The Holy Qur'an

ESSENCE OF ISLAM – Part 21 – Arabic, the Mother of all Tongues

5The Review of Religions – July 2007 It is not true to say that language is the invention of man. Research has established that the inventor and the creator of human languages is God Almighty, Who created man out of His perfect power and bestowed upon him a tongue that he may be able to speak. Had language been the invention of man, it would not have been necessary to teach a baby to talk. It would have invented its own speech, as it grew mature. But it is patent that if a child is not taught speech, it will not be able to speak. Whether it is nurtured in a Greek forest or in the British Isles or at the equator, he has to be instructed in the art of speaking, and in the absence of such instruction he would not be able to speak. The notion that languages undergo changes under human influence is an illusion. These changes do not result from conscious human effort, nor can we determine any rule or principle whereby the human mind brings about changes in languages at certain times. Deep reflection would reveal that linguistic changes also take place under the direction of the Causa This series sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET(sa) and THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad Sahib, Allah have mercy on him and reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English rendering is by the late Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, may Allah be pleased with him, and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 1. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an. ESSENCE OF ISLAM: Part 21 – Arabic, the Mother of Tongues 6 The Review of Religions – July 2007 Causans like all other heavenly and earthly changes. It cannot be established that at any particular time the whole of mankind collectively, or its different sections separately, had invented the different tongues that are spoken in the world. It may be asked why should it not be supposed that, as God Almighty constantly brings about changes in languages, in the beginning languages might have been originated in the same way without the need of revelation? The answer is that in the beginning God had created everything simply through His power. Reflection on heaven, earth, sun, moon and on human nature itself would disclose that the beginning and origin of everything was through the pure operation of Divine power, in which no physical means were involved. Whatever God created was a manifestation of His supreme power, which is beyond the concept of man …. The circumstances of today cannot serve as a precedent for the beginning and origin of creation. For instance, today no child is born without the agency of parents, but if in the beginning the same condition had been essential, man could not have come into being. Moreover, there is a world of difference between ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. The founder’s claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. 7The Review of Religions – July 2007 changes that naturally occur from time to time in languages and the birth of speech itself in the original void. The two concepts are entirely different. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.1, pp.358-404) Are Languages the Invention of Man? Some ignorant Aryas, holding Sanskrit as the language of Parameshwar, consider all other languages, which comprise of hundreds of Divine wonders and curiosities, as the invention of man; as if while Parameshwar revealed one language, men invented scores of languages better than that one. We would inquire from the Aryas that if it is true that Sanskrit was issued from the mouth of Parameshwar, and all other languages are the inventions of men and have no relationship with Parameshwar, what are the particular charac- teristics of Sanskrit which are not to be found in other languages; for the speech of Parameshwar must have superiority over the inventions of men. He is called God because He is Matchless and Supreme in His Being, attributes and works. If we are to suppose that Sanskrit is the language of Parameshwar, which was revealed to the ancestors of the Hindus, and that other languages were invented by the ancestors of other people who were cleverer and wiser than the ancestors of the Hindus, then could we also suppose that those other people were somewhat superior to Parameshwar of the Hindus in that they, through their perfect power, invented hundreds of languages and Parameshwar could invent no more than one? Those whose very natures are permeated with polytheism consider Parameshwar to be an equal entity with themselves in many respects, perhaps because they esteem themselves as uncreated and, therefore, partners in the Godhead. The objection as to why God did not content Himself with the creation of just one language, results from lack of reflection. If a wise person were to observe the diversity of modes and temperaments of people of different countries, he would be convinced that one ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES 8 The Review of Religions – July 2007 language would not have suited all of them. The people of some countries can easily pronounce certain letters and words, but for the people of some other countries the pronouncing of those letters and words would be a great hardship. How was it then possible that the All-Wise One, loving only one language, should have ignored the principle of: Putting a thing in its proper place and should have abandoned that which would have been appropriate for the diversity of temperaments. Would it have been proper that He should have confined people of different temperaments in the narrow cage of one language? Moreover, the creation of a diversity of languages would have been proof of the multiple power of God Almighty. The praise of God offered by His humble creatures in a variety of languages is in itself a most attractive spectacle. