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The meaning of Ra

Updated on August 17, 2011

Etymology of the ancient Egyptian word Ra

Let me tell you that I am on the research for common origins of words that are similar -to a large extent- in pronunciation and meaning in different languages.
The study is being particularly in etymology and philology ,in relation to the word (Ra) the Sun god of the ancient Egypt.

Was brought to my attention that the chinese word (Ri) 日, which takes the same Egyptian hieroglyphic shape of a circle and a dot inside, means "sun" in Chinese too.

This picto - audio congruence between Egyptian(Ra) and chinese(Ri) pushed me to further research on the possible transfer of the use of this monosyllabic word - into other languages - with close meanings.
In the Filipino language, we can find that the word (Aarau) means "the sun" too.
Also, the English word (Ray), which means "a beam of light", is derived from the Latin (Rayon), very close to the meaning of "the sun".
So we can decide that the word ''ray'' is derived from ''Ra'' and then , all the Latin prefixes such as radio, radia, etc... are derived from latin: Rayon from Egyptian Ra ; ..(( my theory)).
Well, The sun indicated three main meanings: light, god, and the male power

By reference to the local dialects in southeastern Yemen, "my hometown dialects", the word (Ra' = رع ) is used to mean the verb " to see" ,they say: ra'ah (رعه) = look at him, see it

Similarly (in a southern yemeni dialect): Sha' شع = See (note that the word for "ray" in Arabic is "Shu'a شعاع ", derived from the Arabic verb asha' =أشع = to shine)
And I think that the verb Ra' in the sense of "to see" has a symbolic relationship to "the sun" and "the rays" .
one can not see anything without the presence of sunlight , or more accurately, the presence of a beam of light, ray!
the verb (Ra' = راع ) is still used in some other arabic dialects in the Arabian Peninsula
There are some tribes in Hail, Saudi Arabia,still use the word Ra' = راع = see
the Holy Quran -aged 1400 years- indicated that using the verb (Ra') is undesirable.

(O ye of Faith! Say not (to the Apostle) words of ambiguous import like Ra' ina =( See us), but words of respect like Unzurna= (Look at us); and hearken (to him) : To those without Faith is a grievous punishment) Sura 2:104.

and the verses:

(Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places, and say: "We hear and we disobey"; and "Hear what is not Heard"; and "Ra'ina"; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to Faith. If only they had said: "What hear and we obey"; and "Do hear"; and "Do look at us"; it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah hath cursed them for their Unbelief; and but few of them will believe) Sura 4:46

The Quran interpreters tried to figure out the reason why Allah has forbidden the believers to say the word Ra' .Some of the quran interpreters said : Ra' is a word Jews used to say out of ridicule and abuse, since the word Ra' in Hebrew indicates Evil, that is why God forbade the faithful to say that word to the Arabic Prophet Mohammed.


The word (Ra) has shades of meanings , something of puns, it carries the positive meaning of the verb "to See the light, to shine" .
At the same time it can have a negative meaning : "evil" .That is not only in Hebrew.
In Hadramawt -southern Arabia- dialect, the word Ra'ah راعه = death , destruction.

Now let us move to the famous ancient sacred symbol "the disc and crescent symbol" to check the possible relation with the word "Ra".

The disc and crescent symbol consists of 2 elements: a half circle and a full circle inside.

Let us try to read it in the Old Arabic Script "the ancient yemeni Script" (Musnad)..

In Musnad Script :
The Consonant (R) is a half circle,and the Consonant (A') is a circle.

doesn't it make any sense?



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    • profile image


      14 months ago

      In my language Maltese (which is descended from Maghrebi Arabic) we still use the word "ra" which means "he saw" (to see).

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Information here is very interesting. I am wanting to have a one word mantra. One of my teachers (Ram Dass - Richard Alpert) chanted Rama. I like the possibility that Ra is the male Sun and Ma is the - well "Ma" the Mother of the universe. So RaMa would be the all inclusive source of the divine - no?

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      In my language it means; west, down, forehead.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Of and sorry for my lacky comment.I wrote it in a hurry..hope you understand it.But to make a correction at "For example greeks didn"t really believe that everything came from water"..I wanted to say the opposite.They believed that everything came from water...alchemists had a lot of trouble surviving primitivisim because(Thoth is the oldest alchemist we know) they also said(pretty much always) that fire or light is the source of life as in..origin of matter also and not just that it feeds it and egyptians said the same thing(that everything comes from the Sun.Sorry for the comment again...

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You know..there is radio..and I always knew the link between thing and egyp.Plus tht egypt is very old and had a lot of connections in the world.For example greeks didn"t really believe that everything came from water(and from what I know Orfeus said that only matter came from water and not fire).And then a great man called Heraclit comes and says..everything comes from fire(energy).And egyptians said that everything comes from the Sun(most powerfull and most fiery entity in our system) and seeing that egyptians were very advanced it"s normal that many and especially greeks learned from them.Even Plato said that he went in Egypt..and I knew this by pure intuition and not proof.So it"s only normal to say that Egypt influenced a lot...and we even have dio from Radio that means GOD...dio deus diana dionysus.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Consider these words: toRAh abRAham bRAham koRAn isRAel abRAcadabRA RAinbow RAmadan. Re Ro Ru can be thought of as having a base in Ra also.

      This information was brought to me via lecture series found here:

    • profile image

      Robi Naia 

      6 years ago

      Give thanks for the research

      please also check the first / main slavic /pre-christian GOD /DEITY

      ---RAD/ROD _--its name is the part of the every archetype word in our language ,,like ROD-dzina (Family) ROD-zić (to bear,to give birth) RAD-zić (to rule, to think ) RAD-ować się (to be happy ) PRZÓD (forward way ) and many many others that survived in polish , and other slovian languages ...the word ROOT which is a later indo-european transliteration is also derrived from ROD /RAD ...for me its obvious that slavic tribes are very old migration from africa , many other beliefs , words are also similar to egyptian deities ,,,

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      6 years ago

      In Buddhism and Hinduism (MA)RA is depicted as evil. Could it be related to the egyptian def.?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for your post! It occurred to me recently there could be some relation between the Egyptian Ra and the Chinese Ri, but did not find any further explanation. Do you think these civilizations could have some common language root, or they developed independently?

    • Nurfninja profile image


      7 years ago from Earth

      That was soo cool! so, what can someone do with this information?

      Also, isn't that weird that the hebrew word for "RA" meant "evil"? Especially since the Jews had a big problem with not worshiping other gods. That is a very compelling read, but what kind of conclusions do you make from your research?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thank you for answering

    • dammoon profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from China

      You are Welcome Dear Salhed!

      you know what, the crescent disk symbol can also indicate the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex "Ishtar" , notice that the first letter and the last letter are 'A and R !!

      As for the "clash" of the meanings of Ra (light/darkness)(goodness/evil), i mentioned above :

      The word (Ra) has shades of meanings , something of puns, it carries the positive meaning of the verb "to See the light, to shine" .At the same time it can have a negative meaning : "evil". That is not only in Hebrew.In Hadramawt southern Arabia dialect, the word Ra'ah = death , destruction.

      Well i am very happy to see you here Dear Salhed

      best regards

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thank you thank you thank you

      now the word of quran says (raina )is just drived out from the egyptian god ra and the islamic sympol is drived from the name

      but as usual (maty)i will give you some hint

      in iraki mythology there is one myth says that the cresent moon is refferd to the god sin (moon) and the star refferd to the venuse(inanna) according to the shapes this shape means evil (the darkness )while in egypt means the boot ra rise up the sun (the light the good) how we can solve this paradox


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