Non-Arabic Words in the Quran? | About Islam
Home > Ask About Islam > Non-Arabic Words in the Quran?

Non-Arabic Words in the Quran?

Questioner

Stewart

Reply Date

Dec 28, 2016

Question

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.

Consultant

Answer


Salam (Peace) Stewart,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

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.} (Quran 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.} (Quran 14:4)

There are so many verses that indicate that the Quran was revealed in the pure Arabic language. And these verses confirm that.

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, trade, intercultural activities, intercultural marriage, and so forth.

For example, the word “algebra”, which is used in English, is an Arabic word. This doesn’t mean it is a non-English word. It just has an Arabic origin.

So, having some words in the Noble Quran that exist in other languages as well does not mean that the Quran contains non-Arabic words. It means that the Quran contains words that have also been 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} (Quran 56:18)

Ibriq“, the singular form of “abariq”, is a Persian word, meaning a cup with a spout and handle. This word is, and was at the time of the revelation of the Quran, also used in Arabic. This means that this word was originally used by the Persians. But, due to intermingling of the Arabs and the Persians, it was adopted into Arabic.

The Arabs used this word and were familiar with it, and so it became part of the Arabic vocabulary.

Also, the word “araik“, the plural of “arikah” meaning “bed” in the Abyssinian languages, is mentioned in the following verse:

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

The transmission of words from one language to another, or the shared use of words, does not mean the Quran borrows words or vocabulary that the Arab people were not familiar with, or that those words “belong” to the other languages.

Also, one of the most famous interpreters of the Quran, Imam Al-Qurtuby, mentioned in his explanation that there is no dispute among 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). But these names are proper nouns, names of the prophets. And this is understandable since, even in everyday conversation, you wouldn’t change someone’s name just to use one’s own language. 

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

Salam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Where All Prophets from Arabia?

Is Islam a Religion for Arabs Only?

I‘m A Muslim! Why do People Think I’m an Arab?

Is Islam a Religion, Culture, or Ethnicity?

The Arabic Language




About Reading Islam Team


find out more!