Hospitality in Iran: The real meaning behind “Ghabel nadare” قابل نداره in Taarof تعارف



Hospitality in Iran: The real meaning behind “Ghabel nadare” قابل نداره in Taarof



When you travel to Iran, you will be amazed by the number of times you hear the expression “ghabel nadare” قابل نداره everyday. Particularly when you are about to pay for something, often you hear the salesperson say:

  • Ghabel nadare! قابل نداره

I have to say, it’s quite a soothing feeling when you hear these words. It makes you feel somehow welcomed or respected. It’s unlikely you hear something similar in the Western world.

Why do you think “ghabel nadare” قابل نداره is such a common expression in Iran? Let’s get a bit deeper into this popular concept.

What Does ‘Ghaabel Na.dare’ قابل نداره  Mean?


“Ghabel nadare” (Ghabel na.dareh) is a usual form of “taarof” تعارف in Iran. It literaly means “Its not worthy enough for you.” 

In essence, the seller is saying that the money is nothing compare to the value he has for you as a person.

This basically implies “You may have it”, “It’s yours”, or “You don’t have to pay!”

What is taarof تعارف?

Taarof in Iran refers to a common cultural behaviour in which you extend your offerings to others as a sign of respect. Taarof تعارف is a popular concept, present in daily life of every Iranian.

Let’s examine what are the origins of the concept of “taarof.”

The real meaning behind the concept

Taarof (the smae as marefat) comes from the Arabic root, arafah عرف, which means “knowledge” or “getting acquainted”. This refers to the knowledge of spiritual self, the human condition, or God in general.

Since God is absolute kindness, the more you know god, the more you become like him. As a result, you try to be kinder to people around you. 

Indeed, in Iranian learnings, people are not valued for their money nor their ranks, but for their kindness and the service they offer to others. The more you have “knowledge” (marefat) the kinder you are, while offering your services to others. And like God, you don’t ask anything in return.

This is where the concept “baa-marefat” بامعرفت  arisesfrom. “Baa marefat” is a person who has “marefat” (or knowledge), thus he is generous, loyal, and kind.

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