'Arabic

Statements of the Salaf Concerning the Arabic Language

The Following are a few Statements of the Salaf Concerning the Arabic Language

     
Written by Mustafa George   
Tuesday, 01 January 2008

               


Al Hafith Ibn Battah mentioned concerning Imam Ahmed:
…Saleh ibn Ahmed narrated: A man that was present (during the trials and debates of Imam Ahmed about the Quran being created or not) informed me:

I followed him for three days of trials and debates while they were debating with him and speaking to him. He never made a mistake in Arabic Grammar. I never thought a person could possess such strength and a strong heart.

Ibn Battah continued to write:

..on the authority of Abu Bakr Al Marruthee, he said: Abu Abdullah (Ahmed bin Hanbal) would not make grammatical mistakes.  I was informed that while he was being debated with in front of the ruler, he did not make a grammatical mistake!Abu Bakr Al Marruthee also said: Ibn Abee Hassan -the scribe- mentioned to me: While Abu Abdullah was incarcerated he requested from me (to borrow) the book of Hamzah (a book on Arabic grammar).  I gave it to him and he read/reviewed it before being questioned and debated.


(source: Al Ibaanah 2/249 and on)
I (Mustafa) say: Without a doubt, this illustrates the importance the salaf gave to speaking correct grammar.  It also shows the strength of Imam Ahmed, and his courage.  It would be very difficult for an individual to focus on correct speech, knowing he may very well be living the last days of his life!  This also shows his wisdom, not to make a grammatical mistake in order that the people of deviation would not have a proof to say: He doesn’t understand Arabic!  The likes of this is mentioned in the below statement of Shiekh Hammad Al Ansari. Allah knows best.

Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said: The Salaf would admonish their children for making Arabic grammatical mistakes.  Due to this, we are ordered, whether it be an obligation or a recommendation, to preserve the Arabic (grammatical) laws, and to correct the tongues that have deviated from the correct speech.  By doing so, we preserve the methodology of understanding the Quran and the Sunnah.  We also preserve the following of the Arab in their manner of (correct) speech.  If people were left with their grammatical mistakes, this would be considered a great deficiency and despicable mistake.  

(source: Majmoo’ Al Fatawa 32/252)

Shiekh ul Islam (rahimahullah) also mentioned a statement of Imam Ash Shafi’ee (rahimahullah), he said:

…this is because the (language) that Allah choose is Arabic.  He revealed His glorious book (The Quran) in this language and He made it the tongue of His final and last prophet, Muhammed -sallahu alahi wa salem.  Therefore, we say: it is befitting for everyone that has the ability to learn this language to do so, this is because it should be the most desired language to learn.  At the same time, it is not forbidden for people to speak with other than the Arabic language.
(source: Iktidah As Siralt Al Mustaqeem 1/521)

Imam Adh Dhahabee (rahimahullah) mentioned: That which a scholar needs to be is:

-Taqiyan (have taqwah)
-Thakiyah (have intelligence)
-Nahwiyan (firm in Arabic grammar)
-Lugawiyan (firm in Arabic language)
-Zakiyan (pure in action and/or intentions)
-Hayiyan (shy)
-Salafiyan (follow the way of the Salaf As Saleh)….

(source: Siyar ‘Alam An Nubalah 13/380)
Imam Adh Dhahabee (rahimahullah) also mentioned the following story:

On the authority of Al Mughirah bin Abdur Rahman, he said: Abdul Azeez Ad Darawirdee accompanied a group of people to visit my father for the purpose of reading a book to him.  Ad Darawirdee read the book for them but he possessed a poor (Arabic) tongue and made many despicable mistakes.  My father said to him: Woe be to you oh Darawirdee! You are in need of correcting your tongue before looking into this affair (hadeeth), more so than anything else.
(source: Siyar ‘Alam An Nubalah 8/368)

Shiekh Hammad Al Ansari (rahimahullah) said:

When a Muwahid (person implementing Tawheed) makes a mistake in Arabic grammar, he is accused of not understanding (his religion).

The Shiekh’s son commented:

Meaning: It is befitting for a person upon the Sunnah to learn the sciences of the Arabic language in order not to make grammatical mistakes.

(source: Al Mejm’oo 2/557)

Sheikh Muhammed bin Saleh Al Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) said:

From the benefits of learning the Arabic language is correction of the tongue with the Arabic tongue which the speech of Allah was revealed in.  Because of this, understanding the Arabic language is extremely important.  But the sciences of the Arabic language are difficult in the beginning and become easy thereafter.  It is the example of a house made of cane (the likes of sugar cane), but its door is made of steel.  Meaning, it is difficult for one to enter, but once one does, is then made easy.  Due to this, I encourage the student to learn the foundations of the language in order to make the rest easy for him/her.  

(source: Sharh Al Ajromiyah pg.9)

The aforementioned speech of Ibn Taymiyyah reminds us of the statement of Umm Abdellah Al Wadie’yah concerning her father, the beloved Sheikh Muqbil bin Hadee Al Wadi’ee.  

She wrote: My father would admonish us (her and her older sister) if we made a mistake in Arabic grammar.  He would say: Don’t be like the people of Sa’daa, they learn Arabic for several years until they reach the level of ‘Al Mugnee al Labeeb’ (famous book in Arabic grammar), yet they continue to speak similar to the normal layman.
(source: Nubtha Muktesirah pg.52)
Sheikh Muqbil (rahimahullah) also mentioned:

The sciences of the Arabic language (nahoo) are from the important forms of knowledge that are incumbent upon the Muslims to focus on.  This is because the enemies of Islam seek to divert the Muslims away from the language of their religion and busy them with what has less importance in their religion. And Allah is the Helper.
(source: Ershad Thawil Fitan pg.65)

He likewise said:

If a student becomes strong in the Arabic language, this will make learning other subjects easy for him.
(source: Intro. to Al Hilal Adh Dhahabiya pg.8)

In closing we say, one thing that a person especially a salafee who is in seek of knowledge can reflect over to help encourage the studying of the Arabic language, is the following question of reflection and contemplation:

What would you do if you came into contact with the greatest scholars of our time, the likes of Sheikh Saleh al Fowzan, Sheikh Ahmed an Najmee, Sheikh Abdul Azeez ala Sheikh, Rabea bin Hadee, Sheikh Ubaid al Jabiree, etc…, what if you came into contact with these scholars without having a translator?! How much would you truly be able to benefit from them?! How many questions could you possibly ask?! How would you understand their answers and advice?!
May Allah guide us to what is good in this life and the hereafter.  May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the last messenger Muhammed, his family members and companions.

3 thoughts on “Statements of the Salaf Concerning the Arabic Language

  1. assalamu alaikum for this great post, inshallah if you don’t mind, i’m going to use some of these statements to put on my blog as well…

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