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.1, pp.447-456) Announcement for the Book Minan-ur-Rahman This book is a wonderful production to which we have been directed by some of the verses of the Holy Qur’an which are replete with wisdom. Among its other bounties the Holy Qur’an includes one whereby the true philosophy of the diversity of languages has been set forth, and we have been apprised of the deep wisdom underlying the source of all languages. We also learn therefrom how greatly those people are mistaken who do not admit that all languages have developed under Divine direction. In this book it has been established as the result of research that the Holy Qur’an is the only revealed book which has come down in the language which is the mother of tongues, which has been revealed by God, and is the source and fountain- head of all other languages. It is patent that the whole beauty and superiority of a Divine book consists in its being in a language that has proceeded from the mouth of God Almighty and possesses higher qualities than ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES 9The Review of Religions – July 2007 other languages, and is perfect in its pattern. When we find such qualities in a language that are superhuman and beyond human skill, and of which all other languages are bereft, and we discover in it such properties as cannot be invented by any human intellect and proceed only from God’s true and eternal knowledge, we are compelled to confess that such a language has proceeded from God Almighty. Our perfect and deep research has revealed that Arabic is that language. Many people have spent their lives in such research and have made great efforts to discover which language is the mother of tongues, but as their efforts were not rightly directed, nor were they bestowed the relevant capacity by God Almighty, they could not achieve success. An additional reason was that they were prejudiced against Arabic and did not pay due attention to it. Thus, they failed to discover the truth. Now we have been guided by the Holy Word of God Almighty, the Holy Qur’an, to the truth that the mother of tongues, to which the Parsees, the Hebrews and the Aryas have laid separate claims, is Arabic, and that all other claimants are in error … Why Arabic is Superior to Other Languages? In contrast with Arabic words, the words of other languages appear lame, maimed, blind, deaf and leprous, and entirely bereft of a natural pattern. The vocabulary of those languages is not rich in roots, which is a necessary characteristic of a perfect language …. If any Arya or other challenger of ours is not convinced by our research, we wish to inform him by means of this announcement that we have set out in this book, in detail, the reasons in support of the superiority, perfection and excellence of Arabic which fall under the following headings: (1) The perfect pattern of the roots of Arabic words. (2) Arabic possesses an extraordinarily high degree of intellectual connotations. ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES 10 The Review of Religions – July 2007 (3) The system of elementary words in Arabic is most complete and perfect. (4) In Arabic idiom, a few words convey extensive meanings. (5) Arabic has the full capacity for the exposition of all human feelings and thoughts. Now everyone is at liberty after the publication of our book to try, if possible, to prove these qualities in Sanskrit or any other language. (Dia-ul-Haq, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 9, pp. 250,320-321) Characteristics of the Holy Qur’an The Holy Qur’an is such a brilliant ruby and a glorious sun that the rays of its truth and the flashes that indicate its Divine origin are being manifested not only in one aspect, but in thousands of them. The more the opponents of Islam strive to put out this Divine light, the stronger becomes its manifestation, and the more it attracts the hearts of those who possess insight, with its beauty and loveliness. Even in this dark age, when the Christian missionaries and the Aryas have spared no effort to denigrate it and to bring it into contempt, and have on account of their sightlessness attacked this light in every form that could be employed by the bigoted and the ignorant, this eternal light has furnished every type of proof of its being from God. One of its grand characteristics is that it sets forth its claims with respect to its guidance and its excellent qualities and itself furnishes the proof of those claims. This grand characteristic is not possessed by any other book. Out of the reasons and proofs that it has set forth in support of its Divine origin and its high-grade