The word is commonly said to be of a Hebrew origin. It is the Greecian theologians who introduced it in Western languages after the translation of the Bible. Then, it is adopted by the Arabs as it is used in the Koran revealed to their prophet in Arabic. But the problem is that in none of these languages (Hebrew, Arabic, Greek) can be found contemporarily the least trace of the word “Amen”. The only language – and we never thought of it though it is as ancient as the two first ones – which offers us a clear explanation and confirms the meaning of “Amen” as it is stated above, is the Berber language.
In Kabyle (one of the various dialects of Berber), there is the phrase “am-in” that means synchronically, in common speech, “like that”. However, if we put “am-in” in the context of a prayer, it will clearly mean “so be it”; with “it” referring here to what has been said before. Notice the following example: “ad ig Rebbi yedder! Am-in” (May he live! Amen; i.e. may what has been said come true).
The Berber term “in”, meaning the one who/which, is attested in today’s Touareg dialects which are well-known for their preservation of the most ancient phenomena related to the Berber language. It is the allomorph of the Kabyle non-annexed form “win”.
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Written by: D.Messaoudi