Tales from the riverbank.

giftal-Salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāh,

One of the most fascinating aspects of Arabic in my eyes, is finding the relationship between words that come from the same root but do not seem to have an obvious link in their meaning. The study of etymology in any language is fascinating in itself, but due to the root system in Arabic the findings are more likely to be linked to Arabic itself rather than finding that they are loan words from another language, as is often the case with English etymology, for example.

One such word that I came across was the word jaa’izah جائزة meaning ‘a gift’. The root of this word is jeem-waw-zay ج – و – ز. Ibn Faaris mentions in Mu’jam Maqaayees al-Lughah that this root has two original meanings; one is related to passing through/traversing/crossing, as in Yunus, verse 90:

وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ

And We took the Children of Israel across the sea

and the other is the ‘middle’ of something (the jawz جَوْز of a thing is its middle).

So what, then, is the relationship between the meaning of a gift, and the original root meanings?

In this regard, Ibn Durayd mentioned in Jamharat al-Lughah that the word jaa’izah developed the meaning of ‘gift’ when a commander once took his army to meet the opposing force, but found a river laying between his men and the enemy. So he said to his troops,

من جاز هذا النهر فله كذا وكذا

Whoever crosses (jaaza) this river will receive such-and-such a thing [as a gift]

So whenever a man would reach the other side, he would receive a jaa’izah – or, a [token of] something that has crossed over’.

And Allaah knows best.

37 Responses to Tales from the riverbank.

  1. Assalamu 3alaikum,

    Jazaakum Allahu khairan. Mashaalah, I never knew that!

    I wonder if there is a relationship between the adjective Jaa’iz (meaning allowed, permissible, or lawful) and the noun jaa’izah (meaning prize). Perhaps it is because this reward which is given is only lawful to that person who deserves it and not to others? Allahu A3lam.

    May Allah bless your endeavors, and increase you in knowledge.

    Please keep me in your du’a.

    Assalamu 3alaikum,

  2. wa 'alaykum al-Salaam,

    I also wondered about the word jaa'iz. I think the relationship between the two words you mentioned stems from their roots; I dont know about a direct link.  It appears though that the relationship lies with the other root meaning – the 'middle' of a thing. According to Taaj al-'Aroos a thing is called jaa'iz because when it is allowable or permissible, it is as though it has kept to the middle of the road, and did not incline to the right or left.

    I think the meaning becomes clearer if you think of jaa'iz in terms of Islamic fiqh, as such an action is in the absolute middle of the scale – it is not mandoob (recommended) or fard (obligatory), nor it is makrooh (disliked) or haram (forbidden), but rather its right at the centre.

    I was also thinking how it could be related by the other meaning of 'passing through' based on the phrase 'ajaaza hu al-'aql' or 'jawwazahu al-'aql' meaning the mind allowed it or permitted it. The literal link could be that this thing passed right through the mind and there were no obstacles or barriers in the mind to stop it, so it got a metaphorical 'green light' and was thus permitted and allowed to move on. wa-Allaahu a'lam.

  3. Assalam ‘Alikum

    Jazakumallah. This is also something I’m extremeley interested, and is very odd for people being exposed to it because they get the notion that this was mapped out and the language came about but the true miracle of the language is that alot of these things were mapped out much later, after Islam, after the language was established. Anyways the two things I wanted to commented, غقل, one with kesra in the middle and the other with a fat-ha. Those are one my favorite things to mention to people showing the richness of the language. Second, can you find a link between عالمين and عالم. Nobody uses the Jam’a Mudhakir Saalim for the word ‘aalim, always ‘ulema, but if you did so would you get ‘aalimeen? From what I’ve heard, ‘aalimeen, which is looseley translated as all the worlds, all the creation, all people, is actually how you get to know your Lord. In otherwords, they are a method of learning about your creator. If this is what you’ve read or if you have a reference to some classical work on Lughah, that would be great. ‘Alama root has always interested me. Wa Allahu A’lam.

