Destiny in Arabic

A reader requested that I translate the word “destiny” into Arabic. In fact, there are a number of alternative translations that are all correct, but might have slightly different meaning nuances.

al-maSeer

The Arabic word المصير al-maSeer can mean both destiny and fate. For example مصير الكون would translate as “the fate of the universe”.

al-maSeer

al-maSeer

al-Qadr

The word القدر al-qadr has a similar meaning, although the difference is probably that al-Qadr already implies that there is some sort of pre-determined goal that will be reached, whereas with al-maSeer this is not as clear. This word would also be used to translate “you are my destiny”, i.e. أنت قدريanta qadri (or addressing a woman anti qadri).

al-qadr destiny in Arabic

al-qadr destiny in Arabic

al-maktoob

Al-maktoob (المكتوب) literally means “that what is written” and refers to the idea that everything is pre-determined by God (or in some other sense), because it has been “written” in the book of life already. This concept is wide-spread in the Arab world and is often used to rationalize events ex post, e.g. “كان مكتوب عليه” – “it was written for him” or “that was his fate”.

al-maktoob

al-maktoob

Which one to choose?

Which translation to go with really depends on the meaning you wish to express. Perhaps the most encompassing of the three alternatives would be al-qadr.

2 thoughts on “Destiny in Arabic

  1. I like every things u wrote… I’m an Arab.. so from the title it was easy for me to guess the meaning ( as u wrote.. there are numerous meaning but this word “محتوم” comes to my mind in addition to the first two words which u explained …. anyway it means something u can’t avoid it) but the third one O.o… I’m really wandering how u got it… It’s 100% right…but I think becuz in my region usually the elder or religious people use that word.. so it sounds a bit weird …still clear and perfect explanation for “destiny” ^.^ .. and most of the time i go with first one.

  2. Please could you explain if ‘qismet’ would be applicable as a translation of fate/destiny and how it differs from Qadar? Also, what is the difference between ‘Qadar’ and ‘al-qadr’?
    Thanks so much!

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