Imam al-Shatibi and the Need to Know Arabic

“Imam al-Shatibi and the Need to Know Arabic

to Understand the Qur’an”


Imam al-Shatibi comments: “And what is meant here is that the Qur’an was revealed entirely in the language of the Arabs so the only way by which to understand it is through that language. This is because Allah (Most High) says: {We have indeed revealed this Qur’an in Arabic so that you can attain understanding}.[1] He also said: {In a clear Arabic tongue}[2] and He further said: {a tongue of the one they refer to is foreign but this is in fact a clear Arabic tongue}[3] as well as other such verses that indicate it is in clear Arabic language, in the tongue of the Arabs and not a foreign language or in a foreign tongue. So, whoever desires to understand and comprehend [The Book of Allah] then he will be able to achieve that through Arabic and no other means…”[4]

المقصود هنا أن القرآن نزل بلسان العرب على الجملة فطلب فهمه إنما يكون في هذا الطريق خاصة، لأن الله تعالى يقول: إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآناً عَرَبِيّاً لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ [يوسف:2]، وقال: بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِيٍّ مُبِينٍ [الشعراء:195]، وقال تعالى: لِسَانُ الَّذِي يُلْحِدُونَ إِلَيْهِ أَعْجَمِيٌّ وَهَذَا لِسَانٌ عَرَبِيٌّ مُبِينٌ [النحل:103]. إلى غير ذلك… مما يدل على أنه عربي وبلسان العرب لا أنه أعجمي ولا بلسان العجم، فمن أراد فهمه، فمن جهة لسان العرب يفهم، ولا سبيل إلى تطلب فهمه من غير هذه الجهة

And with Allah is all success.


[2] Q. 26:195.

[3] Q. 16:103.

[4] al-Shatibi, al-Muwafaqat, vol.2, p.306.


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