  4. al-Salaamu ‘alaykum,

    1) (Did you mean عقل? ) I am not sure of the meaning of the word you wrote, but please do share in shaa’ Allaah what you know of it.

    2) I think there is a slight confusion with the words you posted up. The word عالمين actually has a fat`hah on the laam, and is pronounced ‘aalameen, so it is the plural of ‘aalAm (which means world, universe etc) and not ‘aalim (which means scholar). However, there is the interesting question of what the link between ‘aalam and ‘aalam. The answer (and Allaah knows best) is that the root of ‘ayn laam meem from which they both come has a basic meaning of a mark or dictinct quality by which something is known. Thus, the scholar was called a ‘aalim (which is the active participle [ism faa'il] from the verbal noun [masdar] ‘ilm) because it is through ‘ilm (knowledge) that something becomes known. According to some mufassiroon (exegetes), the reason the world/universe is called the ‘aalam is because it is through the universe that the Creator is known. Others held the opinion that it refers to all kinds of created beings collectively, i.e. the mark by which life is known. It could be though that some semantic shift has come into play with these meanings, and would require further study to get to the heart of the issue. Very interesting root though, jazaakum Allaahu khayran.

  5. Salamu’alaikum wa rahmatallah

    Jazakamullahu khairan

    Wassalam

  6. Yes sorry I meant the words ‘aqila and ‘aqala. Sorry for the typo. Basically, I’m sure you knew of it, but if not its really wonderful. How ‘aqala is to f’il maade of to tie, same root for the the funny thing ‘Arabs wear to keep the ghutra on, the ‘iqaal (or igaal with the Saudi dialects:) and many others may I add). Anyways, the verb ‘aqila though refers to think. The link? Basically, when one can tie down their emotions, that is when emotions don’t cloud their thoughts, then they know how to really think. Otherwise, real thinking can’t be achieved when emotions aren’t “tied down”

    And my mistake above. But my main point was, how the root ayn laam meem produce two what seem very different words but turn out to be very cool indeed. I was wondering, those ‘ulema you were referring to, can you get me a source or a book and who said such things? That would be appreciated. And as always, Jazakallahu Khair.

  7. Wa iyyaakum, and Jazaakum Allaahu khayran for sharing that point.

    al-Jurjani held the view that ‘aalam refers to each kind of species, and it was in something by him [I cant remember which book though] that I read about some believing it is through the world that the Creator is known.

    It was in Taj al-’Aroos and Mu’jam Maqaayees al-Lughah that I read that others said it could refer to all the kinds collectively. However, I do not recall it being specified who said it, rather they just said ‘Qaala Qawmun’ ['a group of people said'].

  8. Jazakallah Khair Katheer!

  9. Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah akhi – or ukhti,

    What a wonderful blog/website. I truly appreciate these gems – May Allaah reward you – every time I read, I fall in love even more and more with the beautiful language of the Qur’aan.

    I had a question, perhaps you could be of help: where can I find diacritics (I believe that is what they are called), such as these –> â ` û ? I found these few ones on a forum, but I need to know where I can get a full list of them.

    Jazaka Allaahu khairan for these gems, keep them coming, and may Allaah reward you, ameen.

    Wassalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah

  10. Wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam wa rahmat Allaah,

    Wa iyyaakumaa.

    Umm Isaac, if you open up MSWord and go to Insert > Symbol, then it has the diacritic characters you would need (except ones with dots underneath them, for which you would need a special font installed on the computer).

    If you need further help with it, feel free to ask in shaa’ Allaah.

  11. Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah,

    Jazaka Allaahu khairan for the suggestion, however, I’ve already tried doing that (the symbol insert), and I can hardly find any of these special characters — perhaps I have not looked at all the fonts carefully, but I am quite sure that I at least “skimmed” through them all.

  12. Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah,

    Could you just direct me to which font I can download to get the dots or lines above letters? Jazaaka Allaahu much khair.

  13. Salamu alaykum,

    I’m not an expert like the other visitors here, so please forgive my ignorance.

