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Persian and Egyptian Arabic and the "mother tongue"

Reader comment on item: Dhimmis No More
in response to reader comment: Qur'anic Arabic etc.

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Jan 31, 2018 at 11:50

gato you wrote:

>Concerning the language of Qur'an, the most probably the original language of Qur'an was based on North-Western Arabic dialects, spoken in contemporary Jordan, Negev and adjoining regions of Saudi Arabia of the formerly Nabatean domain. This variety had strong admixture of Aramaic words and other borrowings

Or it very well could be the form of late antiquity Arabic spoken by Arabs that lived in al-Sham and Mesopotamia and it was a mix of Arabic and Syriac

There is a significant layer of Syriac (Middle Aramaic) in the Qur'an as would be expected. Check the fist 2 verses in Surat al-Teen This is not Arabic This is Syriac BTW: why would the author uses the Syriac word Tur instead of the Arabic Jabal and the Syriac word Sinin instead of the Arabic word Sina'

Also check Q69:47 This is really strange Arabic grammar Noldeke wrote: "Sura 69:47 is also odd such construction occur quite often in Syriac however" And he makes lots of sense

Also check Surat Qaf:3 where is says: ولات حين مناص This sentence has no meaning in Arabic I challenge any Arabic speaker to explain it to us

The Qur'an must have been written in a milieu where Syriac was spoken and well understood otherwise no listener would be able to understand what the text being recited really means

> (eg. siraaT from Latin strata) and otherwise vocabulary different from other Arab dialects.

This is much more complicated than this The Quranic word al-Sarat in Surat al-Fatiha 6 or الصراط it puzzled al-Mufasereen They realized that it is a foreign word They were not even able to read it and is it الصراط or السراط and al-Qurtubi comes to the rescue and he tells us that it is: الصراط الطريق بلغة الروم or "al-Sarat is the road in the language of the Romans" However the Quranic word al-Ruum means the Greeks Not the Romans of the Roman Empire

Again more likely than not Muhammad was telling his followers what the Syriac speakers were saying and it goes as follows: The Syriac speakers used the Latin word Starata for paved road


And this is what got in the Qur'an as الصراط and its is a loan word from Syriac ܐܣܛܪܛ via Latin Strata

And at the same time Syriac speakers called the Roman soldiers: Romayye and this is what Muhammad called the Greeks when in actual facts there are two perfect Arabic words that mean the Greeks and they are: اليونانيون and الاغريق Why would Muhammad not use either word and instead uses a Syriac word? We will never know but all of this in my opinion moves the roots of the Qur'an from Mecca to the civilized Middle East in al-Sham and Mesopotamia

>However Arab grammarians in establishing the norm of Classical Arabic were heavily biased towards the beduin dialects of Eastern Arabian peninsula (considered "pure" - Arab grammarians probably thought that in the times of Muhammed all Arabic language was "pure", but later most of it becaming "corrupt" except for beduin dialects) which had many different grammatical and lexical features from the North-Western Arab dialect of the time of Muhammed.

Again this is a case of reversing cause for effect and the old "blame the dog" It was the conquered that shaped the Arabic language! Still Arabic speakers back then and now have no clue about the meaning of many words in the Qur'an and why would that be?

>As for the emergence of variant readings, many factors have contributed to it, including both speakers of different Arab dialects and islamicized speakers of non-Arabic languages.

I disagree because as I explained to you that the story of the Qur'an being revealed in 7 Ahrf (dialects) does not make sense and it is those conquered that shaped the Arabic language and all al-Tabari did was to select one "Harf" et voila we have the Qur'an And a case of reversing cause for effect

>By the time Tabari wrote his Tafsir not only the language has changed, but also the form of language that Tabari took as exemplary was based on a different dialect that the original version of Qur'an(of which only consonantal rasm existed, without vocalization and diacritic signs). He interpreted this rasm in the terms of emerging Classical Arabic. We can only guess how it sounded in 630 but certainly it was quite differently than it was after the massoretic efforts of Tabari after 800(quite probably in original Qur'anic language there was neither hamza left nor i3raab). Some words which were no more familiar to Tabari and his generation were given new meanings in the terms of Classical Arabic, some words were difficult to interpret even in terms of classical Arabic.

Again you are missing the point: al-Tabari's tafsir is the earliest EXTANT tafsir that we have and as I proved to you that the claim that the Qur'an was transmitted orally first then put in a written form is far from the truth

More likely than not al-Tabari was dealing with a text that was not well understood and all he did was to make it "understood" which does not mean that he knew what the text is really saying! Check his tafsir of the word Samad in Q112:2 He provides 7 meanings (which means he did not know what al-Samad really means) then he selects one and now it is the truth by Muslims! But how would we know that the real meaning of the word is not what he selected? We will never know

>So that answering the question whether the language of Qur'an is Classical Arabic or not you can give the answer - certainly in the form edited by Tabari it is but it still bears some traces of its non-Classical origin. As for the original Qur'anic language it certainly was not Classical Arabic(simply because no classical Arabic existed by this time) neither it was the direct precursor to the Classical Arabic.

You need to read Wansbrough. No is is not true This is what happened: Quranic Arabic ----> Classical Arabic a language that no one ever spoke and it is not Classical Arabic ----> Quranic Arabic

>Some comments about your other posts. Since I know Italian and have some knowledge of Latin, and also some knowlede of both fuSHa and Egyptiant Arabic, I know for sure that the difference between fuSHa and EA is by no means so great than as between Latin and Italian,

With respect I doubt very much that you know Egyptian Arabic or al-Lugha al-Fusha al-Haditha

Read Niloofar Haeri's book and you will understand what I'm saying

EA v MCA is not unlike Italian v Latin

>but of course it is big enough to consider them different languages. And yes, I am a little bit familiar with the linguistic situation in Egypt.

EA is really a language

>[in the case of Iran the Persian language won for many reasons but I still believe that on the top of the list is the fact that the Persian language is the mother tongue]

Then why do we have EA today and not the Egyptian language? After all the Egyptian language was a mother language too!

>Initially the New Persian(Farsi-Dari or simply Dari) was mother tongue only in Khurassan, for other areas of Iran and Central Asia Iranian languages other than Dari were spoken(North West Iranian dialects, South Wester Iranian dialects, Bactrian, Soghdian etc.). Apparently in the first two centuries of Hijra it became mother tongue for the most of the urban population in Central Asia(Bukhara, Balkh) and it was about 900 that Samanid kings made it the official language of their Empire. And certainly the variety of Dari spoken not only by masses but by intellectuals of Ferdowsi's time was still very pure and had little arabisms(there is very few of them either in Ferdowsi or in preserved verses of Rudaki). I think it is quite sure that colloquial Egyptian spoken during the Christian period in Egypt had much less grecisms that the language of Gospels and Gnostic texts(which were actually all translations from Greek)

Well then why did Egyptians "abandon" their language? Or did they? Food for thought


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