Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Power of Arabic!

The Arabic language is very interesting and very powerful. I recently wrote something in my Arabic blog about a health issue, namely weight problems, and as I was writing, I realized that the words “health” and “right” come from the same root. If you say “healthy” it becomes exactly the same word as “correct” or “right”. The beautiful thing about this language is how words and their derivations make sense. Unlike other languages, you feel that all the words are connected to their meaning. It’s thought provoking. For example, I recently watched a brief show about the language, and it pointed out the strong relations between words formed from the same letters. Sometimes when you just reverse the word, you’ll be surprised. Take one example: The word “Qa’a” قـاع means the bottom, or the very low, when you reverse it to “A’aqعاق it means someone who is bad to their parents. Being good to parents is a very important behavior in Arabic and Islamic tradition. When you reverse the word money, “malمـال , you get the verb: to blame, لام “lam”! I am just thinking randomly now, as I write, trying to find such relations. Let me continue with “mal” or money. It’s composed of three letters, if you see what you can get from those letters, I found the following: “lamma”, لـم which, in Arabic, is only written in two letters, means to collect. But “Mallaمـل , also written in 2 letters only, means to be bored. Moreover, the same letters of “Mal”, money, when you slightly change the pronunciation, it will be “Mala” مـال, meaning both to be attracted or inclined to, and also getting away from something, usually the straight path for example.

Those are just a few examples. There is a big literature about that, and I am not even specialized in the language and didn’t read much in this area. For me, as a Muslim, it’s no wonder that the Quran, believed to be the only word of good preserved intact, was revealed in Arabic.


Anonymous said...

How about AML "Hope", could that be related as well. I mean if you have money, you have hope. Or you hope for money, etc.
Adel from Chicago

Mohamed Shedou محمد شدو said...


you're right, that's also a good point. I am only not sure if the "ALEF" in AMAl (hope) is considered ALEF or HAMZA, I would think its HAMZA and therefore would'ne be composed from the same letters as MAL, money.

But when you also use the letters of AMAL (hope), you can also have the word ALAM (pain), so it's more like an opposite, because hope won't coexist with pain, or also we can take it as meaning that even when there is pain, there is hope! From the same letters you also get MALA'A (to fill)! We say full of hope, or full of pain for example! Hope or pain are feelings that fill our experience of the moment.

It's really rich. You can keep thinking of thousands of words and relations.

Anonymous said...

I am a medical scientist; I am a Pakistani national. I am currently living in United Kingdom. I have left Islam. I am an ex Muslim, hardcore atheist, and an anti-theist. I have always been a borderline and questioning believer who had little affinity for Islam. In United Kingdom, I had the opportunity to study, in some detail, about theology, specifically Islam. What followed was a long and very painful personal journey that culminated in me realizing the truth about Islam and coming to some very basic conclusions as to what I really believed in. I also joined an atheist society in UK, which further strengthened my conviction in atheism…. Presently, militant Islam is on the verge of overtaking many parts of my home country, Pakistan. Many parts of it have already been completely radicalized and sharia has been implemented in areas like Swat and some parts of NWFP. Sharia is the "divine" law sent down by Allah. The following list partially encompasses some of the laws that would be implemented under Sharia:
1. Abrogation and prohibition of modern form of judiciary and democracy. Dismantling of parliamentary system.
2. Stoning, till death, for adultery.
3. The second class status for non believers, " Dhimmitude".
4. Amputation of hand and feet, from opposite sides, for thievery.
5. Complete prohibition of music, modern form of cinema.
6. The award of death punishment for leaving Islam and committing blasphemy.

This is sharia. The "punishment" of apostasy and blasphemy, in almost all Islamic countries, including Pakistan is most likely either a very long imprisonment or execution. In my home country it’s impossible to profess or declare apostasy or to even state anything remotely critical of Islamic theology. Such an act could certainly lead to severe reprisal, most probably a most painful death. And such incidents have happened routinely in the recent past. In Pakistan, blasphemy is punishable by death and this is a part of the framework of law (Pakistan Penal Code 295). Most importantly, these forms of “punishments" are sanctified by Muhammad and hadiths. Thus, these "punishments” are completely "justified." Why does Islam so vociferously wants to shield itself against rationality or justified criticism? Why? Why is it that Muslims readily get prepared to kill and be killed in the name of "Allah" and his "prophet?" It is beyond my comprehension, that why would a religion claiming to be divine, prompt its adherents to kill on such trivialities as Danish cartoons. From a personal perspective, it would be impossible for me to live in my home country without the fear of severe persecution, possibly ending in my death. These are real dangers being faced by ex Muslims living in Islamic countries.