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Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

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    Question Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

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    From what I know, the Quran was written in pure Arabic. However, I am confused regarding a particular issue. Alphonse Mingana, a Christian missionary, argues that alot of the vocabulary in the Quran was derived from Syriac, used by Eastern Christian churches during the time of Muhammad (pbuh). Examples include:

    1.) kaahin (52:29, 69:42) - from khn', Syraic "priest", in the sense of a pagan soothsayer or diviner
    2.) masiih. (3:45, etc.) - from mshyh.', Syraic "the Christ", analogous to the Hebrew Mashioch
    3.) qissiis (5:85) - from qshysh', Syraic "Christian priest"
    4.) furqaaan (2:50) - from pwrqn', Syraic "salvation"
    5.) rabbaanii (3:73, 5:48, 5:68) - from rbn', Syraic "perceptor, doctor"
    6.) qiyaama (2:85, 2:113, numerous times) - from qymt', Syraic "resurrection"
    7.) ruuh. al-qudus (16:102) - from rwh. qwdsh', Syraic "Holy Spirit"
    8.) Qur'an (4:85, numerous times) - from qryn', Syriac technical term for "scriptural lesson" or "reading"
    9.) muhaymin (57:12, etc.) - from mhymn', Syraic for "the faithful"
    10.) nuun (21:87) - a title for Jonah (Yunus), from nwn', Syraic for "fish"
    11.) tuur (20:80) - from t.wr', Syraic for "mountain"

    I am confused. Somebody please give me an explanation? Was the Quran written in pure Arabic or not?
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    Re: Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

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    Re: Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

    format_quote Originally Posted by TheMachine View Post
    From what I know, the Quran was written in pure Arabic. However, I am confused regarding a particular issue. Alphonse Mingana, a Christian missionary, argues that alot of the vocabulary in the Quran was derived from Syriac, used by Eastern Christian churches during the time of Muhammad (pbuh). Examples include:

    1.) kaahin (52:29, 69:42) - from khn', Syraic "priest", in the sense of a pagan soothsayer or diviner
    2.) masiih. (3:45, etc.) - from mshyh.', Syraic "the Christ", analogous to the Hebrew Mashioch
    3.) qissiis (5:85) - from qshysh', Syraic "Christian priest"
    4.) furqaaan (2:50) - from pwrqn', Syraic "salvation"
    5.) rabbaanii (3:73, 5:48, 5:68) - from rbn', Syraic "perceptor, doctor"
    6.) qiyaama (2:85, 2:113, numerous times) - from qymt', Syraic "resurrection"
    7.) ruuh. al-qudus (16:102) - from rwh. qwdsh', Syraic "Holy Spirit"
    8.) Qur'an (4:85, numerous times) - from qryn', Syriac technical term for "scriptural lesson" or "reading"
    9.) muhaymin (57:12, etc.) - from mhymn', Syraic for "the faithful"
    10.) nuun (21:87) - a title for Jonah (Yunus), from nwn', Syraic for "fish"
    11.) tuur (20:80) - from t.wr', Syraic for "mountain"

    I am confused. Somebody please give me an explanation? Was the Quran written in pure Arabic or not?
    How could arabic be derived, it's a semetic Language. I will look into it.
    Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

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    Re: Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

    Here you is a little excerpt of the article:

    isa 1 - Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??
    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:

    1. Introduction

    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.[1] 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,[2] 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.[3]

    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.[4]

    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.[5]

    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....[6]

    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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.
    Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

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    Re: Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

    Yes, I read that link before posting, but it does not explain why how come the words used in the Quran are Syriac.

    We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an in order that ye may learn wisdom' (Al-Qur'an 12: 2).

    Thus We have sent by inspiration to thee an Arabic Qur'an: that thou mayest warn the mother of the cities and all around her- and warn (them) of the day of assembly of which there is no doubt (when) some will be in the garden and some in the blazing fire' (Al-Qur'an 42: 7).
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    Re: Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

    format_quote Originally Posted by TheMachine View Post
    Yes, I read that link before posting, but it does not explain why how come the words used in the Quran are Syriac.

    We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an in order that ye may learn wisdom' (Al-Qur'an 12: 2).

    Thus We have sent by inspiration to thee an Arabic Qur'an: that thou mayest warn the mother of the cities and all around her- and warn (them) of the day of assembly of which there is no doubt (when) some will be in the garden and some in the blazing fire' (Al-Qur'an 42: 7).
    Hold on, your argument is because some arabic word according to Alphonse has similiar word as some syriac word negates that the word's revealed in the Quran as arabic?