    I was listening to Surah Al-Fajr, verse 15. In ends in “Akraman[i]“, which the translators have translated as “has honoured me”. That’s active voice, and past tense, so it shud have been Akramu [he honoured]+yee (For “me”). Please correct me if i’m wrong. And why is Akramani is the starte of jarr? Or is the kasra an indication of “me” in some ways?

    Jazak Allahu Khairan

    Wa Salam

  14. al-Salaamu ‘alaykum,

    Wa iyyaakumaa.

    Umm Isaac, you can download a transliteration font here: http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/1579/apxlit.html.

    It is a little tricky to use, and due to that I personally prefer using the Symbol feature (the hats above the letters are available in the ordinary fonts such as Word. If you want to just copy and paste them, here are the ones with the hats on top: Â â î Û Î û Ā ā ī Ī ū Ū. If you would like me to post any more for you in this manner, please let me know (dots under the letters wouldn’t work like this, but you can replace it with the underline feature for each letter).

    H, we are all still learning, there is nothing to forgive.

    Any verb in the past tense will always end in a fat`hah, so the basic verb ‘he honoured’ will be Akrama. When you want to add a suffix pronoun ‘me’ on to the end of the verb (i.e. when the ‘me’ is the object of the verb, and is receiving the action of the verb) you are right, you do add the ‘ee’ but there is also an extra noon that is added called ‘noon al-wiqaayah’ (‘the noon of protection’) so it is clear that the yaa’ on the end of the verb (indicating ‘me’) is not part of the verb but it is a suffix pronoun. So whenever you add the first person suffix to a verb you add ‘nee’ ني and whenever you add it to a noun you just add ‘ee’ ـي (e.g. ‘my book’ = كتابي).

    The kasrah under the noon is not reflecting a state of jarr, it is just there because of the yaa’ that follows, for ease of pronounciation.

    I hope that answered your question. Please continue to look into the language of the Qur’an in such a way, and feel free to post any future questions.

  15. Quote: “[...] here are the ones with the hats on top: Â â î Û Î û Ā ā ī Ī ū Ū. [...] dots under the letters wouldn’t work like this, but you can replace it with the underline feature for each letter”

    Jazaaka/i khairan (or is it khairun – my i’raab is all wobbly) katheeran!

    I actually would have loved to get these dots and lines and hats for an essay I wrote a while back, but al hamdu lellaah, it wasn’t a requirement to use the diacritics. In sha’a Allaah I plan to direct my professor to your website, perhaps Allaah will guide him to Islaam.

    My question is: is an ‘h’ with a dot underneath is the letter ح , just as the h underlined is as well? Is there an internationally accepted list of symbols that writers adhere to?

    Oh, and lastly, for all the Arabic you post, do you do the translation yourself? There is a great resource for Arabic literature and other things as well that perhaps you already know about — might be of interest: http://www.alwaraq.net/

    A really good book — again, maybe you already read it/continue to use it — is إعجاز القرآن by الباقلاني — in the i’jaaz al-lughawi part, it doesn’t explain things very well – for me at least – it floods you with examples from the Qur’aan, which is good, but sometimes I wish some of these texts could be translated, or that I could just be so good at Arabic :) [and the ranting ends here].

    Wassalaamu husnul khitaam,
    Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah

  16. wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam wa rahmat Allaah,

    “Jazaaka/i khairan (or is it khairun – my i’raab is all wobbly) katheeran!”

    Wa iyyaakum. You were correct, it should be Khayran. It is the object of the verb jazaa (to recompense) and the object of a verb in Arabic is mansoob. Actually, some scholars also regarded the verb jazaa from among the ad`daad, because it can connote meanings of both to reward and to punish, and thus when thanking someone using the above phrase, they emphasised that the complete wording should be said (i.e. Jazaak[um] Allaahu Khayran) and one should not stop at simply ‘Jazaak[um] Allaah’. Although, if one intended in their minds punishment, then this could of course backfire when the reply is given ‘Wa iyyaakum’.

    “My question is: is an ‘h’ with a dot underneath is the letter ح , just as the h underlined is as well? Is there an internationally accepted list of symbols that writers adhere to?”

