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Non-Arabic Words in the Quran?

Question and answer details
Stewart
2013/01/07
You Muslims claim that your book was revealed in the language of Arabia. But why are there some non-Arabic words in the Quran? Please give an example of such words and their significance.
AAI Editorial Staff
Answer
Salam Stewart,

 

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

 

The Noble Quran, which Muslims believe is the word of God, was revealed in the Arabic language. Allah Almighty (God) said in the Quran what means:

 

*{Verily this is a revelation from the Lord of everything that exists with it came down the truthful spirit, the angel Gabriel  to your heart in order that you be amongst those who give the admonition it was revealed in a plain Arabic tongue}* (Ash-Shuaraa 26:192-195)

 

 Allah Almighty also said:

 

*{And we have not sent any messenger but with the tongue or the language of his own people in order to explain to them and make it clear to them}* (Ibrahim 14:4)

 

There are so many verses which are indicating that the Quran was revealed in the pure Arabic language. We will take one more verse:  

 

*{Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran in order that you may understand it}* (Yusuf 12:2)

 

These verses confirm that the Noble Quran was revealed with the Arabic language.

 

Now, it is very well known that there are some vocabularies which are shared between different languages.

 

Even in today's world, there are some words which are used in different languages that have the same meanings. This is due to the intermingling of different cultures, travelling, trade, intercultural activities, intercultural marriage, and so forth.

 

So having some words in the Noble Quran which exist in other languages as well does not mean that the Quran contains non-Arabic words. It means that the Quran contains words which have been, also, used in other languages.

 

For example, the word "abariq" is used in the Noble Quran, Allah Almighty said:

 

*{With goblets, (shining) beakers, and cups (filled) out of clear-flowing fountains}* (Al-Waqiah 56:18)

 

"Ibriq", the singular form of abariq, is a Persian word, and we say it has been used into Arabic. This means that this word has been used originally by the Persians, but due to intermingling between the Arabs and the Persians, the Arabs have used this word and were familiar with it and it became part of the Arabic vocabularies and the Arabic dictionary.

 

Also, the word "araik", which is the plural of "arikah", means a bed in the Abyssinian languages. It is mentioned in the following verse:

 

*{On Thrones (of Dignity) will they command a sight (of all things)}* (Al-Mutaffifin 83:23)

 

Also, the word "istabraq "means the thin fabric of silk. So those vocabularies and others have been used by Arabs. And the Arab people were very familiar with those words; and they have used them in their dictionary.

 

That does not mean the Quran borrows words or vocabulary that the Arab people were not familiar with, and those words "belong" to the other languages.

 

Also, one of the most famous exegetes of the Quran, Imam Al-Qurtuby, mentioned in his exegesis that there is no dispute between Muslim scholars that the Quran does not contain any sentence which is not Arabic.

 

It may have some proper nouns which are not Arabic, such as Israel, Jibreel (Gabriel), Imran, Nuh (Noah), and Lut (Lot). So these names are proper nouns, names of the prophets.

 

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

 

Salam.

 

Useful Links:

 

Non-Arab Prophets

 

Arabic Quran & English Bible

 

Is Islam a Religion for Arabs Only?

 

Were Prophets Only From Arabia?

 

Non-Arab Muslims

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