The Strategic Importance of the Arabic Language pt. 2

Figure 1A: An example of the one of the oldest copies of the Qur'an in existence. This particular sample is on display in Birmingham, England.

Figure 1A: An example of the one of the oldest copies of the Qur’an in existence. This particular sample is on display in Birmingham, England.

The Qur’an, Arabs and Arabic[1]

By Imam `Abdullah An-Nuri

Before and after Islam, the Arabs were the same people but a fundamental change swept over them that would differentiate between how they had been previously and the end product. Allah, Majestic is His Mention, sent His Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, sent down a book upon them in their language so that he might teach and purify them.

Before the revelation of the Qur’an, the Arabs were in the depths of the age of Ignorance and astrayness that rendered them blindmen. Any one of these men might purposely go to an infant daughter, take her and bury her alive due to the shame of having so many daughters.

These people were in utter scandal, with nothing to unite the hearts or gather the tribes together. They were thus in a perpetual state of war and enmity with one another with habitual bloodshed as the norm.

The society of that day had a class system. The lords and the lorded over, the elite and the low, the free and the slave. The strong devoured the weak and the mighty among them would forge idolatrous images out of dust and seek aid from them. He would prostrate at the foot of the idols and seek help and support from them.

Allah in the Qur’an made reference to this numerous times in many places. Allah, after the Revelation, even reminded these people of the Favour upon them when He united their hearts upon Islam when they had been enemies beforehand.

He permitted for them the pure and wholesome things and forbade them the filthy and unclean things along with meat found dead, blood and the flesh of pig. He also forbade them from the worship of idols and what cannot hear the call and cry of the seeker.

Allah showed the flaw and blame of this when he said,

When any one of them is given the glad tidings of the birth of a female, his face is gloomy and he is filled with grief. He hides away from the people due to the evil of what he has been informed. Will he keep her or bury her deep in the earth? Evil is such a decision being made.[2]   

The Qur’an was sent down to a people who at the time were in darkness and the tribes were in a state of war. The Messenger – by the command of Allah the Exalted – called the people to the Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah, to worship Him Alone, the unification of direction for men and the liberation of man from the slavery to other than Allah.

The call of Islam was that there is no god but Allah and He is One and Unique without partner for Him. This means that Allah Alone is worshipped and none besides and that man has been endowed with nobility that should prevent him from subjugating himself to someone besides the Creator, Sustainer and Shaper for worship.

Man is to be considered the brother of his fellow man, he is not to use his strength to overcome the weaker among mankind. All men were taken to be brothers with no virtue of one man over another except by piety.

So they heard the voice of truth, believed in it, read and recited that which He sent down on His Messenger and thus the purification of the soul began and the path of true righteousness was laid out.

Their faith took them from ignorance and removed them from the mirage of astrayness and they now firmly placed themselves on the path so that they become the first family of the Ummah of the Qur’an. The Arab nation became manifest and known to the world after Islam.

Beforehand they were unknown and Islam then took them from being forgotten about by the world to the world hearing and seeing them and becoming a part of the best Ummah every brought forward for humanity.

They call to good, command with righteousness and forbid from the wrong.[3]

The people referenced in the ayah teach others the truth, command with justice and goodness, command with truth and patience so that they might connect with and bring the good that impacts the whole of creation.

And with Islam the Arabs entered into the full light of history and civilisation. The Book of Allah became a constitution for their state, the law of their judges, the basis of their society, the schoolteacher of the young and old among them.

The Book of Allah is the commander and forbidder in all points in life, whether it be the masjid, the school, at home, trade and work and conditions that pass by mankind or he passes by and this indeed became the reality established by history. No one can deny this except for the arrogant ones who ignore history’s lessons.

We understand from this that Islam is what taught the Arabs the meaning of honour, guided them to brotherhood and affinity towards others, with this leading to them tasting the sweetness of glory and majesty in the end.

These people believed that the Qur’an is the Book of Allah which no falsehood approaches it form the front or the back and the legislation that is within its’ pages is from Allah Alone. They took hold of this and never strayed from the path.

Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, is the One who chose them for this religion and made them armies due to their passion for Allah. He chose for them this religion as a guidance and strength and made them the best Ummah to guide humanity, give glad tidings to the good while knowing that whoever has passion for Allah shall never be conquered and whoever Allah has not given this is counted among those destroyed.

Before Islam, the Arabs were landlocked in Arabia and they did not as a whole go past its boundaries. When the Qur’an came, people came and learned the Arabic language that weren’t even Arabs as the message was in Arabic.

He (Allah) brought them out of being heads over tribes of Arabs to being heads over nations of Arabs and non-Arabs and this all became part of the Islamic and Arabic Ummah. The nations around them spoke different languages, made subscriptions to other religions, but then they learned the language of the Qur’an and came to the religion of the Qur’an.

These nations today speak with different accents – with the one in the east not understanding the accent in the west – but when they gather together they understand the timeless language of the Qur’an.

It is the noble language that Allah preserved with the Qur’an and that which one can access to have eternity is in the Qur’an. So the Arabic language shall not fade away until time itself ceases.

It is due to the Qur’an that we know and understand and we are obliged to gather together and become of one accord. I do not say this just to the Arabs alone; but I say this to the Arabs and all Muslims.

It is a great disservice and shame to abandon the very thing that Allah gave to raise the Arabs from the degradation in which they had been mired. He (Allah) gave them might, taught whoever was ignorant with the Qur’an and honoured them. He then guided them by way of the Qur’an to the right way so that they might use their insight. He also gave them the most amazing story and glory to ever be told in the annals of history.

[1] This was taken from `Ulama ul-Islam, vol.1, pp. 629-630, no.24, Jumada Al-Akhirah 1386 edition

[2] Surat un-Nahl (16), ayah 58-59

[3] Surah Ali `Imran (3), ayah 104

 

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