    Yes, that is correct. Sometimes the fonts that enable you to put an actual dot under the letter are hard to come by or put to use (especially online), so the letter is underlined instead. The most widely accepted transliteration system that I have seen is that of the Library of Congress. You can find a basic table on it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_transliteration (the ALA-LC column on the Comparison Table) and a more detailed exposition of it can
    be downloaded in pdf format from this link: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/arabic.pdf.

    “Oh, and lastly, for all the Arabic you post, do you do the translation yourself? There is a great resource for Arabic literature and other things as well that perhaps you already know about — might be of interest: http://www.alwaraq.net/

    Yes, unless otherwise stated it is original content that has been translated/compiled by the contributor/s. It is usually an adaptation from one or more books, rather than a direct translation. Jazaakum Allaahu khayran for the link.

    “but sometimes I wish some of these texts could be translated, or that I could just be so good at Arabic”

    I would recommend you aim to make the latter your reality. However much literature ends up being translated from Arabic into English [or any other language pair], it will never be it all; not in our lifetime at least, wa-Allaahu a’lam. By relying on translations you are severely limiting what you have access to, and hence only harming yourself. It is not an impossible task; I myself am NOT a native speaker of Arabic, Arabic is my second language and I was once in a position where I knew nothing of it too and could barely read the Qur’an. If a person perseveres and corrects their intention, they shall see the fruits of their efforts bi idhnillaah.

    wa al-Salaamu ‘alaykum

  17. Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah,

    “…it should be Khayran. It is the object of the verb jazaa (to recompense) and the object of a verb in Arabic is mansoob.”

    So, jazaakum (um? regardless if it is addressed to a mu’annath or muthaakkar?) Allaahu khairan – memory refreshed.

    “[...] one should not stop at simply ‘Jazaak[um] Allaah’. Although, if one intended in their minds punishment, then this could of course backfire when the reply is given ‘Wa iyyaakum’.”

    I’ve heard this as well from some Shaikh – whose name I cannot recall – and it makes perfect sense.

    “By relying on translations you are severely limiting what you have access to, and hence only harming yourself.”

    It is really interesting you brought this up because I KNOW this is the case, and at one point, I was actually contemplating becoming an editor for Arabic publishing houses and their books! It is quite saddening seeing SO many spelling mistakes in beautiful and precious books – I’m not sure about grammar mistakes, because most of the books I buy are by the classical ‘ulamaa’, but still, they are tarnished by these “minuscule” mistakes, that – for me, personally – bring down the value of the book, and I’d feel this way with an English book too, if I found spelling or grammar mistakes in it (and I have). However, I yet have to discover what this past contemplation will lead me to, Allaahu a’lam what is in store for me, I have other projects to work on, and others that are currently in the works, so I ask your du’aa that Allaah uses me as a tool to better our Ummah in whichever way, be it through editing books or other :P

    “I myself am NOT a native speaker of Arabic, Arabic is my second language and I was once in a position where I knew nothing of it too and could barely read the Qur’an.”

    If it is not too personal, may I ask you how long it took you to learn to read, write, and especially, get a “good” hold of the Arabic nahw? Also, HOW did you learn it all – self-taught?

    Jazaakum Allaahu khairal-jazaa’ for your help and quite addictive posts, wassalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah.

  18. [Note: ever thought of bringing the menus on the side instead of all the way at the bottom?]

  19. wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam wa rahmat Allaah,

    “So, jazaakum (um? regardless if it is addressed to a mu’annath or muthaakkar?) Allaahu khairan – memory refreshed.”

    You can address a female using a male pronoun, but not vice versa. You can also address a female using a female pronoun (which would be Jazaaki) if you so wish.

    “so I ask your du’aa that Allaah uses me as a tool to better our Ummah in whichever way, be it through editing books or other”

    May Allaah make it so – ameen.

    “If it is not too personal, may I ask you how long it took you to learn to read, write, and especially, get a “good” hold of the Arabic nahw? Also, HOW did you learn it all – self-taught?”

