Why Qur’an is Arabic?

“Mighty and perfect versification of the Qur’an’s letters and words, which the letters compose have impressed people since it was revealed. Each person who is not against Qur’an cannot help hearing the music belonging to this language of its coherence, writing and the deep effect it does on the human soul.”

“Whenever a person recites one letter from the Book of Allah, one good deed is recorded for him. One good deed is equal to ten good deeds the like of it. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is a letter, but Alif is a letter Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter. (Tirmidhi)”

When looked at the history, every language developed after it was born and over time it is transformed. And some of the languages have slid away by the passage of time. That Arabic language doesn’t have a “maturation period” is what makes it different from other languages. Arabic with its stable and perfect rules is the only language in the world that doesn’t need development. In this context, it is the only language worthy of being a means of the divine declaration.

The I’jaz (succinctness) of the Qur’an is that it impossible to produce a similar of it. All the creatures are helpless of producing a similar of it. Balaghah (eloquence) is each letter or word of the Qur’an’s telling the complete and consistent truth to all walks of life and to all the times. Thus, fully comprehending the i’jaz (succinctness) and the balaghah (eloquence) of the Qur’an is possible only with the integrity of meaning and utterance.

Speaking of Qur’an recitation, it does not bore people. The sustenance of the mind is meaning. We know that thinking about the meaning tires and bores senses. But the divine and nabawi words.are the nutriment of the“lataif”(senses). And it is again the miracle of the Qur’an that despite the mind doesn’t perceive the meaning of these senses and doesn’t get bored from reading and listening to the Qur’an.

The utterance and the letters of the Qur’an are the symbols and names of Islam. What preserves the true meanings of verses is its living utterance and letters. Thus, they are impossible to change. Besides, the words and the letters of the Qur’an are like the skin. If you strip the living skin of the body, he will die. If the letters and the words of the Qur’an are changed, it wouldn’t be Qur’an.

For over a century it has been questioned why the Qur’an is in Arabic. Some individuals and groups have argued that the ‘ibadat (worships) should be performed in people’s mother tongue. But these individuals who are rising up this view are -interestingly- not the worshippers at all. They wish “the worship in another language other than Arabic not for themselves but for others because the majority of those people do not worship and ignore it but talk. Bad intentioned – questions such as “Why do we read Qur’an in Arabic?” “Why do we perform salah in Arabic?” are –in the contrary to their aim- unable to dissuade Muslims from reading the Qur’an in Arabic.

Primarily we can handle the subject evaluating two different views:

According to the first view; The Qur’an must be read –as it is original form [in Arabic] as an ibadah (worship)- all the worships must be performed in its original form, a translation and an interpretation “along with its Arabic form” must be read in order to be informed of the meaning of the Qur’an.

According to the second one which focuses only on learning the meaning of the Qur’an; a translation must be read and the original Arabic form of it must be wholly left and all the worships must be performed in mother tongue.

The first view –Ahl al-Sunnah view- is what it is supposed to be as a matter of fact. But the latter is considered to be quite the contrary of the Qur’an and Sunnah measurements. Because;

ALLAH WISHED THE QUR’AN BE ARABIC

Lo! We have appointed it a Lecture, in Arabic that haply ye may conceive (by understanding). (Surah Zukhruf, 3)

A Lecture in Arabic (we revealed), containing no crookedness, which haply they may ward off. (Surah Zumar, 28)

Allah created many languages for the mankind, but he determined Arabic language to address his servant among the languages. There is countless wisdom behind Allah’s revealing a universal book with an Arab Prophet to an Arab tribe.

Imam Zarkani emphasizes that the throne of the Qur’an is Arabic by stating: “It is understood from the verses that the Qur’an’s being Arabic is the will of Allah (swt). Because it is impossible for the Divine book to leave His Throne. His throne is Arabic. And it is Allah Most High who raised the Qur’an to the throne. Allah made the Qur’an the most beautiful of the words, He crowned it with eloquence and he made the Qur’an’s Arabic a mirror to this I’jaz (succinctness) and excellence.”

