It’s a hit!

slapal-Salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāh,

The Arabs have a number of words to express specific ways of hitting. When reading the below, pay attention also to any instances of al-ishtiqaaq al-akbar to increase your wonder and marvel at the richness of this language.

To hit on the front part of the head using the ball of the hand الراحة (the palm but not the fingers) : saqa’a صقع

To hit on the nape of the neck using the ball of the hand : safa’a صفع

To hit on the face using the ball of the hand : sakka صك

To hit on the cheek using the palm الكف outstretched (the ball of the hand including the fingers) : latama لطم

To hit on the cheek using the palm in a fist : lakama لكم

To hit on the cheek using both hands : ladama لدم

To hit on the chin and jawbone : wahaza وهز

To hit on the side of the body : wakhaza وخز

To hit on the chest and stomach using the palm: wakaza وكز

To hit using the knee: zabana زبن

To hit with the leg : rakala ركل

Every hit that makes a sound : safaqun صفق

25 Responses to It’s a hit!

  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog. Jazakallah
    My sources are mainly based on what was dictated to me from my Shaykh in Medina University. His sources are from Ibn Kathir’s book Al-Bidaayah Wa-Nihaayah and I believe Tabaqaat Ibn Saad Wallahu Alam. But my shaykh Dr. Shamsullah Zal Baig Jalali in Medina University did mention that he did most of the sifting through the narrations because many books out there are either “shiite” oriented narrations where one will see more “anti-Abbasid” or Anti-Ummayad Bashing. From other books that I’ve read, what I present to you is more moderate and more of a historical viewpoint in a neutral twist. Wallahu Alam

  2. JazakAllah for sharing this.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Jazakallah khayran.

    Wow. No wonder English translations are sometimes 10 times longer than the simple Arabic “equivalent”.

  4. mashallah, don’t you worry. You’re blogs are entertaining

  5. al-Salaamu ‘alaykum,

    Eid Mubarak to everyone.

    ExEx Blogger, wa iyyaakum, and thank you for providing the references. I look forward to reading more of the series on your site in shaa’ Allaah, and would reccomend everyone to also visit his site for some interesting material on Islamic History and more.

    ibn Ziad, wa iyyaakum.

    Arshad, DaRaBa simply means ‘to hit’ in general. So all of the above are forms of ‘darb’ ضرب (hitting).

    mujahid7ia, wa iyyaaki. That is correct; it can sometimes be extremely difficult to translate Arabic into English with the same succinctness, especially when you bear in mind points like the verb, subject and object can all be enclosed in one word in Arabic. For example, the word darabtumoonee ضربتموني would mean:

    You [plural] (subject) hit (verb) me (object).

  6. so (فوكزه موسى ) would be “So Musa pushed him in the abdomen” ?
    what do you think?

  7. Linguistically, the meaning seems to be ‘hit’ rather than ‘pushed’, and ‘chest’ rather than ‘abdomen’. There is disagreement whether wakaza is with a palm or a fist, but there seem to be more narrations that it means to hit rather than to push.

    al-Qurtubi mentions in his tafseer that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) recited this as فلكزه , and he mentioned that the difference between the two words is that lakaza is on the beard area, while wakaza is near the heart area. There is another narration that he recited it as فنكزه, and it is said that the meaning is the same: hitting on the chest.

    The only mentions of pushing that I came across were from: al-Asma’i who commented on نكز (and not the recitation of Hafs, وكز) and said that it means ‘to hit and push’; al-Kasa’i also said that نكز means وكز and it is to hit and push.  The mufassir Mujahid, however, said that Musa (‘alayhi al-salaam) pushed the man.  So perhaps it may be safer to go with the meaning of a mufassir rather than a linguist.
    Allaah knows best.

  8. Assalamu 3alaikum,

    I don’t think translating it as “pushed” it farfetched because Musa – peace be upon him – *accidentally* killed the other man. Musa – peace be upon him – was very very storng and didn’t think that such a mere push would cause him to kill the man.

