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Proverbs on manners, human relations and human characteristics

Contributed by Turathuna Bethlehem University on 30.01.2007:

On politeness, polish and praiseworthy manners

– Speech shows the character of the speaker.

– Neither be brittle and be broken nor soft and be squeezed.

– None assumes pride except the son of the base person.

– Be the son of whomever you wish, but acquire politeness; its praise will spare your having a good genealogy.

– Oh, you who are going away, increase your good deeds.

– There should not be greetings to people eating their food.

– None, except the virtuous, will eat the leftovers.

– The good word extracts the snake from its den.

– Go sweetly and come back sweetly (i.e. do not overstay your welcome.)

– No reply is a reply.

– Receive me well and do not give me lunch.

On human relations, as kinship, neighborliness and friendship

– Birds of feather flock together.

– Your close neighbor is better than your distant brother.

– The Prophet (Muhammad) recommended that even the seventh neighbor should be taken care of.

– Choose the neighbor before choosing a house.

– Paradise without people is not to be trodden on.

– Search your house seven times before accusing your neighbor.

– Reproach your neighbor but do not lose him.

– The maternal uncle remains but the paternal uncle goes away.

– A friend in need is a friend indeed.

– You may have a brother not born of your mother.

– Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.

– None is dearer than the son of the grandson.

– My heart is with my son and my son’s heart is with the stone.

The leg creeps to the place it likes. –

On human characteristics such as skepticism, contentment and others

– A natural trait overcomes an acquired one.

– Nature is stronger than nurture.

– A natural trait applied by the (mother’s) milk does not change until death (lit. the shroud)

– He who is brought up on something will grow old with it.

– Obstinacy is blasphemy.

– A spring that trickles is better than an interrupted one.

– Contentment is an inexhaustible treasure.

– He who sees the plight of others will feel his plight eased.

– If lying saves you, truth will save you more.

– The rope of lying is short.

– He who seeks to fulfill all his desire will lose it all.

– Greed separates and does not unite.

– The quarrel was not because of a pomegranate, but because hearts were full of rancor.

– Some suspicion is sinful.

– Severing necks is more tolerable than severing one’s means of livelihood.

– Evil is a spark.

– Be at a distance from evil and sing for it.

– Evil is not to be followed up.

– He commits the wrong things and lurks in corners.

– Envy is a self-consuming fire if it does find what to consume.

– The envious person does not gain ascendancy.

– Be jealous instead of being envious.

Source:”Bethlehem, The Immortal Town” by Giries Elali

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