How to say "I love you" and Other Love Vocabulary and Expressions in Arabic

Did you know that "al-ḩubb" الحُبّ is not the only word for "love" in Arabic Language?


Arabs are famous for their intense, passionate love poems and prose. In ancient Arabic literature, poets typically describe "stories of unrequited love" or "platonic love", where the lovers cannot be married or united, and ultimately suffer from their love. Ancient Arab poets also addressed their beloved in the masculine form, due to the strict cultural norms and traditions.


A famous Arab poet from the "Jaahiliyya" pre-Islamic era Qays ibn Al Mulawwah’s (late 7th century) composed legendary poems of unfulfilled love for his lover Layla. He was even called "Majnounu Layla" مَجْنون ليْلى, which means: crazy for Layla (Layla’s madman); hence both earning the title of Romeo and Juliet of the Arab world:

"I draw a picture of her in the dust and cry, my heart in torment. I complain to her about her: for she left me, love-sick, badly stricken. I complain of all the passion I have suffered, with a plaint toward the dust.”

"أُصَوِّرُ صورَةً في التُربِ مِنها

وَأَبكي إِنَّ قَلبي في عَذابِ

وَأَشكو هَجرَها مِنها إِلَيها

شِكايَةَ مُدنِفٍ عَظِمِ المُصابِ

وَأَشكو ما لَقيتُ وَكُلَّ وَجدٍ

غَراماً بِالشِكايَةِ لِلتُرابِ"


The most famous modern time Arab poet is "Nizar Qabbani" نِزار قَبّاني (1923-1998), of Syrian nationality. He is still known as the “woman’s poet” and “poet of love”.

"I want to write you words That are unlike any wording, To invent a language for you alone To tailor it to the size of your body, To the breadth of my love."

"أريد أن أكتب لك كلاماً

لا يُشبهُ الكلامْ

وأخترع لغةً لكِ وحدكِ

أفصّلها على مقاييس جسدك

ومساحةِ حبّي."