    Later on in the story, one of the two women tells her father to hire Musa – peace be upon him – because of his strength and trustworthyness. As you might suspect, leading a flock of sheep amongst other flocks and making your way through them and the other shepards to “water” the flock is not a job for a weak individual. (Sorry I can’t think of an English equivalent for “saqaa سقى”)

    Please keep me in you du’a.

    Assalamu 3alaikum

  9. You might disagree with me but I don’t find anything positive about what you have written.
    The way words are created in a language reflects how important something is in that language. For example, in English they have many different words for expressing different kinds of seaside. This is because Britain is an island and they have all these different seasides, hence the creation of different words for them.
    In Arabic they have many different ways of calling camels. This is because in Saudi Arabia they used to deal with camels a lot.
    Thinking about it this way, I don’t find anything positive in having many different words for harming eachother. That’s just sad.

  10. It’s sad that you should think that because in Arabic there are many different ways for calling everything – the least among that being ‘hitting’. Did you know that Arabic has over 60 words for ‘love’?

    While the sister intended to make a linguistic point you decided to make a cultural judgment – a judgment that is totally uncalled for – a judgment that betrays a particular mindset, and that is sad.

    English has its fair share of “hitting” words (like “to hit” “to punch” “to kick” “to elbow” “to knee” “to headbutt” “to boot” “to smack” “to slap” “to beat” “to club” “to cane” “to belt” “to hook” “to jab” etc. However, the point that the sister is making is that what have is large-scale variation on a single theme or stem. This linguistic feature Arabic does not share with English in this particular regard.

    I suggest that you get hold of Ibn Sida’s al-Mukhassas to see for yourself the multiple ways that Arabic has for calling everything and that includes a great many positive concepts. If you had done that before your perspective would have been a much richer, more circumspect and hence a more considerate one.

  11. salamun alaikum,

    If these are the equivalent English words, then what’s this point about the richness of the Arabic language?

    My first language is neither English nor Arabic. We have the equivalent for some of these words in our language. But having many different words for almost the same thing is not necessarily an advantage of that language.

    I ended up reading this blog because I was searching for the meaning of this verse of Holy Quran where ‘wakaza’ was mentioned. The translation said Moses (A.S) hit him. I did not exactly understand the word because I had not seen it before so I ended up asking one of my friends who is an educated Arab and they did not know the meaning either. Now the question is: what is the point of creating words that you can’t know the meaning and don’t know how to use yourselves? When it is not even understandable by an educated Arab. Don’t you think that is a disadvantage rather than an advantage?

    I still believe that creation of words has cultural and historic roots. I have done my own research about this. I am sure you are right about the different words for ‘love’ in Arabic, and I also believe that this has cultural roots, too. But this does not deny my point in my previous post.

    I hope you do not feel offended. I apologise if you did.

    May Allah protect you.

  12. Wa ‘alaykum as-salam

    The issue that you’re are raising is a long and complex and has been discussed in the linguistic literature under topics such as “linguistic relativity” and “linguistic determinism” as well as the Sapir- Whorf hypothesis (strong and weak versions) and Berlin-Kay hypothesis.

    It is known that some words are more culture-specific than others like “sand” for the Arabs and “snow” for the Eskimos. However, there also exist certain degrees of overlap amongst different cultures which makes for a high degree of cross-cultural translatibility. So already we have a problem here because “hitting” is by no means a culture-specific word such that if we have multiple ways of expressing the concept ‘hitting’ (or ‘harming each other’) then it follows that that culture must hold that concept in very high regardand are therefore more prone to violence than other cultures. This is a a non sequitur, and this is primarily where I take issue with your first post. It implies that the multiplicity of words for a single meaning in a particular culture – and in this case ‘hitting’ – makes that culture more prone to violence.

