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Friday, October 3, 2008

The Quran was revealed in the Best and Most Comprehensive of Languages

Allah (SWT) chose to reveal the last of His Books in the Arabic language. This choice can be traced back to the superiority of the Arabic language and to certain of its wonderful qualities, qualities that, though many be found in some degree in other languages, are complete and whole only in the Arabic language. It would require at least an entire volume to describe in detail the superior qualities of the Arabic language, and so, given the scope of work, I will suffice here with a brief discussion on the topic.

Even during the pre-Islamic days of ignorance, Language played a important role in the lives of Arabs. Eloquence was to Arabs what advanced technological and scientific knowledge is in today’s modern world – a mark of prestige and distinction. Eloquence defined a person’s level of refinement, and poets were honored throughout society. Poetry competitions were held, and winner’s poetry was inscribed and hung up on the Kabah. By the time Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born, Arabic was a highly developed Language.

Without a doubt, Arabic is a very flexible language; it didn’t need to borrow words from other languages, but instead was able to produce derivatives of previous Arabic words to accommodate new meanings. In this sense, Arabic is a very independent language: it is the norm in Arabic, not the exception, that many words can be derived from a single root word. This makes Arabic a very enjoyable language to study. In English, for instance, one has to trace the root of a word back to Latin, Greek, French, or even Arabic. But in Arabic, each word is traced back to an Arabic root word, thus making Arabic a very independent and self-sustaining language. By the same token, Arabic is a very comprehensive language: Not one are there ample words to describe any given concept, but also there are often tens of words to describe a similar meaning, and each of those words had a specific nuance to distinguish it from the others; or in other words, through twenty Arabic words may be synonyms, they are each unique in that they convey an additional shade of meaning that is not found in the other nineteen words.

Unless he has a bias against Islam or Arabs, a scholar of world languages cannot help but to declare Arabic as the most eloquent and comprehensive of languages. One of the main features of the Arabic language- a that was needed for the purpose of the Nobel Quran – is that one is able to express a great many meanings in very few words; other languages might feature the same quality, but certainly to a lesser degree.

Additionally, because of the nature of Arabic, clarity is promoted. What I mean by this is that certain languages, especially modern day languages such as English, by dint of their information and development and historical usage actually promote obfuscation and what had become known as doublespeak; one can say much without saying anything at all. But the development of Arabic language as well as historical use, on the other hand, promoted precision and clarity in speech.

In many Verses of the Noble Quran Allah(SWT) mentioned the blessings of revealing the Quran in Arabic language.

For example, in the Chapter Az – Zukhruf, Allah (SWT) said:

“We verily, have made it a Quran in Arabic, that you may be able to understand (its meanings and its admonitions).”  (Quran 43: 3)

And in Chapter Yusuf, Allah swt said:


“ Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran in order that you may understand.” (Quran 12:2)

The Quran needed to be revealed in a language that could handle its demands and accommodate its lofty meanings, and Arabic was probably the only language that fulfilled these conditions. Arabic is meant to be spoken in a eloquent manner; its rules, sentence structures, and grammatical forms do not promote anything less than eloquent speech. And so it was only natural that figurative speech – which is the highest form of speech and the one most employed by poets of all languages – should have been a prominent feature of the Arabic language. Simile, metaphor, personification, apostrophe, metonymy, symbol, allegory, paradox, overstatement, understatement, irony each of these instances of figurative language was well developed by Arab poets even prior to advent of Islam. And they were certainly needed to accommodate or bear, if you will, the eloquence of the Nobel Quran.

As developed as Arabic was a language, the Noble Quran took it to its peak, a peak that could not be reached by any other Arab poet, no matter  how eloquent  he was.  This was a fact that was acknowledged by the most eloquent of poets, regardless of whether they submitted to the truth and embraced Islam – such as Labeed bin Rabeeah, Kaab bin Zuhair, and AnNaabighah Al jadee – or those stubbornly and instransigently rejected the truth and remained disbelievers – such as Al Waleed in Al Mugheerah.

One particularly wonderful feature of the Arabic language has to do with onomatopoeia, which involves using words that sound like what they mean, such as bang and snap. Although there are some onomatopoetic words in every language, Arabic for surpasses all other languages in the number of onomatopoetic words it contains, which, to be sure, makes it a wonderful language to listen to.

To summarize, any linguistic device that could be used to further enhance the eloquence of speech – such as imagery; what., in poetry, is known as ‘musical devices; or the music of language; alliteration, assonance, and consonance; and so on – is more developed in Arabic than in any other language. Though it is true that other languages feature the same qualities that are mentioned above, they are found in Arabic in greater degree. Ibn faaris, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “ No one is able to translate the Quran to another language and do it justice, as opposed to the Injeel which was translated … and the Torah, the Zaboor and the rest of Allah’s divinely revealed books, which were translated (with justice done to the originals ). This is because, in eloquence and the use of figurative language, no language is able to accommodate in the flexible, vast, precise, and comprehensive language of the Quran, Arabic.

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