Each individual -if not an opponent of the Qur’an- will easily conceive with the help of following explanations, that it is inextricable not to have the Quran as a universal book in any other languages other than Arabic.

QUALIFICATIONS MAKING ARABIC SUPERIOR TO OTHER LANGUAGES

When looked at the history, every language developed after after it was born and over time it is transformed. And some of the languages have slid away by the passage of time. That Arabic language doesn’t have a “maturation period” is what makes it different from other languages. Arabic with its stable and perfect rules is the only language in the world that does not need development. In this context, it is the only language worthy of being a means of the divine declaration.

Arabic is syntactical which means it cannot be compared to any other languages in terms of grammatical rules.

The shortest wording without any loss in the meaning is only in the Arabic language. It is also the most advanced language amongst world languages in terms of eloquence, literature and fluency. Thus no other language can express the meanings in the world.

The richest language in term of words is also Arabic. It has a different word for each action. You can derive many different words from one word root.

Also, there is concordance between meaning and the phonetics of words. For example: when you say “zalzala” (earthquake) the “quake” in the meaning you feel on your tongue. For this reason, it is again Arabic language that makes the mind, soul, heart and all the senses of the mankind perceive the divine truths as it does the translatorship of the soul, heart and mind.

Allah, if he had wished, would assign this job to another language by giving the same qualifications to that language. But divine wisdom determined the Arabic language.

Arabic Language Prepared Arabic Society to Perceive the Qur’an

In Arabic culture poets and orators were giving effective advice with fluent sermons and eloquent poems to the public. It is such an admonitory situation that Arabs with an unstilted Arabic of Jahiliyyah period went far beyond the fluency and eloquence. Though undeveloped, ignorant and bedouin they were, it is understood that Allah prepared them to perceive the Qur’an and Qur’anic culture by directing them to fluency and eloquence.

QUR’ANIC ARABIC IS A MIRACLE

Arabic was not stilted before The Glorious Qur’an was revealed. Namely, Jahiliyyah arabs –most of whom are illiterates- were speaking Arabic in conformity with the grammatical rules but were not using the writing at all. The Qur’an was the first Arabic book revealed in a period where

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eloquence and fluency were so popular and it was revealed in the highest rank of syntax of Arabic.

Arabic was stilted, rose again and gained a new meaning with the revelation of the Glorious Qur’an.

Arabic, by the revelation of the Qur’an, affected all the other languages on earth beginning with the language of the Muslim societies. Arab orators and poets were astonished upon hearing Qur’an recitation and the works of these orators and litterateurs fell in value. Imam Zarkani gives the following example:

“What is left behind of the power and excellence for the Sultan, if he leaves the throne? Behold, Allah made the Qur’an the sultan of the words, crowned it with i’jaz (succinctness) and made the Arabic of it a mirror to this i’jaz and excellence.”

Yes, though the Arabic is the only language to express the meaning best, having no peers in eloquence, the Qur’an polished it with the highest rank of fluency and clarity. Plainly what is sacred and miracle is the Qur’anic Arabic.

ARABIC IS THE LANGUAGE OF RESIDENTS OF HEAVEN

Which the True Spirit hath brought down, upon thy heart, that thou mayst be (one) of the warners, In plain Arabic speech. (Surah al Shuara; 193, 194, 195)

Imam al-Qurtubi in his tafsir states: “The word “Arabic” mentioned in the ayah means [We revealed the Qur’an in Arabic language.] because the language of the residents of heaven is Arabic.”

Imam Suyuti says as the following in his “Al-Itqan fi Ulumi’l Qur’an” on the aforementioned ayah: “All the divine books have been revealed in Arabic. Every revelation has been sent down in Arabic and every prophet translated them into their own languages to inform their nation.”