    Concerning the fact that you asked an educated Arab, it is not sufficient that he is educated but rather whatit is that he is educated in. A doctor or engineer cannot tell you about the intricacies of the words used in Shakespeare or even what some of these words mean. Arabic has both a classical and modern dimension, and most educated Arabs are more familiar with the modern dimension than the classical one. Unless you’re educated in Arabic traditional linguistics and the general Islamic tradition, there are always going to be words that you do not understand or let alone their finer details. Even classical Arabic has been divided into high, medium and low Arabic in terms of the degree of difficulty of the words that are being used. Imam al-Shafi’i states in his al-Risalah that no one has a comprehensive knowledge of language save a Prophet. Not knowing a particular word or words in a language does not necessarily make that a disadvantage especially if those words are classical words which we strive to know the meanings of, so that we can emerge with a more enriched perspective and our horizons widened. Your view on this point is extremely subjective. If I were you I would strive to see the positive aspects of this endeavour. The sister has done a great job of showing what a fascinating language Arabic is, and this is much appreciated esp. in a time when even Arabic has come under intense fire from certain quarters. When I read a particular work of art, I do not necessarily understand all the words contained in it, but when I do learn their meanings I feel quite enriched and highly enthused. Our attitude does not need to be a negative one for it only seeks to deprive us from benefitting and close us off from what could otherwise be a world of endless possibilities.

    Your first post strongly suggested to me that Arab (and Islamic) civilisation is culturally more prone to violence which is why they have so many words for ‘hitting’. This is what I understood and this is what I responded to. If my understanding is wrong then I take back my response, and I appologise for not having given you the benefit of the doubt.

    May Allah protect us all.

  13. salamun alaikum,

    You still did not answer my first question. You are assuming that the richness of a language is defined by the number of different words used to express almost the same thing. The more words used, the richer the language. I don’t believe that’s true, but if you think it is true I see no advantage in Arabic over English for this particular word. The conclusion made on the beginning comment “increase your wonder and marvel at the richness of this language”, I think, is irrelevant, at least for this particular example.
    I think the creation of this topic, by itself, participated by many Arabs indicates that a normal everyday life Arab does not understand the meaning of these words and their differences. I have seen another Arab myself who does not understand a simple word like ‘hitting’ in his own language. This is not in a very complicated philosophical context. It is a simple story narrated in Quran. I simply think this is a defect of the language that has many words that can be used but not understood. After all, the prime purpose of the creation of any language is to be able to communicate and normal Arabs can’t communicate in their own language. If you think this is “subjective”, then I guess this is because you are an Arab.
    I still think that words in general are culture oriented. I refer you to your own dictionary that you introduced to find the words for elephant in Arabic and compare that to the number of words for camel. I would be surprised if they do not differ by a large margin for obvious reasons.
    I think different ways of hitting are also culture oriented. I will give you an example: in my own country we have an area where a group of people are well-known for taking their revenge on people that they fight with. They have a very specific term which they use for this which is not used anywhere else even within the same country. This is a matter of need for that particular word and their culture. As another example, consider a game of Taekwondo: they have very specific terms for attacking and defending their opponents, all of which come from the countries where these moves were invented. Why? Simply because they need them to express slightly different things easily. You might say kicking and punching is all that happens in a game of Taekwondo and all people do that whether or not they play Taekwondo. Why do you need specific terms? But as you can see, it happens in practice: You need very specific terms for slightly different things.
    I am not making a comparison of Arabs with any other people and I am not using the term violence in general. I am saying they are very specific about fighting terms because these terms were needed by Arabs at different time points.
    I hope this makes my point clearer.

    May Allah protect you.

  14. You said: ” If you think this is “subjective”, then I guess this is because you are an Arab.” This statement of yours just shows how much you assume, and for me it sums up your entire response and makes it even more subjective than what I originally thought. It just shows how wrong you can be. You first assume that I’m an Arab, and then you make the highly inflammatory and subjective remark of an entire people that ” If you think this is “subjective”, then I guess this is because you are an Arab.” What can I say except to quote the following Qur’anic verse:

    {يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ}

    If anything your statement reveals an attitude towards Arabs and the Arabic language. Neither Arabic nor English is my native tongue nor is my ethnicity that of an Arab, yet I don’t have the issues with Arabs and Arabic that you seem to have. This why I find the insinuation and tone of your first post totally uncalled for. There could’ve been a much more objective way to have gone about it, but then you chose to fill your post with expressions such as “I don’t find anything positive about what you have written”, “that’s just sad”, and “The way words are created in a language reflects how important something is in that language.”

