Tag Archives: Colonialism

2 [English] “Nasara, ISIS, and Darija” استخدام “نصارى” بالدارجة

MBS002 We explain the way Moroccans use the word “Nasara” and how this is related to the Quranic term and the use of ن on Facebook profile pictures.

Important Points:

-“Mazyan bizaf” is a common Darija expression, learn about its roots from Episode 1.

-Use of ن as Facebook profile picture

ن profile picture

-ISIS capture of Mosul, expulsion of Christians (“Nasara” or نصارى) and painting the ن on their homes

-Moroccans use “Nasara” to describe Western foreigners regardless of religion

-The Quran uses the term نصارى to describe Christians

-“Christians” in modern Arabic is مسيحيين, (ma-si-he-yeen). Arabic is a Semitic language like Hebrew and the term for Christian comes from مسيح (ma-sih) which relates to “messiah.” The Hebrew equivalent is מָשִׁיחַ (ma-shi-akh).

-Sematic change: Spanish and French colonizers were Christian, so the Quranic Arabic term for “Christians” came to mean Western, primarily white, foreigners in Moroccan Darija. Or, as Abdessamad said, “the blond people.”

-Similarly, the Modern Standard Arabic word for “winter,” شتاء (pronounced شتا in Darija) came to mean both “winter” and “rain,” because winter is the rainy season in North Africa.

Bibliography:

Online Etymology Dictionary | Messiah

Lane’s Lexicon | جزى for “Jizya”

Lane’s Lexicon | نصر for “Nasara”

Al-Maany | نصارى

Al-Maany | مسيح

Al-Maany | مسيحيين

Wikipedia.org | “Social Media Campaign (2014)”

National Review | “A Christian Genocide Symbolized by One Letter,” by CHRISTINE SISTO July 23, 2014.

Euronews | “#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians” by THOMAS SEYMAT July 22, 2014.