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Language and Literature


Our scholars have cared much for Arabic language because for understanding other Islamic sciences and arts the understanding of Arabic is utmost necessary. Therefore, the scholars researched about the letters of the language and their characteristics. Thus, they invented a science known as Ilm al-Aswat (Lexicography). This is the science that discusses a letter from every angle. To expand this science Khalil bin Ahmad al-Farahidi and Ibn Jinni etc. played important roles.

The scholars pondered upon every word as a noun, verb or letter. Ascertaining the original and extra letters in a noun or verb relates to Etymology. The famous scholar of this field is the Arabic linguistic Sibawayh.

So, the scholars pondered upon the words, and told what they stand for when they are used in a structure. They also put vowel points at the last letter of a word. They founded Syntax. The first to write on this science is the famous linguistic Sibawayh. He authored a book named “Al-Kitab”.

The scholars also founded Lexicology and Semantics. Lexicology explains individual words and Semantics explains the style and the sentences with the help of the context.

Thus, our scholars covered all aspects of language and literature. It heightened the status of the language and the linguistic and many literatures, poets and orators were born. In different Islamic countries many scholars became famous in this field.

In Egypt, Ahmad bin Jafar Dainuri (died 289 AH) authored “Islah al-Mantiq”. Abu Jafar al-Nahhas (died 338 AH) authored “E’rab al-Qur’an” and “Ma’ani al-Qur’an”, and explained the couplets of Sibawayh.

In Iraq, Ibn Jinni, who is the disciple of Abu Ali al-Farsi, authored many books like “Sirr Sina’at al-Arab”, “Al-Khasha’is” etc. He died in 392 AH. Similarly, Abu Ubaid al-Qasim bin Sallam wrote many books: “Ghareeb al-Musannif” and “Fi Ma’ani al-She’r” etc. And the famous linguistic scholar of Iraq Ibn Khaalawayh (died 370 AH) authored the books like “E’rabu Thalatheen Surah”, “Wa Laisa Min Kalam al-Arab” and “Al-Maqsoor wa al-Mamdood” etc.

Arabic language was the language of Islamic civilization, and the countries which the early Muslims conquered, the residents there learnt this language. And thus Arabic language became the language of sciences and arts in all the Islamic countries.

History: History is the memory of the past, which records the movements and the sciences of human being in different ages and compile them. The historians of sciences have got the virtue of compiling the history of Tafseer, Hadith, Lexicon, Qira’aat, Fiqh and other sciences. They stood by distinguished works in this field.

Muslim historians cared for compiling the history of Islam and took this science from its original and basic sources. They took special care to compile the Biography of the Prophet ().

In the olden days it were Aban bin Uthman bin Affan (died 105 AH) in Hijaz and Aasim bin Umar bin Qatada (died 141 AH) who compiled brief history of the rightly guided caliphs and the Umayyad caliphs. They also wrote about the war expeditions of the Prophet (). Muhammad bin Umar al-Waqidi (130-207 AH) authored the books like “Kitab al-Maghazi” and “Kitab al-Futooh” wherein they described the history of Islamic conquests in Egypt and Syria.

In Syria there were the historians of the likes of Allama al-Awza’i (died 157 AH) and Abu Ishaq al-Farazi (188 AH).

In Yemen, there were many early historians like Wahab bin Munabbih (110 AH) and Mu’ammar bin Rashid (154 AH) etc. When we study the books of Yemeni Madrasah historians, we find they have also described the pre-Islam history. Therefore, their books contain the stories and narrations about the nations before Islam.

In Egypt, various historians wrote about the biography of the Messenger (). Among them are: Abdullah bin Amr bin al-Aas, Yazid bin Habeeb and Laith bin Sa’d etc.

The most famous historian of Egypt in the third century is Abdur Rahman bin Abdullah bin Awanah who authored the great book “Futoohu Misra Wa Akhbaaruha”. In it, he has described the pre-Islam history of Egypt as well as the incidences of Islamic conquests, history of the West and Undlus (Al-Andalusia) and the biographies of Egyptian Qadis (judges) up to 246 AH.

Numerous are the historians who wrote about the history of Egypt. Some of them are al-Balawi, al-Kindi and Ibn Zulaaq. There are various historians in Egypt who wrote common encyclopedias. So Al-Qalqashandi wrote the book like Subh al-A’sha Fi Sinaa’ati al-Insha”. Many a books have been written about history of Egypt. So, “Al-Nujumu al-Zahiratu Fi Akhbari Misra Qa al-Qahirah” was authored by Ibn at-Taghribirdi (874 AH) and “Badai’ az-Zuhoor Fi Waqai’ ad-Duhoor” by Ibn Iyas.

Some Muslim historians wrote the history of the world like Ibn Jareer at-Tabri; he wrote “Tareekh al-Aalam” wherein he narrated the history from the beginning of the creature up to 303 AH. Another book he wrote is “Tareekh al-Rusul Wa al-Mulook” wherein he has reported the happenings of Islamic history as they occurred throughout the ages.

Likewise, Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy upon him) wrote “Al-Kamil Fi al-Tareekh” and “Tareekh al-Aalam”. Following Ibn Jareer he narrated the history era-wise. He died in 630 AH.

Hundreds of books deal with the biographies of the ulama, leaders, judges, doctors, jurisprudents, commentators of the Qur’an and muhadditheen. This is indicative of their greatness and gives an account of their proud struggle they did for protecting their historical inheritance. These books are called “Kutb al-Taraajim” (the books of biographies). Some of the books that can be mentioned in this context are: Usud al-Ghaabah Fi Ma’rifati as-Sahaba” by Ibn Atheer, “Al-Tabqaat al-Kubra” by Ibn Sa’d, “Tabaqaat al-Shafi’eeyah al-Kubra” by Subki and “Siyar A’laam al-Nubala” by Imam Zahabi.