قطع الورايد ولا قطع العوايد
At’ e warayedwala at’ el awayed
Translation: The cutting of veins is easier than the cutting of habits.
Meaning: It is easier to die than to discontinue old habits. This saying seems to speak not just of any habits, but of the habit of offering charity. In traditional society, many of the affluent classes had established habits of giving alms to others, sometimes supporting people in need for a lifetime. And when they were hit with hard times, one of their worst fears was not for themselves but for their dependents and their ongoing charity concerns. The word “awayed,” which is less in use today than in the early 20th century, can mean either “habits,” “donations,” or “revenues.”
Source: Egyptian Proverbs, (Al-Ahram Center for Translation and Publishing, 1986) by Ahmed Taymour Pasha
Translated by: Nabil Shawkat