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Ancient Disciple


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12:26 May 21, 2001
English to Arabic translations [PRO]
English term or phrase: Ancient Disciple
Thank you all that have helped to answer my question on how to translate it. To be more specific I'm wanting the translation that would mean one from a long time ago, one who has lived many years ago perhaps who has lived many lives from the start of time. Also if possible could it be written in Arabic form not letter form. Thank you all so much!

Summary of answers provided
naالتلميذ العتيقFuad Yahya
naTalibo ale’lmi al abadiRaghad



3 hrs
Talibo ale’lmi al abadi

Well chad

You could put it as:
Al talebo al abadi (the eternal disciple)
الطالب الأبدي
Al tilmeetho al abadi (the eternal student)
التلميذ الأبدي
Al mutaa’llimo al abadi (the eternal learner)
المتعلم الأبدي
Talibo ale’lmi al abadi ( the eternal seeker of knowledge)
طالب العلم الأبدي
You could also use the word: al sarmadi السرمدي instead of al abadi in all the previous sentences.
Does this answer your question?

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10 hrs
التلميذ العتيق


Thank you, Chad, for following up on your somewhat mysterious question. The information you provided this time is very helpful in narrowing the choices for the word “ancient.” The word “disciple,” however, remains shrouded in mystery. This time, I will start with “disciple.”

“Disciple” comes from the Latin word “discipulus,” which means “pupil.” It is derived from the verb “discere,” which means “to learn.” In English, “disciple” means more than just a “pupil.” According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a disciple is “an active adherent, one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.” The most common context for it is Christian discipleship, especially in contemporaneity with Jesus.

Within Christian circles, a Disciple (with a capital D) is called

pronounced: TILMEETH (the TH is like TH in “this”).

Outside the context of Christian discipleship, TILMEETH simply means “pupil.”

It is interesting that within Muslim circles, a Disciple of Christ is called

pronounced: HAWARI. The first A is short like the A in “beggar”; the second A is long, like the A in “wad”, but not like the A in “war”. The stress is on the second syllable.

HAWARI is a Qur’anic term (see for example III:52).

As Raghad remarked last time, a Sufi disciple is often called

pronounced: MUREED. The U is like the U in “full”. The stress is on the second syllable.

Outside the Sufi context, the word does not ring a clear bell, unless made clear by some contextual hints.

Raghad suggested two other terms:

طالب and مُـتَعَلِّم
pronounced: TALIB (long A, stress on the first syllable) and MUTA’ALLIM (all A’s are short, and the stress is on the third syllable).

TALIB (or TALIB ILM) means “seeker of knowledge.” It is commonly used today for “student” and has a special application within Islamic theological schools, especially Shi’i schools in Najaf and Qum.

MUTA’ALLIM means “learner,” “educated,” “or “learned.”

I originally chose TILMEETH because I thought you were hinting at St. John the Evangelist. I still think TILMEETH is a good choice, because of its wider meaning (“pupil”) and because of its old Semitic derivation (it goes back to the same root as the Hebrew term Talmud, which mens “learning” or “instruction”).

In choosing a term for “disciple,” it will be well worth your effort to study the above carefully in order to discern the kind of connotations with which you wish to infuse your phrase.

Now, let us turn to “Ancient”.

The simplest meaning of “ancient” is “old.” The most common word for “old” in Arabic is

pronounced: QADEEM (short A, stress on the second syllable).

QADEEM is commonly used for two distinct meanings: “existed a long time ago” and “has been around for a long time.”

In philosophical and theological usage, QADEEM means “has always existed.” In medieval times, one of the thorniest questions tackled by theologians was whether the universe was QADEEM or not (did it always exist, or was there a time when it didn’t exist). If your phrase is hinting at such a meaning, QADEEM may be a suitably evocative term.

Of course, the term “ancient” means more than just old. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “ancient” means either “very old” or “having the qualities associated with age, wisdom, or long use; venerable.”

For the first of these two meanings, two Arabic terms are often used:

سَحيق، غابر
pronouned SAHEEQ (short A, stress on the second syllable) and GABIR (the G sounds like a French R, the A is long like the A in “rabbit” and the stress is on the first syllable).

For the second meaning of “ancient,” the closest Arabic term is:


pronounced: ‘ATEEQ (short A, stress on the second syllable).

The term is used in the Qur’an, for instance, in reference to Al-Ka’ba (XXII:29 and XXII:33).

Caution: The same term is used as a noun meaning “a freed slave.”

Your explanation of “ancient” is a bit more complicated than either of the two meanings explained above. Your phrase “from the start of time” evokes the idea of QADEEM as explained above. If you use QADEEM, you will evoke the idea of “from the start of time” without being too explicit. If you wish that meaning to explicitly overshadow other meanings, you may want to consider the term

pronounced: AZALIYY (both A’s are short; the stress is on the last syllable).

AZALIYY is used to mean either “as old as time” or “to the end of time.” If you wish for these meanings to predominate, then this would be a suitable term.

Raghad suggested a number of terms that emphasize either the disciple’s timelessness (eternity) or infinite temporal extension:

أَبَديّ، سَرمَديّ، دَهريّ

pronounced: ABADIYY, SARMADIYY, and DAHRIYY (all the A’s are short, and the stress is on the last syllable of each word).

My primary suggestion for translating the phrase “Ancient Disciple” is at the top of this box. It is based on my conjecture of what you may have in mind, but as you can see, the field is wide open.


Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
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