superiority, one great proof is that for detailed exposition of which we have compiled this book. It is a product of the holy spring of the mother of tongues, whose water shines like the stars, slakes the thirst of those who are thirsty for compre- hension, and washes out the dirt of doubt and suspicion. No previous book has set forth this ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES 11The Review of Religions – July 2007 proof in support of its truth. If the Vedas or any other book has set forth such proof, then the followers of such a book should present the claim for such proof in the words of that book. The purport of this proof is that a comparative examination of different languages discloses that all languages are related to each other. Further and deeper study establishes that the mother of all these related languages is Arabic, from which all these languages have emerged. A complete and comprehensive research then discloses that its extraordinary qualities compel the acknow- ledgement that Arabic is not only the mother of tongues but is a revealed language which the first man was taught by the special design of God Almighty, and that it was not invented by any man. This leads to the conclusion that Arabic alone is suited for the complete and perfect Divine revelation, inasmuch as it is necessary that the Divine Book that has been revealed for the guidance of the whole of mankind should be expressed in a revealed language which should be the mother of tongues so that it should have a natural relationship with every language and the speakers of every language, and that being revealed it should possess the blessings with which everything that proceeds from the blessed hands of God Almighty is invested. But as the other languages were also not deliberately framed by men and have all emerged under Divine direction from this holy language, and have been corrupted but are all the progeny of this language, it was not inappropriate that for particular people guidance should have been revealed in those languages. Yet it was necessary that the highest and most perfect Book should be revealed in Arabic because Arabic is the mother of tongues and is the true revealed language, having issued from the mouth of God Almighty. As this proof is presented only by the Holy Qur’an and it alone claims to be from God, and no other Arabic book makes this ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES 12 The Review of Religions – July 2007 claim, we are compelled to acknowledge the Qur’an as manifestly proceeding from God and its being a Guardian over other books. Therefore, I have compiled this book so that with God’s help I may establish the mutual relationship of all languages, and may thereafter set forth the proofs of Arabic being the mother of tongues and the true revealed language; and then, on the basis of the speciality that it alone is the perfect, pure and revealed language, should expound the certain and conclusive proof that out of all revealed books the Holy Qur’an alone is the highest, most exalted, most complete, most perfect and Khatam-ul-Kutub, and that it alone is the Mother of Books as Arabic is the mother of tongues. In this research project we would have to pass through three stages: First stage: Proof that all languages are interrelated. Second stage: Proof that Arabic is the mother of tongues. Third stage: Proof that on account of its extraordinary qualities Arabic is a revealed language …. The interrelation of languages has been established so clearly in this book that no further research in this respect can be imagined…. The second issue is that out of interrelated languages, Arabic alone is the mother of tongues, the proof of which has been set out in detail, and we have established that one of the special ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES ONE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ARABIC IS THAT ALL THE MISCE- LLANEOUS QUALITIES OF OTHER LANGUAGES ARE COMPRISED IN ARABIC …. THUS AS CAREFUL STUDY AND DEEP RESEARCH REVEAL THAT ARABIC IS COMPREHENSIVE OF ALL THE MISCELLANEOUS QUALITIES OF OTHER LANGUAGES, IT HAS TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT ALL OTHER LANGUAGES ARE BRANCHES OF ARABIC. 13The Review of Religions – July 2007 qualities of Arabic is that it possesses a natural pattern and displays the beauty of Divine manufacture in the same way as the other works of God Almighty. We have also established that all other languages present a dis- torted picture of the Arabic language. To the degree to which this blessed language has been preserved in those languages in its true form, to that degree they shine like a ruby and attract the hearts with their charming beauty. But to the degree to which a language has been corrupted, to that degree its beauty and attractions have been reduced. It is obvious that a thing that proceeds from the hand of God continues to display extra- ordinary characteristics so long as it retains its original form, and man is not able to produce its match. But as soon as it falls away from its original condition, its shape and beauty are debased…. The Arabic language operates like the wise person of refined taste who can express his meaning in diverse ways. For instance, a clever and intelligent person can sometimes accom- plish with the