    First answer:

    1) What is the syriac language?

    2) What is the arabic language?

    3) What is the Aramaic Language?

    I do not see where the pre-assumption comes from.

    Yes the Quran is written purely in Arabic.
    Last edited by Skillganon; 11-25-2006 at 07:01 PM.
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    Re: Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??


    http://www.load-islam.com/artical_de...orious%20Quran

    Shaykh Muhammad Mohar Ali, a former Professor of the History of Islam at Madinah Islamic University, discusses such issues in detail in one of his recent works:
    Ever since the middle of the nineteenth century orientalists have turned their attention to what they consider "foreign words" in the Qur'an. They indeed take their cue from the writings of the Muslim classical scholars and exegetes themselves who, in their eagerness for meticulous studies of all aspects of the Qur'an, paid attention also to the words and expressions in it that were adopted and naturalized in the Arabic language of words and expressions of non-Arabic origin.
    ...Al-Suyuti and others before him emphasize three important facts in this connection. First, Arabic, Ethiopic, Syriac and Aramaic are cognate languages and have a good number of words in common because of their common roots. Second, in the course of the Arabs' long contact with the outside world, especially in the course of their trade and commerce, a number of words of non-Arabic origin entered the language and were naturalized, these being considered part and parcel of the Arabic language. Third, in the course of such adoption and naturalization the forms as well as the original meanings of the words underwent some modifications and changes.
    These facts are common in respect to all languages. So far as Arabic is concerned, however, the first mentioned fact may be a little more elaborated. Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac and Hebrew are all Semitic languages and all had the same origin... The later Arabic language developed out of this original Arabic-Aramaic language. It is because of this fact that all the above mentioned languages have a number of words and expressions in common, though their senses and connotations have undergone changes due to the influences of time and locality. At the time the Qur'an came down, a number of words of these cognate languages as well as languages of the neigbouring peoples had been naturalized in the Arabic language and were regarded as part and parcel of the standard and literary Arabic (al-'arabiy al-mubin). The occurrence of such words and expressions in the Qur'an is thus quite natural because it was sent down in the language of its immediate audience, the Arabs.
    ...The Qur'anic ayah (16:103)...very strongly rebuts the same allegation of instruction by some person made by the Makkan unbelievers and points out that the language of the individual hinted at was "foreign" ('a'jami), i.e. not Arabic. ...The literary Arabic of the time was very developed and expressive; and a passage of the Qur'an which does not contain any of the alleged "foreign" words is as much a masterpiece of composition as any other passage.
    (M. M. Ali, The Qur'an and The Orientalists, Jam'iyat 'Ihyaa' Minhaaj Al-Sunnah 2004, pp. 305-306, 308, emphasis added)
    In his above discussion on foreign words in the Qur'an, Shaykh M. Mohar Ali makes several important points. First, he points out that it is a characteristic of languages that they borrow extensively, and even entirely, from previous dialects, yet this in no way detracts from the purity of the language. He states that the foreign words become "part and parcel" of the language, which maintains the status of arabeeyin mubeen. He also points out that all these foreign words had already been accepted as part of the arabic language prior to Qur'anic revelation. In fact, Shaykh Mohar Ali continues by discussing the research on foreign words by Arthur Jeffery:
    In fact Jeffery's researches go to show that the words he identifies as of foreign origin had actually been naturalized and become regular Arabic words before they came to be used in the Qur'an. He lists some 275 such words other than proper names. "About three quarters of the words in this list", as Watt points out, "can be shown to have been in use in Arabic before the time of Muhammad, ... Of the remaining 70 or so, though there is no written evidence of their earlier use, it may well be true that they were already employed in speech..." (fn. Watt, bell's Introduction etc., op. cit., p. 85). And in view of the fact that Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Hebrew or Jewish Aramaic are cognate Semitic languages having common origin in the original Arabic-Aramaic mentioned above, they have many words in common and also similar forms. It is thus difficult in many cases to say which of such common words is derived from which of these languages. (M. M. Ali, The Qur'an and The Orientalists, Jam'iyat 'Ihyaa' Minhaaj Al-Sunnah 2004, p. 313)
    Thus, these "foreign" words had already been integrated into the arabic language and were accepted as part of pure literary arabic.

    Does the Quran have foreign (Syriac) words??

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