April 07, 2005

Arabian Dialects

Chris Turner wrote: "If it was necessary for ALLAH - GOD to reveal it in the different dialects, then there must be a significant difference between these dialects - yes or no

"but how different ?

"e.g. is it

"(A) just pronunciation e.g. in the S of England we say "Baaarth & Graaass in the North they say "Bath & Grass" with a short a - but if that is all it was why did Allah have to reveal the Koran in the different dialect, Mohamed could have just pronounced the words differently?

"(B) different words for the same thing e.g. blackberry in the south - bramble in the North? Sidewalk (US) - Pavement (UK),

"(C) different words and grammar, e.g. Standard English, "I am going he is....", old fashioned country English "I be going, he be ...",

"(d) very different words and grammar, UK v West Indian English

"which was it ?"

In my research, the answer is at least both (a) and (b). (It could also be (c) or (d), but I haven't read anything to suggest that yet.)

"In some cases, each tribe used different words to describe the same object. For example, some tribes called the lion an 'asad,' while other tribes called it a 'layth,' 'hamzah,' 'hafs,' or a 'ghadanfar.' In other cases, differences occurred in the way certain letters were pronounced due to vowelling differences."
-- Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, "Usool at-Tafseer: The Methodology of Qur'aanic Explanation," p. 175

"In order to take into account the various differences which existed among the Arabian dialects, Allaah revealed the Qur'aan in seven different forms. The forms matched the dialects of the following seven tribes: Quraysh, Huthayl, Thaqeef, Hawaazin, Kinaanah, Tameem, and Yemen. These various forms did not represent different Qur'aans, as Jibreel only conveyed verses from a single Qur'aan written on a protected tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfooth) in the heavens. However, Jibreel was instructed to recite the verses that he brought in seven forms corresponding to the dialects of the major tribes. The various forms represented the various ways in which the same word might be said according to the various dialects. However, the meanings were all stated the same."
-- ibid, pp. 176-7

"This Qur'aan has been revealed in seven forms, so recite whichever is easiest for you."
-- ibid, pp. 178 (Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 6, p. 482, no. 514 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, pp. 389-90, no. 1782)

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