    This last statement esp. is totally uncalled for and particularly so in the current context. You know what you are getting at here.

    Then, in you last post you said: “I think the creation of this topic, by itself, participated by many Arabs indicates that a normal everyday life Arab does not understand the meaning of these words and their differences.” This statement is so loaded with bias and subjectivity. What makes you think that the people participating here in this thread are Arabs? On what do you base you assumption? You have already wrongly assumed that I’m an Arab? What does that say about your current assumption? If that is not being subjective, then please enlighten me as to what being subjective is. Oh! I know, a question such as this can only come from an Arab like me, and a bunch of others participating in this discussion. So where does the problem lie? I beseech you to recnsider your attitude here.

    Finally, on the question of “richness” I do believe, based on what the sister has posted, that Arabic has a wide range of words for ‘hitting’, and this is indeed an instance of its overall richness. The sister then goes on to focus our attention on the fact that many of these different meanings are merely the result of the substitution of one letter in the overall stem. This is very significant, and totally absent from the list of English words that I have provided. So I would say that here we have a case of richness coupled with the highly interesting phenomenon of al- ishtiqaq al-akbar which the sister gave a reference to. As far as I’m concern, it is something that we as non-Arabs (i.e. the majority of particpants here if not all) highly appreciate.

    I’m sorry that you couldn’t see it that way.

    May Allah protect and guide us all.

  15. salamun alaykom,

    First of all I would like to remind you that the answer to ‘salam’ is Wajib in Islam, even if I am a non-Muslim.

    You can assume I am subjective. Putting labels on people does not provide you with enough evidence to justify your points. I assumed you are an Arab first because of your good knowledge of Arabic and secondly because of your name. I appologise if that offended you.
    My statement reveals no hatred about Arabs and the Arabic language. I meant to say that you only think its a rich language because you prefer to use it, not because of what it really represents and means.
    Speaking Arabic and being fluent in it is an advantage, just as is the case for any other widely-spoken language. But all languages have their own strengths and defects. To me, what I explained is a defect of the Arabic language and I dont see any of your comments challenging that idea.

    May Allah protect you

  16. Wa ‘alaykum salam

    I’m sorry that I didn’t respond to your greeting the second time (I did the first time).

    Secondly, your “I appologise if that offended you” is uncalled for. Why would that offend me?Besides that is not the issue here. The issue is that you made more than one baseless assumption about people on this blog, period. That is what you ought to be appologising about as well as admitting. It shows that you are willing to pass judgments and assume things for which you have no hard evidence. It can affect your credibility as a witness in a court of law.

    I’m not labelling you, I’m just pointing out your proneness to make assumptions and pass judgments based on insufficient evidence.

    Thirdly, what do you mean by it is just sad to have so many different words for harming each other? and what do you mean by “The way words are created in a language reflects how important something is in that language.” in the context of hitting or harming each other (as you have paraphrased it)?

    Fourthly, you said: “To me, what I explained is a defect of the Arabic language and I dont see any of your comments challenging that idea.” If you view the richness of a language (in the sense explained above” as a flaw, then why did you not just say so in your first comment without resorting to statements “I don’t find anything positive in what you have written” or “That’s just sad”? You only started making the argument that you are now making in your second comment. Then you started addressing us as Arabs (and no offense to Arabs) – an assumption on which your main argument is premised, the gist of which is in your own words: “Now the question is: what is the point of creating words that you can’t know the meaning and don’t know how to use yourselves?”

