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THE ORIGIN OF THE ARABS: A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE SOURCES By ASSOC. PROF. DR. SOLEHAH Hj.YAACOB DEPT. OF ARABIC LANGUAGE & LITERATURE, KULLIYAH IRKHS.

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Presentation on theme: "THE ORIGIN OF THE ARABS: A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE SOURCES By ASSOC. PROF. DR. SOLEHAH Hj.YAACOB DEPT. OF ARABIC LANGUAGE & LITERATURE, KULLIYAH IRKHS."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE ORIGIN OF THE ARABS: A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE SOURCES By ASSOC. PROF. DR. SOLEHAH Hj.YAACOB DEPT. OF ARABIC LANGUAGE & LITERATURE, KULLIYAH IRKHS OF IIUM

2 WHY DO I CHOOSE THIS TOPIC? 1)To reclaim the existence of Arabs and Arabic language before the time of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). 2) To reconcile the orientalist views on the existence of ancient Arabs. 3) To identify the Arabic character which already existed in its basic form and structure in ancient times.

3 INTRODUCTION The debates on ancient civilizations never end, historians continue to uphold their claim that the home of the first civilization was Mesopotamia. The research will therefore concentrate on the origins of the Arabs and their language at that time. Jawad Ali, the author of the Abridged History of the Arabs before Islam (Mufassal ta’rikh al­’arab qabl al­islam) suggests that the Arabs can be divided into three major groups; namely the ‘lost Arabs’ (al-‘arab al-ba‘idah), second the ’true Arabs’ (al-‘arab al-aribah), and third the Arabized Arabs (al-‘arab al-mustaÑrabah).

4 Evidence for this division is recorded in Ibn Ishaq’s and Ibn Hisham’s Biography of the Prophet (al­sirah al­- nabawiyyah) and Tabari’s History of the Communities and Kingdoms (Ta’rikh al­umam wa­l­muluk). However, other scholars such as ‘Abd al­Salam al-Jumahi (a critic of early poetry) disagreed with Ibn Ishaq that poems by Ad and Thamud proved the existence of the Arabs as a people before the time of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).

5 However, the biographer Ibn Nadim considered the verses cited by Ibn Ishaq as fraudulent and not genuine. It is a well-established fact that the corpus of ancient Arabic poetry had suffered a lot at the hands of forgers, plagiarists, misguided philologists, and dishonest narrators. For instance, a number of poems were falsely ascribed to Hassan bin Thabit, Prophet`s poet. Thus, this study aims at examining and assessing the validity of the Muslim sources on the issue pertaining to the origins of Arabs as a people.

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8 ISSUES AND DISCUSIONS Is it the ‘Arabs al-Ba’idah are really lost ? How to proof ? a) Pro : From Quranic verses an-Najm 50-52 ﴿وأنّه أَهْلَكَ عاداً الأولى، وثمودَاْ فَمَا أبقى، وقومَ نوحٍ من قبلُ إنّهم كانواْ هُمْ أَظلمَ وأطغى﴾ b) Cont : i) By words of al-Tabari on the existence of Banu Lawiyah after extinction of ‘Ad and Thamud. ii) Verse 50-51, al-Najm. The extinction of ‘Ad al-Ula indicated there were ‘Ad al-Thani, etc. iii) Tafsir Ruh al-Maani on فما أبقى has a deep structure meaning if Maa al-Nafiah precedes Fi’il Madhi, the object is not certain (taqdeerat)( al-Alusi al-Baghdadi, Tafsir Ruh al-Ma`ani (Beirut: Ihya` at-Turath al- Arabi).

9 HOW TO SUPPORT THE EXISTENCE OF ANCIENT ARABS? By the existence of rulers from Arabs genetics such as: a) The name of ‘Jundibu’, the first Arab word appeared in ancient document by Assyrian King after a battle in Qarqar, the Syriac Province. b) ‘Zenobia’ (3 rd CE) : the ruler of Palmyra, an ancient Arabic kingdom, whereby Ibn ‘Aqil’s commentary contains a poem allegedly authored by the Queen herself : ما للجمــــال مشيهــــا وئيــدا ***أجنـــــدل يحملن أو حديــداً c) The poetries by Imru’ al-Qays indicated that the Arabic language is well established since long time ago.