    I will address this later in shaa’ Allaah, when the About page is updated. (Possibly after a couple of months).

    “[Note: ever thought of bringing the menus on the side instead of all the way at the bottom?]”

    Jazaakum Allaahu khayran for bringing this to my attention. I use the Firefox browser, in which they already are on the side. I checked using IE though, and they are at the bottom as you said, where they should not be. I’ve reported the bug to the WordPress team, and in shaa’ Allaah they will fix it soon as this version of WordPress that we are using does not give access to the templates.

  20. The problem should be fixed now in shaa’ Allaah. The menus are now at the side I hope?

  21. Quote: “The problem should be fixed now in shaa’ Allaah. The menus are now at the side I hope?”

    Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah,

    It’s fixed! Ah, how nice!

    Unrelated question: if someone were to go for a trip to Egypt, which books would be good to get – realizing you can’t get most of them in North America? I am asking specifically about books that teach nahw and the like – any suggestions?

    (Also, if anyone can recommend other books in general, I’d very much appreciate it).

    Jazaakum Allaahu khairan katheeran!

    Wassalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah.

  22. Although my teacher hasn’t been able to find these books in America, and he only saw them on a recent trip to Morroco, he showed us a wonderful book on conjugating verbs (this is a simple resource) but extremely well laid out and benefical. The title المعين في تصريف الأفعال and because we couldn’t find it, we scanned it and uploaded it to my website in order to make it accessible to the students. Its in PDF, and there are other verb sources, but I think this is very beneficial. You can get to it easily by going to my blog and clicking on “My Original Website” and then clicking “Those in my arabic class.” Also, try reading Arabic as much as possible, and speaking too, even though you’ll feel dumb. This is what I’m doing now, I can’t understand everything and I sound like an idiot, but it helps you progress much more than you expect. I hope this was beneficial. والله اعلم

  23. Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah,

    Jazaakum Allaahu khairan aabiransabeel. Very beneficial website – ok, well, since the mu’een is on your website, any other suggestions – general ones or maybe something about the language of the Qur’aan in specific?

  24. That would depend on your level of Arabic, and on whether you are a native or non-native speaker. The are a wide range of books that deal with these various levels.

    1) If you are a non-native speaker and a beginner, I’d recommend “Arabic Course for English Speaking Students” by Dr. V. Abdur Rahim. But you’d need someone to teach it to you as most of the books are in Arabic except for the key in the back which summaraize each lesson in english.. When you are done that, get “Kitaab Al-Asaasee”. My non-Arab muslim friends who learned Arabic highly recommend it. Again you’ll need someone to teach you that too.

    Self-study for Arabic (or any foreign language for that matter doesn’t work). You need a teacher who can correct you and expleain the concepts. It’s not just theory; it’s mainly practical. So the more practice you do the better you’ll become, and the more consistent you are, the more fluent you’ll be.

    Better yet, if you are really keen on learning Arabic, you might as take the opportunity while in Egypt and go to some of the Arabic Teaching Institutes there like “Fajr Centre of Arabic Language” (www.fajr.com).

    A very good center is “Al-Diwan” http://www.aldiwancenter.com/diwancom/index.htm

    Some of my close friends (muslim non-arabs) have gone to Al-Diwan, and when they came back, subhaana Allah, their Arabic was so much better. In fact, you couldn’t distinguish them from native speakers.

    It all comes down to sincerity I guess. If you strive for the sake of Allah, Allah will help you get to your destinantion

    2) If you are a native speaker and you want to brush up on your arabic, any Grammar book will do really, but I’d recommend getting the actual Egyptian Arabic curriculums used in school (starting from kindergarden to grade 12) and study those. (Note that the curriculums are also useful for non-native speakers wspecially the passages that are there for comprehension).

    3) If you are an advanced Arabic learner, you want a comprehensive book that sums up all the rules simply (e.g. Jaami` Al-Duruus Al-`arabiyyah), and then you should refer to the classical texts to really learn the language from the source – from the mouths of Sibaweyh and Al-Zamakhsharee and the likes (may Allah have mercy on them). This is kind of like what ArabicGems is doing.