Omer Nasuhi Bilmen says as the following on the aforementioned ayah: “Arabic is such a language that its meaning is clear and absolute. Likewise, Hud, Salih, Shu’ayb, Isma’il (alaihimussalam – peace be upon them all) also invited their nations to the divine religion with this wide, lucid –which expresses meaning with the clearest and fluent wording- language and terrified their hostiles with this language.”

THE QUR’AN IS MIRACLE WITH ITS MEANING AND WORDS

The miracles of the Qur’an such as i’jaz, eloquence and not being boring appears in its Arabic.

Angel Jabrail (ASM) is said to narrate on the eloquence of the Qur’an as the following: “Each Qur’anic word written in Lawh al-Mahfuz equals to Cuff Mountain in terms of size. Each letter has various meanings. These are solely known by Allah.” (Itqan, pg: 103)

The i’jaz (succinctness) of the Qur’an is it’s being impossible to be produced a similar of it. All the creatures are impotent of producing a similar of it. Balaghah (eloquence) is each letter or word of the Qur’an’s telling the complete and consistent truth to all walks of life and to all the times. Thus, Fully comprehending the i’jaz (succinctness) and the eloquence of the Qur’an is possible only with the integrity of meaning and utterance.

Imam Bediuzzaman says: “An important aspect of the i’jaz appears in the versification and the most important succinctness is the embroidery of the versification of the Qur’an.” What he means by versification is the sequence of the words, sentences and verses. The Qur’an is a miracle with its meaning, wording and letters. Not only the entire Qur’an, but even one surah or an ayah or a word of it is a miracle. Even a letter “nun” in “na’budu” is a bright key of the truths to be explained in pages long. When the Qur’an is translated the meaning and the wording of it is divided from each other. And once the meaning and wording are divided from each other succinctness (I’jaz) and eloquence get lost.

Speaking of the recitation of the Qur’an that it isn’t boring for the humankind; the nutriment of the mind is the meaning. But we have many more senses that thinking about the meaning tires and bores these senses. So, the nutriment of these senses called “lataif” is the divine and nabawi words. And it is again the miracle of the Qur’an that although the mind doesn’t perceive the meaning these senses don’t get bored from reading and listening to the Qur’an.

Though other languages apart from Arabic are assumed to convey the meanings in the Qur’an to the minds, they are still lack of satisfying the senses other than the mind since their wordings and letters are not spiritual like Qur’an’s.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO READ THE QURAN IN ANOTHER ALPHABET?

Arabic and the Arabic letters are attributed to Islam after Allah chose the Arabic language as a skin for his words. On the other hand, instead of staying at the beginning levels, the only reason of improvement of the Arabic script is Islam. Under those circumstances it will be true to call the Arabic letters as “The Letters of Quran and The Letters of Islam”.

The Islamic letters are like the blessed skin preserving the divinity and freshness of the divine words. Imam Suyuti says, “If the verses of the Quran are written in a different alphabet other than the letter of revelation then it will lose its feature of being verse since the divine inspiration consists of wording and the meaning. And also Angel Gabriel brought and revealed the Quran to the Prophet (pbuh) in Arabic language. (Itqan, pg:103)

The Words and the Letters of the Qur’an is like a Living Skin

The utterance and the letters of the Qur’an are the symbols and names of Islam. What preserves the true meanings of the ayahs is its living utterance and letters. Thus, they are impossible to change. Besides, the words and the letters of the Qur’an are like living skins. If the letters and the words of the Qur’an are changed, it wouldn’t be Qur’an.

The meaning is the soul, divine wording and prophetic words are not dead clothes worn to the meaning but living skins. Clothes can change but if the skin changes, it does harm to the body. Even, holy wordings in salah and adhan have become titles of their meanings. Title and banner cannot be changed.

Even the most ignorant Muslim can learn the meaning of “La ilaha illallah” which he recites everyday, “Adhan” recited five times a day, “Alhamdulillah” said for conveying the thanks to Allah and “surah al-Fatiha” recited in the prayers.

