Arabic Language Series – Student Notes
Instructor: Abu Abdillah Fahad Al-Tahiri (UAE)
TEACHERS INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME MESSAGE
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
It is considered self evident and doesn’t need much thought to understand that the most desired way to any destination is the fastest and safest, but the question is: What would be the safest and fastest way to the right understanding of this religion which will reflect upon the validity of our deeds which are the means to Paradise? There is a general answer to this and a detailed one:
The general one is seeking knowledge like the Prophet – صلى الله عليه و سلم – said:
” مَه سَلَكَ طَرِيقاً يَلتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلماً؛ سَهَّلَ اللهُ لَهُ بِهِ طَرِيقاً إِلَى الجَنَّةِ”
Which means: “Whoever has taken a way to seek knowledge, Allah shall make easy for him through it a Way to Paradise”, [Muslim: 2699]
But what we have to get your attention to here is the detailed answer in which the right way of seeking is clarified. That answer only the scholars can give, that is because they have the experience, they have talked the talk and walked the walk and reached their destinations ever so easily and quickly. So for us to reach it like they have, we need to walk their way, which is the only way.
And let it be known that we are not talking here about what everyone should know of this knowledge at first, which is that amount of knowledge obligatory on each and every individual – (i.e. Tawheed, Creed and mandatory jurisprudence), rather we are talking about the next step over that first step in Islaam, which is your way to be free of the chain of imitation, and to master understanding the Qur’aan and Sunnah and derive the rulings in a correct manner the way your guided ancestors did of the first three blessed generations of Islaam.
Allaah – the All Exalted – has chosen the Qur’aan to be revealed in the same language of our rightly guided ancestors and at the head of them, the Prophet – صلى الله عليه و سلم – they have already mastered this language for it is their own.
It is unanimously agreed upon amongst the Scholars of Islaam:
“The Arabic language is the key to understanding Islaam that is because this Qur’aan and Sunnah have been revealed in the Arabic language, therefore it is impossible for anyone to understand the Deen without understanding first the language it has been revealed in.”
`Umar Ibnul-Khattab said:
“Learn Arabic, for it is of your Deen”
Al-Imaam Ash-Shafi`ee said:
” That is because the tongue (language) which Allaah has chosen is the Arabic one, so He has revealed His Book by it and made it the tongue of his last prophet Mohammed -صلى الله عليه و سلم – that is why we say: Anyone who is able to learn Arabic should do so because it is the language that ought to be learned.”
Imaam Malik said:
” If I was to reach an aim in sciences, and an end in understanding I wouldn’t be out of two sources: The Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم , and there is no way to them except by knowing the Arabic tongue.”
And the Imaam As-Suyuti said:
” And the Scholars have unanimously agreed that grammar is needed in every kind of science (Islaamic sciences) never the less interpretation of the Qur’aan and Hadeeth, for it is not permissible for anyone to talk in the matter of the Book of Allaah until his full of Arabic, because the Qur’aan is Arabic, and its meanings are not understood without the Arabic principles, and so the hadeeth.”
And observe carefully how Sheikhul-Islaam ibnu Taimiyyah describes the importance of it by saying:
“Therefore Arabic in itself is of the Deen, and knowing it is obligatory (in general), because understanding the Qur’aan and Sunnah is obligatory, and they are not understood except by the Arabic language, and that which the obligatory is only done by is obligatory.”
And he also said:
” And know that getting used to the (Arabic) Language effects the mind, morality and religion a strong clear effect, and it effects – also – in resembling the first generation of this Ummah of the Companions and their followers, and resembling them enriches in mind, religion and morality.”
He also said:
” Also when Allaah has revealed His book by this language, and made His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم a conveyor of the Book and wisdom by its Arabic language, and made the ones to be the first to this Religion speaking it = there wasn’t one way to perfectly understanding the religion except through perfecting this tongue.”
And when the Scholars realized the importance of such a language so vast in meanings, and also realized that the destruction of this language means the destruction of the right understanding of Qur’aan and Sunnah, they have spent their lives following this language from its routes (the Pure Arabs themselves) and put sound and strong principles to preserve it until it has become a mighty unbreakable science.