    May Allah aid all if you in learning this beautiful language for the sake of Allah alone Ameen.

    Please keep me in your du’a.

    Assalamu 3alaikum. .

  25. http://www.openburhan.com for Arabic roots index of the Quran

    Ttwo thumbs up! :)

  26. al-Salaamu ‘alaykum,

    Umm Isaac, I would second what Billo said about it depending on the purpose and level of the reader. If you could provide that information we will be able to help you more in shaa’ Allaah.

    Also, are you looking for books only that are not available for download or to read online?

  27. Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah,

    Firstly, may Allaah reward you all for helping your sister in Islaam, and may He accept your good deeds for you, ameen. I, myself, am not going to Misr, some family members are. I think before I stumbled upon this website, I thought that if I read books in Arabic, then I’m alright, because I’ll probably understand most of it, however, it never crossed my mind how little I know of how the language WORKS, which is really where most of the beauty lies. Anyhow.

    The books I am asking about are the ones most suitable for someone who can read and speak Arabic, but are totally oblivious to most nahw rules due to lack of “brushing up” on the little they know of it, (like Billo mentioned), while simply, not knowing the rest of it (nahw is a deep ocean, eh?).

    I requested them to bring me a copy of Laa Tahzan by Al-Qarni, but that is leisure reading, I want something more instructive — IF you know any books that highlight Arabic’s beautiful “quirks”, that’s really what I’m looking for I think — I’m not sure how realistic it is for me to teach myself nahw, wallaahu ta’alaa a’lam.

    Jazaakum Allaahu khairan.

    Wa’alaikoum assalaam warahmatuAllaah.

  28. Assalamu 3alaikum,

    Since you can read and understand Arabic but just need to learn the rules, my best advice for you is to get the Arabic curriculum used in schools (you’d probably want to get at least from grade 4 and up; getting all those books shouldn’t be a problem as they are cheap in Arab countries in general). Usually they are filled with many examples.

    If you can’t get that, take a look at this website,and see if it is suitable fot you. I covers Nahw,Sarf, Imlaa’ and other topics. The author ( ateacher by profession) uses mnany examples to explain concepts. Note that hee does put a lot of emphasis on I`raab. It is also meant to be very comprehensive, as it is taken from a text book (not taught as a course per se). So don’t be surprised if there are things you don’t understand or haven’t heard of. But I like it, and I think it’s worth a look.

    http://www.drmosad.com

    Please keep me in your du’a please

    Assalamu 3alaikum

  29. Assalamu 3alaikum,

    Note: Use IE (internet explorer) when viewing the site above. For me the Arabic font looks crooked when using Firefox.

    Also, sorry for the many typos.

    Please keep me in your du’a.

    Assalamu 3alaikum,.

  30. Yaser Al Hotaki

    I know theres a course from Al Azhar that has proven to have good results called Al-Arabiyyah Linnashi’een, which is a set of six textbooks on everything for Fuss-ha Arabic (basically non dialectal Arabic) from Grammar, Conjugation and speaking as well. I don’t know how they are but I’ve heard they are good. I think I heard they help build up good vocabulary more than grammar, but Allahu A’lam, it might be hearsay, things in my head get jumbled after a while.

  31. al-Salaamu ‘alaykum,

    Umm Isaac, I’d go with what Billo and Yaser said. There’s alot you can get online too these days, to all levels. For a deeper understanding of the intricacies of the language, I’d recommend you download the books on Fiqh al-Lughah from http://www.almeshkat.net/books such as al-Muzhir fee ‘Uloom al-Lughah by al-Suyuti, al-Saahibee by Ibn Faaris, al-Khasaa’is by Ibn Jinnee, and see if you can understand them. If you can, then I would recommend those books (al-Muzhir has alot of al-Saahibee in it already, so it’s the best one in my opinion) as they are much more delightful to read as hard books.