movement of a brow, nose or hand that which normally requires expression in words; that is to say, he can convey his meaning through delicate nuances. This is a method also employed by Arabic. Sometimes by the use of ‘Al-’ the definite article it conveys a meaning that would need several words in other languages. Similarly vowel points often serve a purpose which would require long phrases in other languages. Some brief words have surprisingly rich conno-tations; for instance, ‘aradtu means ‘I have visited Makkah and Madinah and their environs’, and tahfaltu means ‘I am accustomed to eating bread made of Cheenay (a kind of cereal half way between millet and barley [Publisher]) and have decided not to eat any other kind’ …. One of the characteristics of Arabic is that all the mis- celaneous qualities of other languages are comprised in ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES Arabic …. Thus as careful study and deep research reveal that Arabic is comprehensive of all the miscellaneous qualities of other languages, it has to be acknow- ledged that all other languages are branches of Arabic. Some people raise the objection that if one language is acknowledged as the root of all languages, it becomes difficult to accept that within three or four thousand years languages, which had emerged from one root, became so diverse. This objection is an instance of a fallacy upon a fallacy. In the first place, it is not definitely established that the world is only four or five thousand years old and that heaven and earth had no existence before. On the contrary, there are clear indications that the earth has been peopled since a very long time. Besides, distance in time or place is not the only cause of diversity in language. A powerful cause of this diversity is that every region of the earth affects the throats, tones and pronun- ciation of its inhabitants in a particular way in consequence of its latitudinal situation, or its juxtaposition vis-a-vis other planets, or on account of some other unknown causes, and these factors produce a particular form of speech. That is why the peoples of certain countries are not able to pronounce Z or R properly. As complexions, spans of life, manners, morals and consti- tutions differ from country to country, likewise speech also differs, for the same causes affect speech also; and the degree of difference is determined by the degree of the causes. This difference is not arbitrary but is determined by physical laws. Thus a change, which occurs in the shape, or manners, or morals, or thinking of people under the influence of earthly or heavenly causes, also affects their speech. If a foreign word or phrase finds its 14 ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES The Review of Religions – July 2007 THE JEWS AND THE CHRISTIANS ARE COMPELLED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ARABIC IS THE MOTHER OF TONGUES AS THE TORAH CLEARLY AFFIRMS THAT THERE WAS ONLY ONE LANGUAGE IN THE BEGINNING. way into their language, they change it about. This is clear proof that speech is affected by earthly and heavenly causes. The Jews and the Christians are compelled to acknowledge that Arabic is the mother of tongues as the Torah clearly affirms that there was only one language in the beginning. Some people raise the objection that the relationship of some languages with Arabic, for instance that of Hebrew, is much closer than that of other languages like Sanskrit or European languages. The answer is that despite this difference it has been ascertained that the elementary words and phrases of these languages have been derived from Arabic and have been further developed through natural changes. Special Characteristics of Arabic There are five special charac- teristics of Arabic, which prove conclusively that Arabic is a revealed language, which we shall expound in detail in their proper places. These are: First Characteristic: Arabic has a perfect pattern of roots, which is suited to human needs. Other languages lack this pattern. Second Characteristic: The names of God, and of heavenly bodies, vegetables, animals, solids, and human limbs in Arabic comprise great wisdom. Other languages cannot compete with Arabic in this respect. Third Characteristic: The Arabic system of elementary words is perfect, and comprises all nouns and verbs of the same roots, and illustrates their mutual relationship by arranging them in a wise pattern. This characteristic is not found in other languages in the same perfect degree. Fourth Characteristic: In Arabic idiom a few words comprise extensive meanings. Arabic conveys extensive conno- tations through the use of the definite article and vowel points 15 ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES The Review of Religions – July 2007 and sequence, for which purpose other languages have to employ several phrases and sentences. Fifth Characteristic: Arabic possesses such roots and idioms as furnish a perfect means for the expression of the most subtle of human thoughts and reflections. As we have undertaken to prove and illustrate all these special characteristics of Arabic, it is necessary that we should do so in Arabic, thereby furnishing illustrations of all of them in that language, so that we might require anyone, who may claim another language to be revealed