Here you is a little excerpt of the article:
From Alphonse Mingana To Christoph Luxenberg: Arabic Script & The Alleged Syriac Origins Of The Qur'an
M S M Saifullah, Mohammad Ghoniem & Shibli Zaman
© Islamic Awareness, All Rights Reserved.
First Composed: 20th December 2004
Last Modified: 26th June 2005
Assalamu-`alaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:
The history of orientalism is quite peculiar. According to a few of them the history of Islam and Muslims is quite possibly a lie. They also claimed that Arabic sources on Islam are inherently unreliable whereas non-Islamic sources and speculative opinions are given an aura of truthfulness. As far as the Qur'an is concerned, it was not the revelation given to the Prophet, but simply a compilation of stolen liturgical material from the mass of Judeo-Christian and Zoroastrian traditions. One such example of an orientalist belonging to this class was that of Reverend Alphonse Mingana. Mingana attempted to teach Muslims about the transmission of their sacred Book down to even the Arabic alphabet! His hypothesis was that the Qur'an had strong imprints of Syriac. The "author" integrated a host of Syriac loan words into the language and thus brought about the linguistic revolution of what is now called the Qur'an. Mingana catalogued the alleged "Syriac" vocabulary in the Qur'an and argued for the widespread presence of Syriac Christianity and its important role in the origins of Islam. His work, along with the more comprehensive work of Arthur Jeffery's The Foreign Vocabulary Of The Qur'an, gave impetus for further research into the connection between the "foreign" vocabulary of the Qur'an and the historical circumstances of its appearance. Recently, Mingana's work was given a resurrection with a new twist by Christoph Luxenberg's Die syro-aramäische Lesart des Koran: Ein Beitrag zur Entschlüsselung der Koransprache.
As far as the origins of the Arabic language is concerned, Mingana claims complete ignorance about it. He goes on to claim that in Makkah and Madinah, the written language "must have been" either Syriac or Hebrew:
If all the signs do not mislead us, very few oracular sentences, if any, were written in the time of the Prophet. The kind of life he led, and the rudimentary character of reading and writing in that part of the world in which he appeared, are sufficient witnesses in favour of this view. Our ignorance of the Arabic language in its early period of its evolution is such that we can not even know with certainty whether it had any writing of its own in Maccah and Madinah. If a kind of writing existed in these two localities it must have been something very similar to Estrangelo [i.e., Syriac] or the Hebrew character.
As for the Arabic vowels, he dismisses the value of Arab authors and instead relies on Aramaic writers and his own speculative opinions. He says:
The first discoverer of the Arabic vowels is unknown to history. The opinions of Arab authors, on this point, are too worthless to be quoted... If we may advance an opinion of our own, we think that a complete and systematic treatise on these vowels was not elaborated till the latter half of the VIIIth century, and we believe that such an attempt could have been successfully made only the under the influence of the school of Baghdâd, at its very beginning. On the one hand, besides the insufficiency of the grounds for assuming an earlier date, we have not a manuscript which can be shewn to be before that time, adorned with vowels; on the other hand, the dependence of these vowels on those of Armaeans obliges us to find a centre where the culture of the Aramaic language was flourishing, and this centre is the school of Baghdâd, which was, as we have already stated, under the direction of Nestorian scholars, and where a treatise on Syriac grammar was written by the celebrated Hunain.
He also asserted that:
The foundation of the Arabic vowels is based on the vowels of Aramaeans. The names given to these vowels is an irrefragable proof of the veracity of this assertion. So the Phath corresponds in appellation and in sound to the Aramaic Phtâha....
Following closely in the footsteps of Mingana, Luxenberg claims that before the emergence of Arabic literature, the principal language of writing was syro-aramäische or Syriac. This lead him to assume that the origins of the literary Arabic and the Qur'an must be sought in Aramaic and Christian communities. This assumption is taken further to claim that Makkah was not an Arab settlement but an Aramaic colony and that the residents of Makkah spoke aramäische-arabische Mischsprache. This language, apparently not known or understood outside of Makkah(?), soon went into a state of oblivion and no reliable tradition existed to prove its existence. Hence, according to Luxenberg, the early Muslim scholars, writing about a century and a half after the Prophet, were under the false impression that the Qur'an was written in classical Arabic; therefore, it was no surprise that they did not understand what they were reading. In this regard, Luxenberg represents a radical break from everyone else, including Jeffery and Mingana.
Under the cloak of these assumptions, Luxenberg begins his quest to find the "real" Qur'anic text using his own graphic and linguistic methods. It is his assumptions for the graphic side of his analysis that interests us in this paper. By claiming that the early Arabic documents lack diacritical points and vowel markers, Luxenberg takes liberty to alter diacritics and change the vowels at will.
Luxenberg's work has been given wide publicity by the New York Times (Alexander Stille and Nicholas Kristoff), The Guardian and Newsweek. Is his book a path-breaking discourse or is it yet another headline grabbing exercise? This has prompted us to evaluate the claims of Luxenberg and inspect the foundations which these claims rest upon. In this paper, we would like to examine the assumptions of Mingana and Luxenberg concerning the origins of various aspects of the Arabic script. We will also compare the Arabic script with the Syriac script and its development. It will be shown that both Mingana and Luxenberg were wrong in their assumptions concerning the Arabic script.
Full article Read: From Alphonse Mingana To Christoph Luxenberg: Arabic Script & The Alleged Syriac Origins Of The Qur'an.