8 readers online now  |  69 million page views

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


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Submit a comment on this item

Reader comments (80) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
2Nassim Nicholas Taleb: "Minority Rule" and the process of Islamization of Egypt! [188 words]dhimmi no moreMar 1, 2018 09:18242393
2Why did Muslims attack Persia? [406 words]PrashantFeb 17, 2018 12:44242278
2Attention Prashant: The Arab invasion of Persia and the recent change in the paradigm of "What Really Happened" [724 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 20, 2018 09:08242278
2SUBJ1 [44 words]anonJan 11, 2018 09:05241827
3Paying Palestinians [154 words]Glenda UrmacherJan 9, 2018 21:21241815
Bring Back Imperialism and Colonialism [199 words]DaveDec 26, 2017 21:24241676
Christian population declines [38 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
JesseDec 24, 2017 09:25241657
Dear Dr. Pipes [157 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Debanjan BanerjeeJan 1, 2018 01:18241657
Dear Dr. Pipes [52 words]Debanjan BanerjeeJan 2, 2018 22:11241657
Dear Dr. Pipes [85 words]Debanjan BanerjeeJan 2, 2018 22:59241657
2The most absurd claim by our dear Deb and he has a long history of absurd claims Right our dear Deb? [60 words]dhimmi no moreJan 3, 2018 08:06241657
1Our dear Deb and more gems! [74 words]dhimmi no moreJan 7, 2018 08:12241657
Happy new year dear DNM [26 words]Debanjan BanerjeeJan 7, 2018 12:02241657
2Debanjan exposes the mastermind behind ISIS [220 words]JeffJan 7, 2018 20:54241657
Dear Jeff [101 words]Debanjan BanerjeeJan 15, 2018 08:42241657
2al-Taqiyya Deb's style! [93 words]dhimmi no moreJan 15, 2018 10:08241657
3Our dear Deb: Mullah كمال الحيدري says that the Qur'an is a corrupted book! What a disaster [146 words]dhimmi no moreJan 15, 2018 14:24241657
1Sleuth D.B.exposes even more on the hidden hands behind ISIS [307 words]JeffJan 20, 2018 18:42241657
4Dhimmi historians [31 words]SteinDec 21, 2017 22:50241645
Imperial Church [187 words]gato brancoDec 20, 2017 04:12241625
1I disagree with your statement about Spain in 1200 [285 words]gato brancoDec 20, 2017 02:47241623
2Big Mistake By Muslims [72 words]DavidDec 19, 2017 05:00241613
1Outside ME no better [69 words]VijayDec 18, 2017 10:23241594
1Christians and Jews, start saving up for the Jizya! [314 words]Michael SDec 12, 2017 10:47241547
1Comedy time! And how to punish the US for moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem! Read and laugh [55 words]dhimmi no moreDec 10, 2017 16:40241523
1The Arabization and Islamization of Egypt [335 words]dhimmi no moreDec 9, 2017 08:47241503
1Were the early 20th century Turks the only nasty Muslims? [97 words]KephaDec 15, 2017 20:07241503
7Entire conflict explained in less than 20 lines [203 words]G MarcusDec 19, 2017 00:57241503
Arabs, Copts and Goths [266 words]gato brancoDec 20, 2017 02:01241503
3Arabian imperialism [86 words]dhimmi no moreDec 21, 2017 07:23241503
3Islam came to the world at the right time (for them) [451 words]PrashantDec 22, 2017 13:16241503
1The 4th option is neither mentioned nor considered [270 words]PrashantDec 25, 2017 03:23241503
1Arabian Monotheism Muhammadan's style And what happens when the barbarian invade the lands of the civilized [986 words]dhimmi no moreDec 26, 2017 16:56241503
1Islamization but no Arabization: Iran and historical discontinuity v historical continuity [567 words]dhimmi no moreDec 27, 2017 09:12241503
2Are some languages superior to others? Greek Egyptian language and Arabic in Egypt post 642CE [597 words]dhimmi no moreDec 28, 2017 08:30241503
SO what about the West [37 words]Debanjan BanerjeeJan 1, 2018 01:22241503
1Islamic invaders were not imperialists and western imperialists were not religious tyrants. [607 words]PrashantJan 2, 2018 05:56241503
3Our dear Deb and wearing black shoes! What a disaster! [307 words]dhimmi no moreJan 2, 2018 09:47241503
Persians [150 words]gato brancoJan 2, 2018 11:57241503
2A few questions for our dear Deb whose Hindu ancestors were brutalized by the Muslim invaders of India [290 words]dhimmi no moreJan 2, 2018 12:14241503
3Hey our dear Deb: The Qur'an says that Paul is the prophet of Allah! What a disaster! [77 words]dhimmi no moreJan 3, 2018 08:14241503
1Persian and Egyptian languages: Scripts v spoken languages [474 words]dhimmi no moreJan 7, 2018 09:09241503