    Let me put the issue to you this way: For many a non-Arabic speaker who is interested in Arabic and classical Arabic that is, which is what this blog is primarily all about, it is almost all about the richness of the classical Arabic tongue is an important dimension whether modern Arabs speak this tongue or not or not in toto. Why do you thing this blog is called “Arabic Gems”? Is there anything in admiring, marvelling and expressing wonder at a language that we have grown to love and appreciate despite not being nattive speakers? I know of non-Muslim scholars who have made the study of Arabic their lifelong work, and have shown great appreciation for it and the studies surrounding it. Did you know that most of traditional Arabic linguistics is the result of tireless efforts of non-Arab scholars. My username “Ibn Uthman” that you mistook for being the name of an Arab is actually the name of a great Persian Arabic linguist? This is what a non-Muslim scholar by the name of Jonathan Owens has to say about this tradition: “Indeed, one might argue that one reason Arabic theory has gone unappreciated for so long is that nothing like it existed in the West at the time of its ‘discovery’ by Europeans in the nineteenth century, when the European orientalist tradition was formed, and that it is only with the development of a Saussurean and Bloomfieldian structural tradition that a better perspective has become possible”.

    Insha Allah, what we have here is a case of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and hopefully not a case of what al-Mutanabbi says :

    ومن يك ذا فم مر مريض ……يجد مرا به الماء الزلالا

    May Allah protect and guide us all to what pleases him.

  17. I did not read your last comment carefully. I now find it necessary to clarify on my previous sentence : ” If you think this is “subjective”, then I guess this is because you are an Arab.” I did not mean to say because you are an Arab(as a race), you think what I say is subjective. I rather meant to say: the reason why you find what I say “subjective” is because you are an Arab language speaker and prefer to use it.
    As I say, my first language is not English and I might say things in a way that do not mean what I want to say.

    May Allah protect you

  18. Salamun alaykom,
    I am going to summarise what I have said so far in a few paragraphs:
    First, the creation of words in any language (including Arabic) is rooted in culture/geography/history of the people who speak that language. This includes ways of hitting, too. I have given you the extreme case of a Taekwondo game where they have a much “richer” vocabulary for these words which come from the countries that these were invented and you seemed to be ignoring it because you didn’t like it. You seemed to like my comment about different words for “love” in Arabic and not my opinion about “hit” and this is what I call selective and subjective thinking about a language which you prefer to use for personal reasons.
    You claim that Arabs have many words to express “everything”. This is a very strong claim which is supported by little evidence. I ask you to use this rich vocabulary of Arabic to list the different number of words for elephant and compare that to the number of words you find for camel. Use it to explain what “ice fishing” is (as used in Canada) and see if you can fit it in a less-that-long expression. You will soon realise that your “everything” is not as big as what you originally thought and this is exactly for cultural and geographic reasons.
    The second point is about what you call “richness” which I still don’t see any profound reasoning for it. I strongly challenge your approach (which is also supported by the starting post using those different words) to define richness of a language. I have asked a couple of native Arabic speakers (by now) to tell me what ‘wakaza’ means in a simple context such as hitting (not a complicated philosophical context). They failed to correctly identify the meaning and then when I told them about it, they made exactly the same claim as what is discussed here: richness and thoroughness. I think this is more of a nationalistic/personal (or even religious) approach to this discussion than an objective one. I admit I had this in mind when I was writing my previous posts.
    You have truly pointed out that you need a PhD in Arabic linguistics to know the different ways of hitting in Arabic. I find this a defect. Imagine what would happen if I learned this word ‘wakaza’ (and I am sure there are thousands of examples like this in Arabic) by reading Quran and I presented this to one of my Arab friends : they would fail to understand what I mean. I call this ambiguity and confusion, not richness. Being rich in this sense is the same as having enough money to make 10 unnecessary doors to your house to enter it, then lose the keys to eight of them and make yourself prone to strangers entering your house. In my own language (and also English) if I were to describe ‘wakaza’ I would use three words rather than one, but the huge advantage I gain by doing that is that a normal uneducated seven-year-old kid would understand what I mean in my own language, but a 25-year-old educated Arab does not understand that single word in his own language. In this regards, I find my language more thorough and robust than Arabic.
    I have many Arab friends myself and as a matter of fact I am now trying to learn Arabic myself as a third language, primarily to be able to understand Quran. I have nothing against the Arabs and Arabic as a race/culture and language. Try to think of Arabic as a language created by a number of people which could have its advantages and disadvantages compared to any other language which happens to be the language of Quran, too and not confuse it with religion, nationalism, etc.

