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Home News Origins of the Language of Jannah

Origins of the Language of Jannah

Mohammad Ahmed Shiwani  .  Monday April 16, 2018
 . Knowledge

There is a reason Arabic has been selected as the language of Jannah and the language used to convey Allah (SWT)’s Divine word. It has a distinct romanticism to it that has remained unparalleled, establishing the language as undeniably superior. While its beauty is embodied in the way the language has been used in the Holy Quran, Muslims are often unaware of the brilliant history that underpins the spread of the language.

Arabic belongs to the family of Semitic languages, which is one of the branches of the Afroasiatic languages, that is, the languages spoken across the African and Asian continent. The language was initially spoken only by nomadic tribes in the northwestern frontier of the Arabian Peninsula; nomads translate into the word Arab, hence the name. Originally spoken only in the Arabian Peninsula, the Arab conquests of 7th Century C.E. spread the language across Northern Africa, the Middle East, all the way to modern-day China. Comprising of more than 400 million speakers across the world, it is no coincidence that the Quran was released in the society most adept in the art of reading and writing Arabic.

The Quran has also been a catalyst for the development and consolidation of the Arabic language; while it was initially a strong poetic tradition that defined the contours of the language, the Quran prompted a written tradition, creating a dialect and syntax that serves as the basis for Arabic to this day.

By the beginning of the 8th Century, the Islamic Empire had spread all the way from Persia to Spain and Arabic was the centerpiece of all its discourse. The language had a particular penetration in areas of the Middle East including present-day Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon. These penetrations extended in their breadth and depth under the Umayyad and Abbasid empires, with Damascus and Baghdad representing the international hub for intellectual and philosophical developments. This time period was perhaps the language’s rise to fame across the world, since individuals from around the world dreamt of coming to Baghdad and learning of the Arab-lead philosophy, mathematics, physics, geography, and science that emanated from the city.

While the Quran did provide the basis for Arabic, the intellectual awakening of the Arab world post-nineteenth century partly modernized and reformed the language. The vocabulary incorporated influences from Persian and Hebrew, and the complex grammatical syntax was simplified so its use could become more accessible. This led to the Arabic language that we know of today and is also the cause for why regular Arabic seems disjointed from the Arabic in the Quran.

All in all, there is quite an interesting backdrop to Arabic. We often do not think about how these languages have originated, but closer inspection usually reveals riveting stories of how these languages evolved into what we know them as today. Arabic in itself is particularly unique, given that it is perhaps the only language that finds its structural origins in a Holy Book. Those that specialize in the language boast of how the language is one of the most dialectically complex languages, arguing that this translates into a mode of grammatical expression that is unparalleled.

Of course, one would say. A language that has the privileged position of being Allah (SWT)’s mode of communication with His people can be nothing less than unarguably superior.

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