and the mother of tongues, to illustrate these characteristics in the same way …. If we should be proved false in our claim that Arabic possesses those five characteristics to a special degree, and any scholar of Sanskrit or any other language should succeed in proving that their language partakes of these characteristics to the same or even to a greater degree than Arabic, then we make a firm and definite promise that we shall immediately pay him five thousand rupees. What we demand from the advocates of other languages is that they should prove that their respective languages possess the qualities that we have established in the case of Arabic. For instance, it is indispensable that a language, which is described as revealed and the mother of tongues should comprise a full stock of roots, for the purpose of transmuting human thinking into words in such a manner that when 16 ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES The Review of Religions – July 2007 AS WE HAVE UNDERTAKEN TO PROVE AND ILLUSTRATE ALL THESE SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF ARABIC, IT IS NECESSARY THAT WE SHOULD DO SO IN ARABIC, THEREBY FURNISHING ILLUSTRATIONS OF ALL OF THEM IN THAT LANGUAGE, SO THAT WE MIGHT REQUIRE ANYONE, WHO MAY CLAIM ANOTHER LANGUAGE TO BE REVEALED AND THE MOTHER OF TONGUES, TO ILLUSTRATE THESE CHARACTERISTICS IN THE SAME WAY. a person should desire to make a detailed exposition of a subject, for instance, of the Unity of God, or polytheism, or the obligations due to God, or the rights of man, or religious doctrines and the reasoning supporting them, or love and human intercourse, or rancour and hatred, or the praise and glory of God and His holy names, or the refutation of false religions, or stories and biogra- phies, or commandments and penalties, or the hereafter, or commerce and agriculture and employment, or astrology or astronomy, or physics, medicine, or logic, etc., the roots of the language should be capable of helping him in such a way that there should be available a root against every idea that may arise in his mind. This is necessary so that it may be established that the Perfect Being Who created man and his ideas also created from the very beginning roots for the expression of those ideas. Our sense of justice would compel us to acknowledge that if this characteristic is found in a language – that it comprises in itself a beautiful pattern of roots corresponding to the natural structure of human ideas, and is capable of illustrating in words every subtle distinction between acts, and its roots are adequate to fill all the needs of ideas – then that language is, without a doubt, a revealed language, inasmuch as it can only be the act of God Almighty that, having invested man with the capacity of expressing a complex diversity of ideas, he should have been supplied with a stock of verbal roots corresponding to his ideas, so that the word and the work of God Almighty should corres- pond to each other at the same level. However, to possess the quality of utilising roots in particular formations in the expression of ideas is not the speciality of any particular language. Many languages suffer from the defect that they are compelled to employ compounds in place of elementary words, which shows that those compounds were formed at the time of need by those who used those languages for the con- 17 ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES The Review of Religions – July 2007 veyance of their ideas. Therefore, the language that is secure against such deficiencies, possesses the capacity of filling its needs with its roots and elementary words, and is capable of matching its words to the works of God Almighty – that is to say, to the upsurge of ideas at their proper level would doubt- less deserve to be called a revealed language in accord with Divine nature, on account of its extraordinarily high level and its possession of a speciality which is not shared by other languages. Honesty would require the affirmation that the language that is characterised by the high rank that it had issued from the mouth of God Almighty, possesses extraordinary qualities, and is the mother of tongues, is the only language which truly deserved that the highest and the most perfect revelation should be clothed in it. Other revelations are only branches of this revelation as other languages are branches of this language. Therefore, we shall at a later stage expound that the Holy Qur’an alone comprises the true, complete and perfect revelation that was to be sent to the world. We shall also develop the thesis that, by acknowledging Arabic as a revealed language and the mother of tongues, not only must we acknowledge that the Holy Qur’an is the Word of God, but we have also to acknowledge that it is the Qur’an alone which is the complete, perfect and true revelation which should be designated Khatam-ul-Kutub. We will now proceed with the Arabic part of this book to demonstrate the system of roots and other qualities. There is no strength or power except through Allah, the Exalted, the Almighty. [Minan-ur-Rahman, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 9, pp.128-142] 18 ESSENCE OF ISLAM – ARABIC, THE MOTHER OF ALL TONGUES The Review of Religions – July 2007

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