I have been thinking about why some people are averse to undertaking a deeper study of the Quranic Arabic. After all, it would seem to me that a better understanding of the language in which a text you are studying would be something to aspire to. There seem to be various reasons for this, and I can understand why some people may be intimidated by the notion of having to learn a new language, but I am at a loss as to why there is at times such a strong push against pursuing any kind of in depth study of Arabic roots.

I would be very interested to know from those who marginalise the study of Arabic and its roots when studying the Quran, why they feel it is not an important part of such study.

There are those out there who would like to study Arabic roots but feel it is beyond them, and this is what I would like to address here. The most concise way that I can address this is by saying: “Don’t shy away from studying the Arabic of the Quran because you feel that it is difficult or you don’t have the credentials”. It is much easier than you may think.

We sometimes see people discussing things (any subject), and feel out of our depth, forgetting that they started somewhere, at a beginning and developed stage by stage as much as they put in to it.

I am not an Arab, nor do I have no formal tertiary Arabic training, but I think that it is important to learn the Arabic of the Quran and would like to create a friendly, easy environment for those who want learn some of the basics of studying Arabic roots. For this, I have started a facebook group called QuranRoots. It hasn’t been active because I have been trying to figure the best way to move forward with it. I’ve finally decided how I would like to approach this.

The discussion group will utilise the chat function in a kind of class environment at a set time, when any members interested can join the “class”. This group will be focussed on QuranRoots and will not put too much emphasis on the grammar aspects. It will require volunteers who are willing to share their methodologies for studying Arabic root words. These volunteers would “lead” the class by taking people through the process of examining a particular root, which could extend over a few sessions. Once the root has been explored this way, further discussions on the root can take place on the forum.

Would anyone be interested in this, especially volunteering to share your methodologies for exploring the roots? Once we have a few volunteers I will post it on Quranology group and others.

5 Responses to QuranRoots

  1. Beautiful!

    It’s important for me to know that two or three words in the Quran with the same root will keep revolving around the same concept or meaning, controlled by their structure [the same as adding “im” to “partial” to create a new meaning still revolving around the original word].

    For example, if ni’ma means blessing, then an’aam should revolve around the concept and have a greater meaning than “cattle”. If “najaya” connotes surviving, then why should “najwa” mean gossip? If “rijl” means “foot”, but it has to be related to “rijal” in some way. How can “rijal” mean men when both genders have feet? And if “fajara” means “explode”, then where does leave our understanding of “fujur”?

    There are so many of these examples that could make your head spin. Hopefully, you may eventually be able to create something a little more advanced than Lane’s Lexicon so that non-Arabic-speakers won’t feel lost or left out.

  2. What I think is crucial is a methodology. Is it possible for a root to have several meanings? Part of me thinks no and another part sees roots like RP says, ‘najiya’ and ‘najwa’ and wonders how.

    • I think it’s the format that has major control on a word. For example, “mirfaq” means “elbow” because it originally connotes a place or method of comfort. Arabs thought that leaning on your elbow brings you comfort, thus filed “mirfaq” under body parts.

      An example [non quranic] of this word is mikhlab, meaning claw.

  3. If only there was a concordance for forms instead of just roots.

  4. Ali Raza says:

    Understanding / digesting 41:44 for clues? is the key for our efforts!
    Quran 41:44 And if We made it a non-Arabic Koran , they would have said: “If only its verses were detailed/explained . Is (it) a non-Arabic (Koran) and an Arab?” Say: “It is to those who believed guidance and a healing; and those who do not believe, in their ears (is a) weight/heaviness and it is on them blindness/confusion , those, they are being called, from a far/distant place/position .

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