And yet, many people – even some who ascribe themselves as students of knowledge – have this myth that you don’t need the Arabic sciences to understand Qur’aan and Sunnah! Perhaps to some point that might have a bit of truth behind it, but only in one case and from a very narrow aspect, which is understanding the general meaning of the verse or hadeeth that most people can comprehend, some even by just reading the Qur’aan itself (i.e the verse: “Allaah created the heavens and the earth” …etc anyone can understand). But can this person know the detailed meanings of the verse or hadeeth, and how it gave that particular ruling or meaning without knowing the language it is revealed in?!
Impossible! Especially after knowing that the revelation was revealed not in any Arabic but in the highest levels of Arabic, impossible for the Arabs themselves to bring a verse like it, let alone challenge it. Take this one sentence here that can give three possible meaning without tashkeel (signs placed over letters i.e fathah, dhammah and kasrah): ما أحسه زيد
1. If I want to express how wonderful Zayd is I have to say: ما أحسهَ زيداً (Maa Ahsana Zaydan)
2. If I want to ask what the best thing about Zayd is I have to say: ما أحسهُ زيدٍ (Maa Ahsanu Zaydin)
3. If I want to deny that Zayd has done well I have to say: ما أحسهَ زيدٌ (Maa Ahsana Zaydun)
So if a simple sign changed the whole meaning of an ordinary sentence, how does one expect to understand the most powerful Arabic there is without learning Arabic?!
Al-Imaam Ash-Shafi`ee said:
“The People of Arabic are the Jinn of the humans, they see what others cannot see.”
If what was stated above is crystal clear, you’ll know that the enemies of Islaam – whether disbelievers or deviants – do not want the Muslims to know their language, because if they do they will end up understanding their religion the right way as their ancestors did.
Ash-Sheikh Muqbil ibn Haadi Al-Wadi`ee said:
“And the enemies of Islaam turn people away from The Arabic Language so that they could bring across the doubts on the Muslim youth, and stab the religion through the Arabic, so these doubts are never answered”
And this isn’t strange; for these attempts were made time after time before, until people were totally ignorant of this unanimously agreed upon fact, which led one of the Hanbali Scholars who is Najmud-Deen At-Toofi (died 716 after migration) to write a book on this issue in his time.
And it is no harm bringing some of his quotes – as brief as possible – from his book: “As-Sa’qatul-Ghadabiyyah fir-raddi `Ala Munkiree Al-Arabiyyah” (The Angry Strike on the Deniers of Arabic), where he first talks about the ignorant lowlifes saying in his Intro:
“And I have witnessed in our decade the decade of hurricanes, and our time the time of oddity and strange matters: people claiming superiority a faulty claim and gathering knowledge in bounded books claiming unduly the dress of superiority and all of them are free of it!…denying the superiority of Arabic science…until they have taken it as a mockery, thrown it behind their backs, considered it a thirst not a quenching of it, and claimed that being free of it is a better belonging and outward appearance!! Strayed away are those minds, how silly they are and wrongful are those rulings how tilted away from the truth they are!! Think they that arrogance covers the light of the sun?! Or that certainty turns to doubt just by shouting?! No, but it is their hearts that have been tied up from common sense and of an ulcerous nature, hating the lands of intelligence so they were drifted to the land of stupidity!”
Then after he mentioned the many, many proofs from the Qur’aan and Sunnah and the sayings of the Salaf on the importance of Arabic – and one of them is:
Hammaad ibnu Salamah said:
“Who studies hadeeth and doesn’t study Arabic is like a donkey with a feed bag with no barley in it!”
He (At-Toofi) said:
“So how strange for someone to deny the superiority of this knowledge how is he considered in humanity?! But it is no wonder, we haven’t seen anyone denying its rank except someone ignorant of it……, and like it is said, ‘One is an enemy of what he is ignorant of.’”
Therefore brothers and sisters, by knowing simple Arabic principles you can easily clarify the biggest common doubts the enemies of Islaam bring across, even in matters that have to do with Creed. For example, it is known that one of the foundations according to Ahlus-Sunnah is that a person doesn’t enter Paradise except according to his deeds as Allaah has said:
ٱدِخُاُواْ الْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنتُمِ تَعِمَلُىن
Meaning: …Enter you Paradise, because of that (the good) which you used to do (in the world). [An-Nahl 16:32]
But on the other hand you find the hadeeth recorded in Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim:
له يدخل أحد منكم الجه بعمله
Meaning: “Not one of you will enter Paradise by your deeds…”
which many people understood with a wrong meaning that totally contradicts what is stated in the previous verse, meaning they have understood that you don’t need deeds to enter Paradise, that is why you find them using this hadeeth to justify their acts, or believe that what counts is what is in the hearts even if you do no deeds at all!!