10 What is the Origin of the Arabic Language? The earliest extensive body of textual sources in the Arabic language is to be found in the corpus of pre- Islamic poetry. At the initial stage of investigation, has to be determined when Jahili literature was created. As its name correctly suggests, this collection of poems existed long before the dawn of Islam. (Retso, The Arab Antiquity, pp.1-92)

11 There is linguistic evidence which would indicate that Arabic was the mother of all ancient Semitic languages:-

12 The most famous poet among the Arabs was Amru` al-Qays (died 565 C.E.).His phrase "Let us halt and weep" is contained in one of the seven Mu'allaqat, a selection of poems prized as the best examples of pre-Islamic Arabian verse which - according to the custom of the time - were publicly displayed in Mekkah.Mu'allaqat

13 Amru' al-Qays remains the most revered of all the pre- Islamic poets and has been a source of literary and national inspiration for Arabic intellectuals all the way into the 20 th century. In the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Al-Tahir Referring that Amru al-Qays was of the tribe of Kindah and the first major Arabic literary figure. (Makki, al-Tahir Ahmad. "Imru' al-Qays.", in Dictionary of Literary Biography, ed. Cooperson, Michael and Toorawa, Shawkat (Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2005), p. 311.

14 Further studies explained the evolution of specific Arabic letters by the combination of certain Nabataean letters. Recent heliographic manuscript studies have also contributed to the discussion by observing noticeable similarities between ancient Egyptian and Arabic syntax. In summary, De Sacy`s statement that the Arabs had no writing before Prophet Muhammad`s time has long been dispelled and is no longer considered worthy of serious academic consideration.

15 (Sulayman ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Zayyid, QawÉÑid Lughah al- NabaÏiyah (e-book, Riyadh, 2011), http://www.kfnl.gov.sa/idarat/alnsher%20el/Nabataen/klaf. htm, p. 36; )al-Madkhal IlÉ QawÉÑid al-NuqËsh al-NabaÏiyah (e-book http://www.kfnl.gov.sa/idarat/alnsher%20el/Nabataean/Na bataean.pdf, 2001), p.18, 21-25. http://www.kfnl.gov.sa/idarat/alnsher%20el/Nabataen/klaf. htm http://www.kfnl.gov.sa/idarat/alnsher%20el/Nabataean/Na bataean Muhammad ÑÓ´´il al-ZaybÊ, NaÐrah min KhilÉl an-Nahwi al- ÑarabÊ Li MasÊÉ´il Nahwiyah FÊ al-Lughah al-MiÎriyah al- QadÊmah Min Qisoh al-MalÉh, Faculty of Arts, King Saud University (1995), p. 18. D.S. Margoliouth, The Relations Between Arabs and Israelites prior to the Rise of Islam (London: Oxford University, 1924), for E-Book Jan. 1, 2004, p. 7.

16 Even such notoriously biased and ostensibly Biblically inspired orientalists such Margoliouth could not help but submit to the sheer overwhelming evidence of ancient Arabic writing which was mostly preserved in the form of stone inscriptions found scattered throughout Arabia: Inscriptions in truly monumental alphabets accumulated to the number of some thousands, they were found to represent more than one kingdom and more than one dialect the names, records and dates, which they contained, cleared away some of the obscurity which veiled the pre- Islamic history of the peninsula

17 Then he added: … The old Arabian alphabet was constructed is unknown, we have no record… it has however been pointed out that within that alphabet we can see a certain amount of evolution. From the above it can be safely established that Arabic existed already in its basic form and structure in ancient times. The preservation of classical pre-Islamic Arabic poetry was also not interrupted by the coming of Islam but rather continued in the works of early Muslim grammarians. The evolution of any language does not occur in complete isolation from other languages and cultures, thus, the possible influence of Nabataean writing and Egyptian syntax does not stand in contradiction to the independent development of the Arabic language as a unique form of expression of Arabic culture and civilization.

18 THANK YOU VERY MUCH


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