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Mar 28th, 2001 #1
Another brief short.
fi amanallah, assalam alaikum, f
History of the Arab Language (1894)
What we now call the Arabic language was at first confined to the
northern half of the Arabian peninsula; in the southern half the
people spoke other dialects (Minaean, Sabaean and Minyartic) which,
though akin to Arabic, differed from it in several respects.
The Arabic language is one of the finest languages of our globe, and
this is in two respects; - first as regards the richness of its
vocabulary; and the second as regards the fullness of its literature.
As to the vocabulary, any dictionary will show the wealth of the
Arabic tongue in root-words; and any grammar will set forth the
almost endless derivative words that can be built, both from the noun
and in the verb, from the simple root word. The lexicographer, the
late Butros Bustani, used to say: from 7,000 to 13,000 roots, and
from 80,000 to 120,000 derivatives.
As to the literature, the number and importance of the works still
extant in the Arabic language, on almost every branch of human
knowledge, as well as the collection of poems and `belles letters',
are so great that one is bewildered by a mere reference to the lists
(or fihrists) of the authors and the titles of the books.
The Arabic is a semitic tongue. To this great family of languages
1. The southern group: North Arabic (or Adanite); South Arabic
(or Sabaean or Himyaritic) and Ethiopic (or Geer)
2. The northern group: Canaanaean (Hebrew and Phoenician);
Asyrian and Babylonian; and Aramean, comprising Syriac, and many
The Arabic, until about the year 650 after Jesus (pbuh), was the
speech of the Adnanite tribes. But about 30 years after the flight,
it spread, by and through the conquests of the Muslims, over nearly
all of the countries that were taken by the Arabs.
The Qahtanite form of Arabic, called Himyaritic, has almost
disappeared; and if still spoken, is to be found only among the
people of Mahrah, between Hadramaut and Uman. Inscriptions in the
Himyaritic character are found on stones and columns in the ruins
throughout Hadramaut and Yemen. This character the Arabs call al-
khatt-al-musnad. Perhaps it is the language of the lost Arab tribes.
The Quraysh dialect of the Northern Adnanite Arabic Language has,
since the Muslim conquests, prevailed over all other forms of Arabic
It is not known exactly at what time writing was first used by the
Adnanites. So much is, however, certain, namely that shortly before
Islam, the Adnanites used the characters which had been for some time
prevalent at Hira among the Arab kings of Iraq.
The Arabian historians say that the one who first `invented' Arabic
writing was Muramir, son of Murrah the Anbarite (al Anbar, an ancient
town on the Euphrates, ten parassangs north-west of Baghdad); and
that he had taken it or modified it from Himyarite Musnad character
then in use among the Lakhmites, who were of the southern Qahtanite
stock. From Anbar it spread to Hira.
The Arab historians further say that Harb, son of Umayyah, son of Abd
Shams, son of Abd Manaf of the Quraysh had gone to Hira, whence he
returned to the Hijaz and to Mecca, bringing with him the writing
that he had learned.
Others say that the first who wrote Arabic were the Yeminite tribe of
Hud, and that the characters they used were Himyarite Musnad, in
which each letter stood alone and unjoined, and they did not teach it
to the masses, but confined it to the privelaged few; but that at
last Muramir, son of Murrah and two others of the tribe of Tayy,
learned it; and after modifying it more or less, called it `al jazm',
because it was `juzima' or abbreviated, from the Himyarite Musnad
character; that these three men then taught it to the people of
Anbar, whence it spread throughout Arabia.
After the Muslims conquests and the founding of Busrah and Kufa, this
writing was called the Kufic. It was devoid of vowels and dots. These
vowels and dots, or diacritical points as they are called in grammar,
were first introduced (perhaps in imitation of the Hebrew and Syriac
diacritical points) into Arabic writing by al-Aswad-al-Dur-ali during
the time of Muawiyah. It is said that the use of dots and double dots
was introduced in the days of Abdul-Malik son or Marawan by Nasr son
of Asim, to avoid ambiguity.
The Musnad is a very ancient writing whose origin is unknown; it may
possibly have been derived from the Phoenician, or from some Indian
History of the Arabs and their Literature before and after the rise
Edward A van Dyck
When was i for real?
I am myself a dream
I always see you
watching me tenderly
Mar 28th, 2001 #2----
Ya Sanam. Masha-alla wa la hada tareekh-al-arabi fil noor ana qalb! Jazak-alla.
Fil Gaupshup wla imkin bil maroof-e munkareen wa munafikeen (hada Roman wa Channmahi).
Shukran ya Habibi.
Mar 28th, 2001 #3Originally posted by NYAhmadi:
fil noor ana qalb!
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