And of course they manipulate the poor non-Arabic speaker’s minds with this ill-understanding that goes accordingly with one of the famous deviant sects of all time (Al Murji’ah) – the ones who don’t considers deeds to be a part of Eemaan.
The answer to this is very simple even a beginner in Arabic can answer, and this ill-understanding was based on the meaning of the letter ( ب – baa’) in the previous hadeeth, as they thought that it has the same meaning as the ( ب) in the verse because they thought that the ( ب ) has only one meaning!! But when you study Arabic you will find out that there are many meanings used for the same word, even for individual letters. The ( ب) alone has over five meanings! And from them it could mean:
1- Aid and assistance as in Al-Faatihah بسم الله الرحمه الرحيم 1:1 meaning:
“I seek the Aid of Allaah in everything I do.”
2- To accompany as in An-Naml اذهب بكتابي هرا فألقه إليهم 27:28 meaning:
“Go you with this letter of mine.”
(This could also be a meaning of the ب in بسم الله الرحمه الرحيم which also means:
“I accompany the name of Allaah seeking blessings in everything I do.”
3- A reason as in the previous verse, An-Nahl ادخلىا الجنة بما كنتم تعملىن 16:32 meaning:
“Enter Jannah because of what you have done.”
4- An exchange like when we Arabs buy something and say: ” اشتريت كرا بكرا ” meaning:
“I have exchanged a good with this amount of money”,
because buying and selling – as it is known – is exchanging goods and services. And this meaning is the meaning to be applied here in the hadeeth causing the confusion otherwise If it was given the same meaning as the ( ب ) in the verse it would contradict it – and the Qur’aan and the Sunnah don’t contradict.
So to put it all together, basically all the hadeeth is stating is that our deeds will not be something worth exchanging with Paradise, but by the mercy of Allaah He grants us Paradise with little deeds that He asks of us to do, which He has made a means and reasons to enter Paradise, but in the end, it is the Mercy of Allaah that gets us in there. Look how knowing different meanings to one word or one letter can change your life not letting your deeds deceive you, rather make you work harder if what you do is already very, very, very little in front of a Paradise as wide as the heavens and earth. May Allaah bless you in all your deeds, so you can imagine how much understanding you’ll have after you’re done. And there are many more examples to give, but I wouldn’t want this message conveyed to be longer than it already is.
Brothers and sisters in Islaam everywhere living for Allaah I invite you to the fastest and shortest way to understanding the language of your Deen. The enemies want you to suffice yourselves with translations that will never play the role the Arabic does, so it can be easy for them to get you off course, and hard for you to stay on course.
All you need to do is study three Arabic sciences which will build within you a firm tool of understanding that no fool can bring down. The Scholars made those three sciences: Sarf (morphology), Nahw (Grammar) and Balaaghah (beautification of speech) in resemblance to a house, and every house needs to be built correctly otherwise it is subjected to fall hard. So in order to build this house which is going to be your tool of correct understanding, you need to build the principles which you shall learn in all three sciences, just as any house needs to have a foundation to stand on.
- You must know which words to use and in which form before putting them into a sentence, just as you need to know which bricks to use and where to place each type of brick, and this is what you will learn in Sarf.
- You must know how to put these words together in a correct manner, Just as you need to do when putting bricks together to start building up, And this is what you shall learn in Nahw.
- After forming your sentences you need to know when and where you can use them, giving each sentence its right time and place, just as you do after you finish building the house where you need to paint it, decorate it and furnish each room correctly, and this is what you’ll learn in Balaaghah.
Then, after you finish you’ll have a safe dwelling from all ill-understandings outside your warm cozy castle, this mighty powerful tool your Salaf (Ancestors) had. It is all here, and totally free, so let’s not waste much time. All you need is true dedication to it, and I’ll be there to help you all the way. It’s an opportunity you don’t know if you’ll find again.
So what is it going to be?!
If one told you: “Come build your house for free, and I’ll give you all the tools you need” what are you going to say?!
If you know now what to do, and you’re not doing it, how long are you going to pray?!
Do the means and reason, and depend on Allaah and you’ll be on your way!
Your brother In Faith,