The person who says “SubhanAllah” understands –from whichever nationality he / she is – he / she is glorifying Allah the Most High. And this is enough. Words which are keys for the eternal life –these holy words- cannot be changed for the sake of those memorizing a hundred words every day for worldly purposes.

Wordings and the Letters of the Quran are the teachers of Muslims

As well-known we call it “connotation” if some thing reminds you another one.

The blessed words like, “Adhan, Alhamdulillah, Subhanallah, and La ilaha illallah, even the Islamic letters on the gravestones are like the teachers of the people of faith reminding them lots of spiritual meanings with their tongues of dispositions.

THE QURAN AND ISLAM BELONGS TO ALL NATIONS

It is inherent that an individual from one nationality loves his culture and his own nationality. But the collocutors of Quran is the whole humanity. No matter which nation they belong to, their true nationality is the nationality of Islam. No nation can appropriate the Quran for their own. They cannot turkicized or arabize it… Nevertheless, fatwas to strip the Qur’an off its original language doesn’t seem that innocent.

The people who reject reading the Qur’an in Arabic language are not from the mosques but the ones outside. Although it is very interesting the attempt of the outsiders to interfere in the inner rulings of the mosque, these kinds of thoughts also imply an attempt to distort the Quran. Preserved in Arabic for centuries the Quran was able to protect itself from distortion. Thus, this shows people having that kind of view carry the intention to distort the Quran.

Moreover those humane and extrinsic views coming out because of weakness of faith carry the meaning of an opposition to Muslim world’s worshipping together as a nation with one language; hence, it is to hinder the unity and solidarity of the Muslims.

THE QUR’AN EFFECTS HEART BY ITS WORDS AND MEANINGS

While showing the biggest truths that amazes the human mind, The Glorious Qur’an also gives great pleasure to the soul and nafs. When it is read by paying enough attention to the wording, the effect in the hearts is brilliant.

It was because of that anxiety that unbelievers say: Heed not this Qur’an, and drown the hearing of it; haply ye may conquer. (Surah Fussilat, 26)

The Arabs in the Jahiliyyah period who are good at rhetoric were closing

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their ears to the effective and literal wordings of Quran in fear of being attracted and effected by it.

Jubayr Ibn Mut’im -when he was not a believer- that when he heard the Prophet (pbuh) reciting surah Tur he said: “When I heard the Quran, my heart was going to fall into pieces.”(Ahmad b. Hanbal Musnad)

The Quran opens a window to each sphere of forty spheres and shows its succinctness. The common people, who listen to the Quran without understanding the meaning, listen it with great pleasure. Even for the touchy patients (who get easily broken), the sound of the Quran comes as sweet as the water Zam Zam.

The miraculous arrangement of the letters in sentences according to sound music of them generates the tunes which can attract the heart and the soul. That the letters are miraculously arranged within the sentences according to their musical sounds comprises tunes which affect the heart and the soul. None of the works of any Arab litterateur trying to cope with the Quran were good enough to compete with the musical mystery and secret of the Quran. (This is not even discussed in other languages.)

Even by reading a letter in a wrong way or changing, it is possible to detect the distortion in the miraculous tune addressing to the spirit.

All the feelings taking their pleasure without limiting the meanings inspiration to the mind… This qualification doesn’t exist in any book other than the Qur’an.

“Mighty and perfect versification of the Qur’anic letters and words has impressed people since it was revealed. Each individual –if not an opponent of the Qur’an- cannot help hearing the music belong to this language of its coherence, writing and the deep effect it does on the human soul.” Even non-believers had to confess the deep undeniable effects of the Qur’an on the human soul and mind.

QURAN ADDRESSES ALL ERAS AND SOCIETIES

The addressees of the Quran are the humans and Jinns. The addressing of the Quran is in a way that it satisfies all walks of life and level of understanding.

