Have They No Understanding Of Arabic Grammar?

Based on an Arabic post referred to from here.

Bismillah…

The Christian missionaries have often raised the issue of alleged grammatical errors in the Qur’an. Such allegations are perfectly suitable for the Christians due to their incoherent misguidance and lack of sound beliefs; because their faith is founded in opposition to logical reasoning and common sense, it is certainly not strange at all to hear such allegations from them. What saddens us is that some Muslims attempted to answer these claims by trying to look into Arabic grammar concerning aspects or rules which justify an accusative word that the Christian “thinks” is a better nominative, or a plural word the Christian “believes” is a better singular!

All this is nonsense, for we are sure that the Christian missionaries has no idea about the grammar structure or even the Arabic language, but they win the argument because they drive the Muslim to defend the Qur’an, instead of using it as a fatal weapon against false religions and beliefs. Instead of this passive strategy, the Muslim should expose the fact that Christian polemicists have no understanding of the issue they raise, and that their embarrassing allegations against the Qur’an prove their deep ignorance. The Muslim should prove this to shut their mouths instead of turning to textbooks of grammar and Arabic language.

How is that so?

The Holy Qur’an tells us:

“Ye People of the Book why dispute ye about Ibrahim, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have you no understanding?”1

Ibn Kathir says in his tafsir:

Ibn ‘Abbas -radiya Allah ‘anhu- said: Christians of Najran and Jewish rabbis gathered at Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and disputed; the Jews said: Ibrahim was none but a Jew! Christians said: Ibrahim was none but a Christian! Then Allah has revealed: { Ye People of the Book why dispute ye about Ibrahim } meaning how come you — Jews — claim he was a Jew while his time was before revelation of the Torah to Moses, and how come you — Christians — claim he was a Christian while Christianity developed much time after him? That’s why Allah said: { Have you no understanding? }

Please put into consideration the ending of the holy verse with the words: { have you no understanding? } for the Jews and Christians by their claims on Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) have made an embarrassing historical error which even a child can notice; that it is a very apparent historical fallacy as finding a Pepsi bottle in the palace of the Pharaoh! These are people with no understanding, is it logical to attribute someone with a religion that would appear centuries later?

However, it seems that Christian idiocy is periodic for it appears again with their alleged grammatical errors of the Qur’an.

Ye People of the Book why dispute ye about the Qur’an, when the laws of grammar were not put till after It? have you no understanding?

They certainly have no inkling about the development of a language, whether it is Arabic or otherwise; grammar was not the machine that produced the Arabic language, rather it is simply a logical explanation to ways of Arabic speech. Due to their inherent stupidity, the Christians do not recognize the correct historicity of its chronological order: Arabs speak the language first, then explanatory rules are formulated later (after the advent of Islam). Consequently, grammar should agree with Arabic speech, not vice versa. However, those who have no understanding believe that grammar came first to existence, then Arabs spoke according to it. Remember the verse: { have you no understanding? }

If you ask any of them about the origin of rules formulated by Arab grammarians during era of documentation, they will answer that they originated from Arabic speech. So, is it sane to derive a certain rule from some speech and then criticize the same speech by this rule? This would be plain insanity, remember these words again: { have you no understanding? }

The language of the Holy Qur’an represents the purest Arabic speech for it was uttered by an Arab in a pure Arabic society and challenged by the most eloquent Arabs who mentioned none of its alleged errors. It is well known that the Arabs during lifetime of the Prophet (P) reached the summit of eloquence and artistry of speech; and it is known as well that those Arabs were the most aggressive and motivated opponents to the message of Islam.

So here, they had two important criteria: (a) they were capable of refuting the language of the Qur’an and exposing its errors, and (b) were much motivated to do so. In other words, they combined the ability and the motive to discover any linguistic errors in the Qur’an. However, they did not which means that there were no errors to discover or to expose.

On the other hand, the Prophet (P) kept challenging them with the Qur’an time after time again, abusing their gods and beliefs, attacking their polytheistic traditions, conquering their lands and killing their fathers, brothers and sons in battlefields, and they were able to combat all this by pointing one linguistic error such as “plural instead of singular” or “accusative instead of nominative”, but they did not!

Do you know why?

Because they were eloquent Arabs living in pure Arabic society, they knew that polemical arguments like these would bring them nothing but mockery.

So, what about the list of these alleged errors?

We answer with the fact that Arabs altogether had accepted the Holy Qur’an as most eloquent speech that no human being can match or even object to. Then we ask the Christian polemicists: Are you more knowledgeable about Arabic language and its usage than the ancient Arabs of the Prophet’s lifetime?

of course, not!

Those Arabs knew their language by nature, so they conceived it all. This is in contrast to the modern-day Arabs — let alone non-Arabs — who acquire it by studying and learning. In spite of this, they fail to conceive the entire Arabic language, especially rules and uses which eventually died in time and is no longer used in everyday speech or writing.

So when Arab Christians start to compare the grammar of the Holy Qur’an with the high-school curricular of Arabic grammar, they surely fall into serious fallacies; one of them being their ignorance of the normal historical sequence in the development of any language. Remember: { have you no understanding? }

The second fallacy is their miserable selection of some rules of Arabic grammar, considering them as absolute and rejecting the fact that the Arabic language is very vast and that it involves so many rules that are not included in the high school curriculum of Arabic grammar.

They indeed have no understanding!

Footnotes

  1. Surah Al-‘Imran: 65 []

3 Comments

  1. Shukran for this very interesting article.
    I am just now learning Arabic and am very impressed by it’s beauty and mathematical elegance.

    The things you write of interest me. I have seen a lot of human discussions that focus so much on rhetoric rather than the sincere meaning of the communication. I think this a problem with all human communications: intent. Language too often is used as a weapon instead of a tool for communication of concepts. It’s very hard for people to understand one another sometimes.

    Thank you for your interesting view of this issue.

    If you know of any good references for a beginning Arabic student I would be very grateful.
    ma’salema,
    Tamara

  2. Absolutely correct Arsalan but I don’t think the author was referring to the Prophet directly killing anyone, rather the Muslims in general combating their enemies.

  3. The Prophet sallahu alahi wasalamdid not kill anyone on the battlefield with his Sword or
    Arrow .. as far as i know.

    Inaccruate?

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