    May Allah protect you.

  19. Wa ‘alaykum as-salam

    I don’t deny that the creation of words is rooted in culture (remember culture specific & culture overlap?), but the number of words in Arabic for ‘hitting’ is as inocuous as the number of words in English for ‘hitting’. Your point was, and I quote: “The way words are created in a language reflects how important something is in that language” that ‘hitting’ reflects how important it is in Arabic, and then you ended your post by saying, and I quote: “That’s just sad”. You can’t tell me that your statement here is not emotionally charged. You are passing a subjective value judgment here and at the same time you are implying that in Arabic (andthus Arab culture) ‘hitting’ (or ‘harming each other’) is regarded as important (with the emphasis on “important”). I countered by saying that Arabic has more words for ‘love’, so as to counterbalance what you have stated.

    As for your Taekwondo example, I don’t think anything about it because that is not the issue. The issue is that you singled the many words Arabic has for ‘hitting’ as “just sad”. Did you say that about the language and culture of the people who invented Taekwondo? The point is that you said something very negative about Arabic and Arab culture that prompted you to end with “That’s just sad”.

    Okay, I admit that I’ve exagerated by saying “everything”. I actually meant say “a great many things”. I used “everything” as a hyperbole (which according to the dictionary is “a deliberate exageration not meant to be taken literally”). I thought that was obvious. Btw I could only find about 6 or 7 words for ‘elephant’. My point here was that Arabic has equally many if not more words for positive concepts than for negative concepts. My intention with “everything” should have been obvious when I made reference to “sand” for Arabs and “snow” for Eskimos.

    You say: “You seemed to like my comment about different words for “love” in Arabic and not my opinion about “hit” and this is what I call selective and subjective thinking about a language which you prefer to use for personal reasons.” I only used my example to offset yours. You said something negative and derogatory about a language and a culture and I thought to offset with something positive. So am I made to understand that you would rather see Arab culture in a bad light than in a good light? Do you think that is called for here?

    Now tell me if I have this right? You ended up reading this post in “Arabic Gems” because you were searching for the meaning of “wakaza” . Then instead of discussing the meaning of “wakaza” and the other related words, you ended up saying that you don’t find anything positive in this post, and that having many words for ‘harming each other’ is just sad, amongst other things. Only after I had responded do you tell us what actually brought you to this blog, and then you went into another criticism, and then op top of it you assume that many of us here are Arabs, including myself and we don’t even know what “wakaza” means.

    Now tell me, does your average educated Englishman understand every single word in Shakepear’s plays or poems? Does that take away from Shakepeare’s genius or from the English language? That is why you will find that many of Shakepeare’s plays and sonnets come with study guides and explanations of the words. The same applies to works written by other authors. Many of the words used then are not used that often or at all. Does that point to a defect in English? I don’t even know why I’m explaining such an obvious point. It is known that when we read the Qur’an we have on occasion to look up certain words even educated Arabs because it was revealed 14 hundred years ago, in an Arabic milleu different from that of today. Still a great deal of the Arabic is still understandable to your average Arab. Then again there different levels of understanding where you go deeper into the meanings of certain words, and it is there where you spot the subtleties and finer points of these words, and you are filled with amazement and wonder, and why not? Call it religious ecstacy, or the pleasure that you gain from dealing with phenomena on a deep and profound level whether they be linguistic or otherwise. What is wrong with that? Just because you don’t shared it with us, it does not mean that we are not entitled to these feelings and sentiments? Just because you don’t appreciate something doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t appreciate it.

