercy and blessings upon them such that were each a mere raindrop from the sky, the world would be flooded many times over. Ameen.

    Ameen ya Rabb!

  12. Um Yusuf as-Siddiq

    Assalamu alaikum ukhti
    Great post – Alhamdulillah for the light and beauty of Islam.

    Jazakee Allah Khayran

  13. Ameen to your lovely and heartwarming post, brother :)

    Ya Haqq!

  14. Wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam wa rahmat Allaah wa barakaatuhu,

    Yaser, wa iyyaakum.

    Bilal Malik, zubir and Amatu ALLAH, thank you.

    Junade, Ameen. Jazakum Allaahu khayran.

    Fajr, wa iyyaaki. Ameen.

    Um Yusuf as-Siddiq, wa iyyaaki. Thank you.

    Irving, thank you.

  15. Jazakillahu khairan & Eid mubarak ola! Hope you’re having a sweet, blessed Eid..

    wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullaah

  16. Asalaamu alikum wa rahamatullah wa barakatuhu,

    Jazak’allah khair for such a useful post. Etymology is so fascinating, in genral, but of Arabic is something else.. .

    Can’t wait for the next post.

  17. Assalamo alaikum

    That was a lovely post sis, Jazakallahu khair.

  18. Baarakillahu Feeki. I just started reading your blog and find it useful.

  19. May Allaah reunite you with them ameen

  20. That was a lovely post sis, Jazakallahu khair.

  21. I always find it so strange that converts use the terms akh and ukht so often. It seems peculiar to them and also to Muslims in diaspora but I never hear it in the Middle East. Just an observation.

  22. omg assalamu3laykum! Mabrook on finishing your masters! SubhanAllah we have lost touch n I miss talking to u. iA everything is going well on your end. I hope to hear from u soon. Great blog :D

  23. Shukran ukhtee,

    God bless you and all those who read your posts. They are wonderful.

    Not to be picky, but there is a small typo in your transliteration of the Arabic phrase.

    You wrote:
    rubba akhin laka tam talid-hu ummuka

    It should be:
    rubba akhin laka LAM talid-hu ummuka

    I am sure this is just a typo, so I wanted to draw it to your attention.

    I was also interested in your translation of this phrase. I am just a poor student of Arabic, and so was interested in your saying that it meant, “There is many a brother for you to whom your mother has not given birth.” I was under the impression that “rubba” expressed the idea of “perhaps” or “[Somewhere out there] there may be…” Any thoughts on this?

    Thank you again for your wonderful entries.

    Fee amaan Allah,
    Hamza Weinman

    ps. In response to one reader’s comment that Arabic speakers don’t use “akh” or “ukht” very much. This isn’t the case in Morocco. People are constantly heard referring to others as “akhuya” (a slight derivation on “akhee”) and “ukhtee”, even though there is no blood relation between them.

  24. Wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam wa rahmat Allaahi wa barakaatuhu,

    oum hafsa, wa iyyaaki. Good to see you! Extremely belated (sorry) Eid Mubarak to you too :)

    dontbesadblog, Im glad you enjoy it (the blog, but more importanly, Arabic). I hope you won’t have to wait too long for the next post! Every weekend I resolve to write another post, but things come up! In shaa’ Allaah this weekend…

    Rubina, wa iyyaaki ukhti.

    Abu Saad, wa iyyaakum, al-Hamdu lillaah,

    Peter, thank you, wa iyyaakum.

    Arima, like Hamza, I’ve also heard it in some places in the Middle East. Perhaps not from the regular Ahmad on the street, but certainly among the more Islamically active. Otherwise, a popular term of address in many countries is yaakhee or yakhooy, i.e. Yaa akhee.

    ana, I had to see your email address to realise who you were. Good to see you! Thank you for the congrats, ” 3u’baalik” in shaa’ Allaah :)

    Hamza Weinman, I appreciate your bringing my attention to the typo, jazaakum Allaahu khayran. Regarding your enquiry, the rubba you speak of is usually used as rubbamaa. This rubba is a preposition (you will find it listed among the 7uroof al-jarr at the beginning of al-Aajrumiyyah, but there is also the opinion that it is a noun and forms an idafa with the following noun), and carries the meaning of ‘many a…’

  25. May Allah protect your brother..ameen and all our brothers.

  26. Assalam ‘Alikum

    Alhamduillah, I’m glad I found your blog today. This post was just the motivation I need to continue in my Tajweed class

  27. Almost two years and no updates. I fear this blog is dead.

    Mashallah. It was a good effort.

  28. al-Salaamu ‘alaykum,

    Fear not!

    I will return to posting very soon in shaa’ Allaah. For the last couple of years I have been extremely busy with other things, but now things are calming down, this is one of my priorities bi idhnillaah.

  29. May Allaah reunite you with them ameen. Alhamduillah, I’m glad I found your blog today. This post was just the motivation I need to continue in my Tajweed class

  30. MashAllah! a beautiful concept, beautifully expressed!

  31. This is a fantastic, and emotional, post :)

    The Learn Arabic guy

  32. Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarokatuh,
    I just read this post & I can’t help by tears just streamed…May Allah also shower His Rahmah upon my two brothers whom my Mama gv birth to & May He make them firm on the straight path & reunite us in Jannah Al Firdaus ‘Ala, Allahumma Ameen
    Love u habibti, for the sake of Allah….fii amanillah

  33. Wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu,

    Ameen ukhti. Ahabbakillaah alladhee ahbabteenee feeh. May Allah reunite us soon – ameen.

    Ola & Rahma :)

  34. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah.
    i find ur posts always awsom.may ALLAH SWT increase ur knowlegde as u tries to increase our knowlegde with the help of Allah and may all the muslims become true bros of each other and feels the pain of their muslim bros all over the world.aameen.

  35. Pingback: He’s my brother. (via Arabic Gems ~ جواهر العربية) | quran reciter blog

  36. Pingback: He’s my brother. | ServisTech

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Separate individual tags by commas