The Usool of Qiraa’aat VS Arabic Grammar | Part 1

Basmalah

In our post Do the rules of Tajweed (or Usool) originate from Arabic Grammar? we explained how the Usool of the Qiraa’aat (Tajweed rules), although grammatical in nature, are not derived from Arabic Grammar. So what is the relationship of Usool and Arabic Grammar and how come so much stuff matches? How do we explain this phenomenon?

Introduction

QuranAllah says in many places in the Qur’an that it (i.e. the Qur’an) has been revealed in Arabic, such as in Surat Yusuf, verse 2:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.
But what exactly does this mean? Does it mean that we can recite the Qur’an by deriving rules from Arabic? Can we take this on ourselves and make our own choices in what to do and what not to do of ‘recitation rules’?

Two Extremes

treesOne of the main questions of those who believe that Usool are derived from Arabic Grammar is the lack of Ahaadeeth explaining Usool. They say that everything in the Sunnah has been documented and has reached us via Ahaadeeth narrations, so how come nothing is mentioned of Usool? How were these taught? How come ‘the Sunnah’ is silent about it? On top of this the Usool rules seem to match Arabic Grammar rules. These questions have led them to believe that a possible explanation to this is that Usool are actually derived from Arabic Grammar, and for them this is the reason why there was ‘no need’ for the Sunnah to mention them and hence its silence. Others even dismiss ‘Tajweed rules’ (i.e. Usool) altogether because of ‘lack of evidence’ in the Sunnah. They say that the only hadeeth we have is a hadeeth on madd of Ibn Mas’ood, and other than this Tajweed rules are unimportant. Subhaan Allah.

Two opposite extremes… We explained in a previous post (here) about how this Ummah is a middle nation, and follows the middle way. So what is the middle way with this issue of the Usool? In order to understand this properly we’ll need to go back to the origins of Language itself.

History of Language

fossilWhere did Language and speech start from? It was there long before mankind was even created because speaking is an attribute of Allah سبحانه وتعالى Himself. Therefore as long as Allah existed there existed the concept of speech and this means it existed infinitely because Allah سبحانه وتعالى has no beginning or end. Thus we find many examples in the Qur’an of Allah speaking to the Angels even before Adam (AH) was created such as Surat al-Baqarah, verse 30:

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”

The Angels spoke, even the Jinn speak and used to speak before Adam’s creation too, as we find in the Qur’an Iblis speaking to Allah, showing that speech and language were a form of communication of intelligent beings. In fact even animals and other creatures speak, but their speech is in a form we don’t understand. This is shown from the story of Sulayman (AH) in the Qur’an in Surat an-Naml when he spoke to the ant and the hoopoe bird, and thanked Allah for teaching Him the speech of birds.

So how and where did mankind learn how to speak? Allah says in Surat ar-Rahman, verse 3-4:

خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ
Created man,
عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ
[And] taught him eloquence.

Also in Surat al-Baqarah, verse 31:

وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ هَٰؤُلَاءِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.”

So speech and language originates from Allah directly and He is the One Who taught Adam how to speak. So all the different languages originate from Allah, and this includes Arabic. The scholars have said that the words الأسماء كلها in this verse show that Adam spoke all languages.

Arabic Qur’an

flowerSo Allah سبحانه وتعالى taught all Languages originally to Adam (AH), and then at the time of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم where the progeny of Adam in the Arabian Peninsula, the Arab tribes, lived and spoke Arabic, Allah revealed the Qur’an in the Arabic Language. So the source of the Arabic Language spoken by these people and the source of the Qur’an was the same: Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

End of Part 1

Look out for Part 2 of this post A Science is born… which will deal with how to answer the other opinions, as well as what the most balanced, safe and correct opinion is InshaAllah.

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