    Read my previous comments on classical Arabic and modern Arabic. I don’t feel like repeating myself here. This comment is long enough as it is.

    Yes, I think that is a really good idea for you to learn Arabic. Most of us learn Arabic for religious purposes, and we see Arabic very much part of Islam and the Islamic tradition. Of course, then there is Arabic as a language which for many of us is a highly fascinating language. Insha Allah, I sincerely hope that you’ll find it just as fascinating, and it does not have to be as a result of religion or nationalism. However, the Qur’an does add many more new fascinating dimensions to it, which you can only really know if you experience the two together.

    So I’ll leave it at that. Anything more would amount to excess.

    May Allah guide and protect us all.

  20. salamun alaikum,

    I am very busy with my exams this week. I am going to prepare a detailed post and send it in near future, inshaAllah.

    May Allah protect you

  21. Wa ‘alaykum as-salam

    My friend, the issue at hand is quite simple which is your first comment. That is the main issue.

    You say in a previous comment: “I think this is more of a nationalistic/personal (or even religious) approach to this discussion than an objective one.” May I remind you that your first comment is anything but objective. It was the highly subjective and pseudo-scientific nature of your comment that prompted me to respond. Where is the objectivity in for example “I don’t find anything positive about what you have written”, and for example “I don’t find anything positive in having many different words for harming eachother. That’s just sad.” Then you insinuate with this statement “The way words are created in a language reflects how important something is in that language” that Arab culture places a high premium on “hitting” and “hurting each other” due to the fact that there are many words for specific types of “hitting”. Your language in your first comment is highly emotive, and this is what I have all this time taking issue with. You were way out of line here. Yest you are not willing to admit that. The you raise secondary issues skirting in the process the main issue at hand which is your first comment.

    As if your first comment was not enough as an archtypal instance of subjectivity, you post comments based on an unfounded assumption that many of the people participating here are nationalistic Arabs. When you then realised how wrong you were in your assumption, as you have based your whole argument on that assumption, you then shifted the premise to that of religious fervour, in order to save face. Then you claim that “this is more of a nationalistic/personal (or even religious) approach to this discussion than an objective one. I admit I had this in mind when I was writing my previous posts.” You assumed that people here were nationalistic Arabs, and now you are trying to save your argument by bringing in religion. You don’t know anything about Arabic and are only now intending to learn it. Do you know the Arabic works on morphology, syntax, pragmatics, lexicography, and so on. These books employed highly objective methods fof linguistic analysis. Hebrew had no notion of a root system until they started looking at the works of Muslim scholars in this regard. Past scholars engaged in highly objective discussions on very fine grammatical issues that were far removed from religion since they all subscribed to the same religion. Twelve centuries ago Sibawayh (a Persian) wrote his magnum opus on Arabic grammar so much so that Michael Carter dedicated a entire website to him called “the Sibawayhi Project” (or the Sibawaihi Project) . Here listen to Carter writing about Sibawayh: “There is still much to be said about Sibawaihi and his place in the history of linguistics, and this essay should perhaps be taken as a suggestion for a possible attitude to the problem by one of who considers that, if Sibawaihi had been born in our age, he might have found a place somewhere between Suassure and Bloomfield”.

    Having said this, let me return to the main issue – your first comment. Do you still stand byt it? Would you say that it is an objective assessment or is it more emotive than anything else? Did you write it thinking that we are nationalistic Arabs?

    If you answer is in the negative, then well I don’t think that it is worthwhile continuing this discussion, because if you can’t see things for what they are, then we have a problem which will only serve as a barrier for meaningful and honest discussion.

    May Allah protect and guide us all.

  22. Excellent work…

    May allah reward you for this

  23. JazakAllah for sharing this.

    Keep up the good work.

  24. The riddle of al-ishtiqaaq al-akbar has been solved. Preview my recently published ebook “A Body of Language: Revealing the Common Mind of Mankind” at

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