November 4, 2012

Names of the Rain

Al-dayima is "continuous" rain without thunder or lightning, lasting no less than one third of a day or night. Most rains do not last this long. Similar to al-dayima is al-tahtān ["The Trickle"]. A poet said:

   My beloved, the weeping of your nostrils
      is like the tahtān of a rainy day.

Two varieties of al-dayima are al-hadb ["The Hard Rain"] and al-hatl ["The Spattering"]. A poet said:

   At Dhu ’l-Radm the tended fires were overshadowed
      by summer rains hadb-down-coming.

Al-dhihāb are both weak and strong rains. Cloud cover that darkens the sky and brings no rain is called al-dujunna ["The Overshadow"]; such a cloud is called dājina or mudjina. Days and nights so affected are described as dajn and dujunna, both adjectivally ["the day was dujn"] and in the genitive ["a day of dujn"]. Al-dājina is also said for a raincloud that covers the sky, delivering rain continuously, and al-dajn is a plentiful rain. Another kind of continuous rain is al-rihma ["The Discharge"]. Of all the dayima rains, al-rihma falls hardest and is first to pass away. Al-hafā' ["The Flutters"] are similar to al-rihma and are called by al-'Anbarī al-afā'. Yet another kind of dayima is the light rain called al-daththa ["The Scotch Mist"], which is a light rain, and similar to it is al-hadma ["The Nebulous"]. Al-watfā' ["The Beetle-Brow"] is a cloud of rapid-flowing rain that is counted among the dayima rains whether it is of long or short shedding. Al-qatr ["The Drip"] is said for all rain, weak and strong, as is al-dhihab. A diffuse fall of light droplets is called al-rashsh ["The Spray"]. The most abundant rain with the biggest droplets is called al-wābil [“The Downpour"]. Al-jawd ["The Profusion"] is said generally for abundant rain falling at any time of year. A poet said:

   I am Jawād son of Jawād, and the grandson of Sabal:
      When we rain, we're a jawd; when we pour we're a wābil

Al-'Anbarī recited this verse with a slight variation.
      When part after part of something comes in succession, the whole is called al-midrār and al-dirra ["The Torrent"]. This may be said of all rains. Al-rikk ["The Lean"] is a weak rain of no benefit unless it is followed by al-tabi'a ["The Consequent"] which is one rain after another.       Al-sāhiya ["The Inundation"] is an epithet of al-wābil, and vice versa: both wābilun sāhiyatun and sāhiyatun wābilun are heard. It is an expression for the rain that scours all it touches and sweeps it away. When profuse rains grip the earth to the point that its depths are uprooted, its topsoil becomes its bottom, and its hidden and visible shares are inverted, it is said to be mashūra ["Ensorced"]. The rain called jārr al-dabu' ["The Hyena Driver"] never falls without setting the earth aflow, and is so called because it penetrates the hyena’s den and sends it fleeing.
      Al-muhtafal ["The Hugger-Mugger"] is a fast-falling, uninterrupted rain. Similar to it is al-sahh ["The Flow"], with the difference that in al-sahh individual droplets may not be observable. Al-munhamir ["The Fluent"] is like al-sahh, as is al-wadq ["The Bout"]. Al-darb ["The Stroke"] is used for light rain, as is al-qatr, and al-dihhān ["The Gentle Strokes"] are much the same. Al-murawwiya ["The Water-Bringer"] is a rain that quenches the earth, while al-mulabbid ["The Damper"] wets its surface and causes its dust to settle. Al-hayā ["The Life-Giver"] is abundant rain. Al-ahādīb (plural of the plural of al-hadb, q.v.) are hard rains consequent upon other rains. Al-halal ["The Incipient"] are the beginnings of rain. Al-muth'anjir ["The Plenishing"] and al-mushanfir ["The Fleet"] are plentiful in their flow. Al-waliyy ["The Boon Companion"] is said for rain that follows rain in any season. Al-'ahd ["The Pledge"] is a first rain; a land in which the rain is widespread is said to be ma'hūda ["fulfilled"], and when it is touched by a nufda of rain it is said to be mu'ahhada ["empledged."]. Al-nufda ["The Shiver"] is said of rain that falls on one region and passes over another, as are al-shu'būb ["The Cloudburst"] and al-najw ["The Wind-Breaker"]. And land that is mansūha ["satisfied"] has been blessed with abundant rain.
      Al-ghayth is a name for rain in general. Al-sabal ["The Trailing Garment"] is rain that hangs between cloud and earth, from the point of its leaving the cloud to its landing on the ground.

From Abū Zayd al-Ansārī's Book of Rain