For example; if you wish to deliver a speech in front of mixed society consisting of different kinds of people –different age, job etc…- you would face a very hard situation. It is almost impossible for all the people to understand you from children to the elderly, from academicians to illiterates.

On the other hand, there is no such hardship for the words of Allah. In the Quran, Allah is addressing all times and places. Addressees are not 40 or 50 people, it is the past and the future times and generations. It is not hard to understand the differentiating of the addressees. As the time passes and places changes. They all change gradually.

With no hardship, the Quran is able to call upon all its messages to all walks of life, all times and all nations and all of them were able to conceive the message.

It is marvellous that the Quran is still alive and it gets the favourable receptions of the people, it makes people read it and be occupied with it. The fact that the Quran’s is in the Arabic language plays a big part in this marvellous event.

The Qur’an cannot be compared with other euphemisms. There is no other book that addresses to all walks of life.

EACH NATIONALITY CAN EASILY READ AND MEMORIZE QUR’AN

Even though the Qur’an is in Arabic, Non-Arab believers don’t have hardship in pronouncing the Qur’an.

Qadi Iyaz states as the following: “Allah (swt) states as the following in the Qur’an on the easiness and convenience of memorisation of the Qur’an: “And in truth We have made the Qur’an easy to remember. And in truth We have made the Qur’an easy to remember. And in truth We have made the Qur’an easy to remember. And in truth We have made the Qur’an easy to remember.” (Surah Qamar, 17, 22, 32, 40)

It is a miracle of the Qur’an that it is easily memorized even by the children though it conserves so many resembling ayahs causing people to confuse the ayahs along with their length.

WORSHIP LANGUAGE OF ISLAM IS ARABIC

Whenever a person recites one letter from the Book of Allah, one good deed is recorded for him. One good deed is equal to ten good deeds the like of it. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is a letter, but Alif is a letter Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter. (Tirmidhi)

Even in salah or in any another worship, (regardless Arabic is known or not), it is not permissible to read the Quran in any other language except for the language revealed.

Our Prophet (pbuh) says; “The Quran only brings deeds of worship on the condition that it is read from the Arabic letters directly.”

Quran; is the only Holy book whose recitation of the letters and wordings are regarded as worship. But other divine books are only read to learn the divine laws. The Qur’an brings thousands of deeds with each of its letters.

Bediuzzaman expressed that the Qur’an is the Qur’an only with its letters and wordings by saying: “It is of the divine acceptance that the Qur’an gives divine fruits from ten deeds for each letter to thousands of deeds for each on condition that the letters and words are of the Qur’an, even if it is read unwarily.”

Moreover, there is one more important issue I want to mention; Islam being a unity and solidarity religion requires Arabic as the language of worship in order to provide unity and solidarity. The very most obvious example of this is seen in sacred mosque (Masjid al-Haram).

Though there are many Muslims from each nationality speaking different languages without even understanding each other, they come together with one call in a language Allah has determined and pray their salah in harmony. One of the most important factors uniting Muslims is their worshipping in same language.

Therewithal; understanding the meaning of The Quran is precisely crucial for Muslims. The fundamental of the supplication is, though, not only understanding the meanings of the words of Quran mechanically, but to fathom the purpose of the Quran and go towards to his Creator with this consciousness.

REFERENCES

Al-Itqan fi Ulumi’l Qur’an, Imam Suyuti

Haq Word, Quran Word (Hak Dili Kur’an Dili – A Qur’anic Interpretation in Turkish)

Isharatu’l I’jaz (from the Risale-i Nur Collection)

Al-Maktubat – The Letters (from the Risale-i Nur Collection)

Al-Zarkani- Manahilu`l-Irfan fi Ulumi`l-Kur’an

Al-Jamiu li-ahkami’l- Kur’an

Faruki, Islam Cultural Atlas

Qisas al-Anbiya

Prof. Dr. Muhammed Hamidullah, Kur’ân-ı Kerim Tarihi, İslam Peygamberi (The History of Qur’an, Prophet of Islam, Turkish Translation)

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