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Translation: "Arabic is not the best language"  

Coffee + Hatred

A translated summary of the written article by Bilāl 'Abd al-Hādī titled: Arabic is not the best language.

Ibn Hazm al-Andalus, the great Dhāhirī Faqīh, was known for his bold opinions ... One of these opinions is a rare linguistic opinion which he presented in detail in his Al-Ikhām fī Usūl al-Ahkām - which is considered one the most important pieces he wrote in Usūl ul-Fiqh.

The issue he addresses is contradictory to the position of many of the men of the Arabic language who loved it to the point of going so far as to consider it the first, the most complete, the purest, the most amazing, the clearest, and of course, the best.

Ibn Hazm strongly denies this, and does not see any difference between Arabic and other languages.  In any case, many peoples considered their language to be the purest language, the original language, the language of Ādam and Hawwā'.

The French researcher, Maurice Olender, has an interesting book entitled: “Languages ​​of Paradise” (Les langues du Paradis), and the plural form in the title refers to the plurality of peoples whose language was attributed to Paradise.

The Andalusian Faqīh, Ibn Hazm, considered that the arguments presented by those who prefer Arabic over other languages ​​are weak and have no solid basis from the Authentic Narrations or the Qur'ān. Ibn Hazm does not believe that Arabic is the best language. Rather, it is neither superior or inferior, from any of the ancient or present languages ​​of his time.  In detailing his opinion, he relies on a number of Verses of the Qur'ān, and he states this opinion because considering Arabic the best language is a kind of intellectual heresy that may lead, from his point of view, to unpleasant consequences. Ibn Hazm believes that every language is one of the signs of the Lord of the worlds, and this is evident in the Almighty saying, paraphrased: “And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.” (Sūrah ar-Rūm: 22)

Each language is, according to the saying of the Lord of the Worlds in the Qur’ān, from the signs. Hence, the issue of Arabic is the same as that of any other language. The preference for one language over another is like preference for one gender over another, or one color over another... This is a great injustice to geographical wisdom...

The revelation of the Qur’ān in the Arabic language does not make it, according to Ibn Hazm, a better language than others, and he used the Texts from the Qur'ān to prove his point. Allāh did not reveal a single Book, nor did he use a single language in his divine Books, for every messenger carries a book with him in the language of his people, and “We have not sent a messenger except in the language of his people to clarify to them.” (Sūrah Ibrāhīm: 4)

...And the number of languages ​​that carried Divine Messages only Allāh knows, because only Allāh does knows the number of messengers He has sent, and this is what is confirmed by the following Verse: “And We have already sent messengers before you. Among them are those (whose stories) We have related to you, and among them are those (whose stories) We have not related to you.” (Sūrah Ghāfir: 78)

The Text here is clear and explicit that Allāh revealed the stories of some Prophets, while the lives and Messages of other Prophets were kept hidden due to an implicit wisdom that only Allāh ta'ālā knows.  And the number of Allāh Messages is the number of nations, as stated in the noble verse: “And there was no nation but that there had passed within it a warner.” (Fātir: 24)

And here Ibn Hazm comes to the idea of ​​the linguistic miracle of all the Divine Messages, and says that all the Divine Texts are miraculous, because all the Words of Allāh are miraculous regardless of which tongue it was revealed in, since no reasonable believer can imagine that the Words of Allāh in the Qur’ān are miraculous while His Words in His other Books are not worthy ... and Allāh forbid, the Creator's ability to express miraculous expression in languages ​​other than Arabic. 

Ibn Hazm says: “And some people said: Arabic is the best language because it contains the words of Allāh ta'ālā.”

Ibn Hazm comments, “This does not make any sense.”


Posted : 16/10/2020 8:40 pm