2Hey our dear Deb I have another question: Is it true that Allah converted to Islam in Q3:18? What a disaster! [107 words]dhimmi no moreJan 7, 2018 12:11241503
Christianity is still a Western imperial legacy [116 words]Debanjan BanerjeeJan 8, 2018 22:26241503
Once more Persians and Copts [219 words]gato brancoJan 15, 2018 01:57241503
1Egypt and Iran v Arab invasion and Islamization and Arabization [866 words]dhimmi no moreJan 15, 2018 08:48241503
2Our dear Deb and Arabian imperialism and the Shi'a tell us that the Qur'an is a corrupted book! [438 words]dhimmi no moreJan 15, 2018 10:01241503
1Addendum: Greek v Egyptian language in late antique Egypt! The demise of Greek and the ascendancy of the "mother tongue"! [336 words]dhimmi no moreJan 18, 2018 10:30241503
Persian writings in Arabic [324 words]gato brancoJan 20, 2018 06:44241503
al-Lugha al-'Amiayya [175 words]gato brancoJan 24, 2018 02:09241503
1al-Lugha al-'Amiyya v the language of Allah in Egypt [337 words]dhimmi no moreJan 24, 2018 11:35241503
1The 'mother tongue" The long version! [692 words]dhimmi no moreJan 25, 2018 08:35241503
1Iran and the "mother tongue"! Persian v Arabic! [1022 words]dhimmi no moreJan 25, 2018 11:27241503
Qur'anic Arabic etc. [615 words]gato brancoJan 26, 2018 01:27241503
1Iran and Egypt, secular culture v Asateer al-Awaleen in religious garb! [634 words]dhimmi no moreJan 27, 2018 10:53241503
1Persian and Egyptian Arabic and the "mother tongue" [1364 words]dhimmi no moreJan 31, 2018 11:50241503
1Addendum The Quranic word al-Ruum is a loan word from Syriac [46 words]dhimmi no moreJan 31, 2018 12:01241503
1sermo plebeius and sermo urbanus Italian v Latin and Egyptian Arabic v Classical Arabic [179 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 1, 2018 08:19241503
Syrianized Arabic, Mekka and Quraysh [483 words]gato brancoFeb 2, 2018 02:23241503
1Footnote: مملكة الانباط or the Nabataean Kingdom and Islam [131 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 2, 2018 09:39241503
1Carl Becker revisited! Language, identity, and historical continuity v discontinuity [1160 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 3, 2018 09:31241503
fuSHa and colloquial [361 words]gato brancoFeb 6, 2018 01:20241503
L-H-M, Hanpe, lectionary etc. [485 words]gato brancoFeb 6, 2018 03:28241503
2Lahma, Hanpe v Lahm, hanif Oh and Ummi or is it 'Am ha-ares (Hebrew) [1321 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 6, 2018 18:33241503
1Language and identity: The sacred v the profane? [660 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 7, 2018 07:48241503
1Footnote: Is the Qur'an a ܩܪܝܢܐ or Qeryana or كتاب وعظ or Kitab Wa'z or Lectionary? It must be! [134 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 7, 2018 12:50241503
Arab vowels, Qeryana, Samaritans etc. [745 words]gato brancoFeb 8, 2018 03:52241503
1Language and identity: Disney and Egyptian Arabic v Modern Classical Arabic! [115 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 8, 2018 10:18241503
Boring for everyone [62 words]gato brancoFeb 9, 2018 02:20241503
Sectarian Milieu [327 words]gato brancoFeb 9, 2018 03:22241503
1Language, Identity, Culture, Vowels and Accent! [736 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 9, 2018 08:13241503
Language, Identity, Culture and Old Civilizations are not conjured away! [1039 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 9, 2018 10:49241503
1Language and identity: The sacred v the profane? And BBC Arabic is a joke! [240 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 10, 2018 07:38241503
John Wansbrough's Sectarian Milieu: The Abbasids and the sacred and the profane [569 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 10, 2018 08:08241503
1So what do we now about the Qur'an as a text? [788 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 10, 2018 11:29241503
Dr Mohmed Rahoma on the language of the Qur'an and that it is not Classical Arabic and the Quranic وشهد شاهد من اهلها [196 words]dhimmi no moreFeb 15, 2018 10:09241503
1Thanks for the article 'Dhimmis No More' [601 words]PrashantDec 8, 2017 11:29241498
There are differences [50 words]bernardDec 18, 2017 19:28241498
2So... [13 words]AlexDec 7, 2017 21:00241490
Let's Win the War of Ideas [212 words]DaveDec 7, 2017 18:12241489

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Persian and Egyptian Arabic and the "mother tongue" by dhimmi no more

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List


eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2019 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)