Origins of an Expression


I was listening to Ustadh Muhammad Al-Shareef’s Usool al-Fiqh CD’s one day, and he said something interesting. He was talking about how he was giving a khutbah one day, and people listening started saying wah wah to something he said. This wah wah (or vah vah) is something frequently exclaimed among Pakistanis (and others as well), but he explained the origins of it:

This wah wah comes from Arabic. It’s not Persian, it’s Arabic, and the Arabic is waahin wah. There is a line from the Jahiliyy poetry, the Arabs say, Waahin li Salma, thumma waahin waha. When you translate it, it’s not that great. This girl named Salma is walking by, and he’s basically whistling at her and saying wah wah.


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