    One book I *haven’t* come across online and I would recommend to everyone is called al-Tafseer al-Qayyim. It is basically a compilation of maybe all that Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah mentioned regarding tafseer in all his books, and it has many many beautiful linguistic gems in it that I have not read elsewhere. It was compiled by Muhammad Uways al-Nadwi, and the version I have is published by Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah in Beirut (1 voume).

    In terms of contemporary books (which you would not find online due to copyrights I would imagine), Dr. Tammaam Hassaan is one of the top contemporary Aran linguists with loads of original ideas incorporating modern linguistic theory into the study of Arabic. He also has a book called “al-Bayaan fee rawaa’i3 al-Qur’an” which is a fascinating look at the Qur’an through modern linguistic theory as well as traditional Arabic rhetoric (balaghah). Also by Tammaam Hassaan is ‘al-Lughah al-’Arabiyyah: ma3naahaa wa mabnaahaa’; an excellent book that examines the different structures of the Arabic language: phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicography, contextual phenomena, and semantics. What you will find with alot of the classical books (most available online) is that the difference between them is how they present the same information; the information differs only when you get into a really deep level that involves the difference of opinions among the different schools of thought, Basran, Kufan, Baghdadi, Egyptian, etc. But with these contemporary books, they actually approach Arabic from a different angle and show a whole new dimension to it, often in light of modern linguistic theory, so you can appreciate it from many more standpoints. (Yaser; you mentioned you were a linguistics student, so you would probably benefit alot from such books in the future in shaa’ Allaah).

    Another excellent contemporary book is called ‘Diraasaat fee Fiqh al-Lughah’ by Subhi Saalih. He looks at the different aspects of Arabic philology and what the classical scholars had to say about them, then analyses them and provides his own opinion (because alot of the classical scholars differed in their views on each phenomenon).

  32. “I requested them to bring me a copy of Laa Tahzan by Al-Qarni, but that is leisure reading, I want something more instructive — IF you know any books that highlight Arabic’s beautiful “quirks”, that’s really what I’m looking for I think.”

    Basically, this would be in Fiqh al-Lughah books. Most are available from the site I posted above, or in the Fiqh al-Lughah book by Subhi Saalih.

    There’s also a really small (86 pages A6 size) but fun book called ‘Ajeeb al-Lughah by Shawqi Hamaadah who is a graduate of al-Azhar, published by Mu’assasat Nawfal in Beirut, and also ‘Min Asraar al-Lughah’ by Ibrahim Anees (another great contemporary linguist) published by Maktabat al-Anglo al-Misriyyah in Egypt.

  33. Assalaamu ‘alaikoum warahmatuAllaah,

    Jazaakum Allaahu khairan Billo, Yaser, and ArabicGems for all your help — I have now made a list and have requested my family members to “scavenge” for these books (especially the al-tafseer al-qayyim one). I am looking forward to reading ‘Ajeeb al-Lughah book though, seems like something I would enjoy — no doubt the other books will be of immense benefit as well.

    Again, may Allaah place barakah in all of your efforts, brothers and sisters, and use you as a da’wah outreach tool, to both Muslims and non-Muslims, ameen.

    Wa’alaikoum assalaam warahmatuAllaah.

  34. Wow, I didn’t know of those books. I’ve actually been wondering if anyone had done anything in terms of Modern Linguistics and the Qur’an. I wish my Arabic was at a higher level to get my hands on it! I am such a lazy student. Make du’a to make me more serious Inshallah! Jazakallah for those books!

  35. Re jaa’izatun, I was reading in Lane’s lexicon that this word was also used to mean the provisions of a day and a night that were provided to a guest.

    According to the custom of the Arabs, the guest would be entitled to three days of hospitality, and then given water and food for a day and a night’s journey.

    So here we have a word that reminds us that we are only visiting this world for a brief time, and what will be that jaa’iza for us when we leave?

    ps I love your site, very interesting, jazakallah

  36. rachel, wa iyyaaki. Jazakillaahu khayran for the c0mment, very beneficial al-hamdu lillaah.

  37. Excellent work…

    May allah reward you for this

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