Two Minutes with Dr. Yahya: Ibn Khaldun On Qu’ran.
Arab Manifestu Series
Dr. Hasan Yahya, former professor of comparative sociology
After the Arab American Encyclopedia-Hasan Yahya published Ibn Khaldun’s al Muqaddimah, as I expected, it was received highly from Arab readers in Diaspora, especially in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Europe. This encourages me to select some of topics in this series of articles. It is my belief, that without Ibn Khaldun and Arab great scientists, Europe will be delayed in its enlightenment age. Any way, let me bring what Ibn Khaldun says on Arabic language and Qur’an in his Muqaddimah with little necessary alteration on the original translation made by Franz Rosenthal:
Arabic writing at the beginning of Islam was, therefore, not of the best quality nor of the greatest accuracy and excellence. It was not (even) of medium quality, because the Arabs possessed the savage desert attitude and were not familiar with crafts. One may compare what happened to the orthography of the Qur’an on account of this situation.
The men around Muhammad wrote the Qur’an in their own script which, was not of a firmly established, good quality. Most of the letters were in contradiction to the orthography required by persons versed in the craft of writing…. Consequently, (the Qur’anic orthography of the men around Muhammad was followed and became established, and the scholars acquainted with it have called attention to passages where (this is noticeable). No attention should be paid in this connection with those incompetent (scholars) that (the men around Muhammad) knew well the art of writing and that the alleged discrepancies between their writing and the principles of orthography are not discrepancies, as has been alleged, but have a reason. For instance, they explain the addition of the alif in la ‘adhbahannahU “I shall indeed slaughter him” as indication that the slaughtering did not take place ( lA‘athbahannahu ). The addition of the ya in bi-aydin “with hands (power),” they explain as an indication that the divine power is perfect. There are similar things based on nothing but purely arbitrary assumptions. The only reason that caused them to (assume such things) is their belief that (their explanations) would free the men around Muhammad from the suspicion of deficiency, in the sense that they were not able to write well. They think that good writing is perfection. Thus, they do not admit the fact that the men around Muhammad were deficient in writing. www.hasanyahya.com
Source: Muqqadimah, Ibn Khaldun, vol. 2, p.382
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