Arabic

Ibn Faris on the Arabic Language

 Ibn Faris on Arabic

 ***

One of the greatest lexicographers of the 10th century known for ordering the Arabic dictionaries as we generally have them today, Abu’l-Husayn Ahmad Ibn Faris (d.395/1004)[1] said regarding the Arabic language:

“When Allah – May His praises be Exalted – differentiated the Arabic language with clarity and purity (al-bayan), it became known that all other languages fall short of it…”[2]

فلما خَصَّ – جل ثناؤه – اللسانَ العربيَّ بالبيانِ، عُلِمَ أن سائر اللغات قاصرةٌ عنه، وواقعة دونه

Notes:

  • The quality of bayan (clarity or purity in speech) was – and continues to hold – importance for what differentiates Arabic from other languages.
  • It is not Arabic per se, but the quality of bayan which inheres in the languages in a unique and unparalleled way.
  • The Arabic language is the means by which Islamic ideas and solutions can be reconnected with and revived.

s.z.c.


[1] For biographical information, see Ibn Khallikan’s Wafayat al-A`yan, 1:100-102.

[2] Ibn al-Faris, al-Sahibi fi Fiqh al-Lugha, 1:4.

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