الندب بالطار ولا قعاد الراجل في الدار
El nadb bel tar wala o’ad el ragel fel dar
Translation: Mournful singing with a tambourine is better than having an idle man at home.
Meaning: When men sit at home, they are not just failing to earn money, but are causing additional misery by being demanding and out of place. This outdated proverb, which rhymes in Arabic, chronicles a time when homes were the domain of women, who would get together to chat and drink coffee while the men were away doing men things.
Source: Egyptian Proverbs, (Al-Ahram Center for Translation and Publishing, 1986) by Ahmed Taymour Pasha
Translated by: Nabil Shawkat