The term calculator is used this khutba in the Nahjul Balagha compiled by Sharif Razi

Praise is due to Allah whose worth cannot be described by speakers, whose bounties cannot be counted by calculators and whose claim (to obedience) cannot be satisfied by those who attempt to do so, whom the height of intellectual courage cannot appreciate, and the divings of understanding cannot reach; He for whose description no limit has been laid down, no eulogy exists, no time is ordained and no duration is fixed. He brought forth creation through His Omnipotence, dispersed winds through His Compassion, and made firm the shaking earth with rocks.

Obviously, there were no such things as calculators then. What is the term that has been translated by this and is there a more appropriate term in English that is available?

  • A calculator in Arabic would be الحاسب.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 0:04
  • @Medi1Saif: Is that pronounced al-hasaba? Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 1:43
  • No "al Haassib" . There's also الحاسوب al-Hassub referring to a PC.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 8:00
  • @Medi1Saif: I forgot that ordinary Arabic doesn't have diacretic marks. So I just went for the 'a'. Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 8:07

1 Answer 1


In Arabic, the word used is "العادّون", and it's basically an agent noun for the verb "to calculate" or "to count". In much the same way that a "writer" is "one who writes" and a "baker" is "one who bakes", a "calculator" is "one who calculates".

The same word is also used in the Qur'an, which I include here with various translations:

  • قالوا لبثنا يوما أو بعض يوم فاسأل العادين [Al-Mu'minun 113]
  • They will say, "We remained a day or part of a day; ask those who enumerate." [Saheeh International]
  • They will say: "We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account." [Muhsin Khan]
  • They will say: We tarried by a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep count! [Pickthall]
  • They will say, "We have lingered a day, or part (Literally: Some (part) of a day, so ask the numberers." [Dr. Ghali]

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